Circle Nov. 12 on your calendar. Brandon Marshall already has. (Figuratively speaking, of course.)
That’s the day the New England Patriots come to Denver this season. And Marshall wants another shot at showing Tom Brady he’s an elite pass defender. He’s still hanging on to a play that happened in the 2015 AFC Championship game.
“Actually, in the AFC Championship game, we played the Patriots. It was like a second down. Tom Brady broke the huddle, looked at [Patriots RB] James White and said, ‘You got No. 54. Get open.’ It was before the play even started,” Marshall told the media. “He didn’t even read the defense. He just said, ‘You got No. 54. Get open.’ I took it as a challenge. I was offended at first. Then, I covered him, he didn’t catch the ball. That’s what they do. They find their match ups and it is what it is.”
After Wednesday’s training camp practice, the middle linebacker spoke with the media and about his role in the pass defense – which enters the 2017 season the best in the NFL for two years running.
“We’re going to stay aggressive. That’s what linebackers do – all day, every day. At the same time, it’s a passing league, we have to be able to finesse in the aspect of coverage. That’s what we work towards every day. Coverage is great. They’re going to isolate us,” Marshall explained. “We have the ‘No Fly Zone’ in the back. If they go empty or if it’s a pass situation and the quarterback sees Aqib [Talib], [Bradley] Roby on the other side, he’s going to look at No. 54 and say, ‘OK, I’m going to try him.’ And it is what it is. I’m okay with that.”
Marshall isn’t ignorant about the fact that he’s getting targeted, however. He understands that with the ‘No Fly Zone’ behind him, the linebacking corps might seem like a relatively weak link in comparison against the pass. Marshall is on a mission to prove they’re anything but.