If there’s any concern over the mounting injuries along Denver’s defensive line, there’s at least one mitigating factor that is comforting the team: Defensive line coach Bill Kollar.

Now in his second year coaching the d-line in Denver, Kollar brings 33 years of coaching experience (26 at the NFL level as a line coach) to help strengthen a unit that has seen some tough losses of late.

Inside linebacker Brandon Marshall spoke with Eric Goodman and Les Shapiro following Monday’s practice and addressed the injury concerns on the d-line, as well as his confidence in Kollar and the depth on the line.

NOTE: This interview was conducted before Jared Crick‘s injury status was updated. We learned later that Crick suffered a back spasm in Monday’s practice and is undergoing treatment. He did not travel with the team to San Francisco, but is not expected to miss significant time.

“It’s concerning. Absolutely,” Marshall told Goodman and Shapiro when asked about the loss of Crick, Derek Wolfe (out through the preseason with a sprained ankle) and Billy Winn (out for the season with a torn ACL).

“I think we’d be lying if we said it’s not,” Marshall continued. “Wolfe, we’ll get him back. We’re not sure the status of Crick. But I have confidence in those guys. Bill [Kollar] is one of the best d-line coaches around. If anybody will get the guys ready, it’s Bill. I have confidence in the coach, but at some point it’s a concern that three guys are sitting on the sideline – three of our guys that were running with the ones. Billy [Winn] was rotating with the ones and twos, actually.”

Fortunately for Marshall, who is part of the group tasked with improving Denver’s run defense, General Manager John Elway made it a focal point to add quality depth along the defensive front this offseason. The additions of Domata Peko and Zach Kerr, are further comforts for Marshall.

“Definitely. I know defense hasn’t really been a concern the last couple of years, but we still need guys because you never know. You never know when someone goes down what can happen. And obviously they say, ‘Next man up, next guy to step up,’ but sometimes you still need proven depth,” Marshall said.

Still, with injuries to key figures on the defensive line, Marshall admitted that morale does take a little hit when players go down. The real key, says Marshall, is to not let those thoughts consume him.

“Whenever somebody goes down – and the verdict’s still out on Crick – you kind of feel the morale go down a little bit, like, ‘Damn, that’s another guy,’ but eventually we have to control what we can control which is, we can’t control who goes down, what happens to who. But we can control our efforts,” Marshall said. “The guys backing up Crick, Wolfe and Billy, they have to up the ante. They’re the next up, so this is their chance.”

Marshall knows very well what that chance can mean. For him, the ‘next man up’ mentality led to a starting role and a long-term contract with the team.

“I had a chance when Danny [Trevathan] went down; I stepped up. So hopefully one of those guys can do the same.”

Both Wolfe and Crick will be out against the 49ers in this week’s preseason game. That gives players like Kerr, Adam Gotsis and other the chance to shine.

Listen to the full interview with Marshall, including what went through his mind when he learned that Jay Cutler was going to Miami instead of his friend Colin Kaepernick, in the podcast below.

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