MARSHALL RULED OUT; BRONCOS PROMOTE OLB VONTARRIUS DORA TO ITS ACTIVE ROSTER
Broncos inside linebacker Brandon Marshall will miss his second consecutive game Sunday because of a left hamstring injury.
Linebacker Todd Davis practiced on a limited basis Friday for the first time this week as he battles through an oblique strain. Davis is questionable for Sunday’s game against New England, but he said he feels a lot better than earlier this week and is optimistic he will be able to play.
“(I’m) encouraged by what I saw. I just got through talking to him walking off the field,” coach Gary Kubiak said Friday. “We’ll see how he comes out of it in the morning, moving around again tomorrow.”
Corey Nelson will get his third start this season in place of Marshall. Zaire Anderson is expected to see extended playing time whether Davis plays or not. If Davis doesn’t play, Anderson will get his first career start.
“I’m just ready,” said Anderson, a 5-foot11, 220-pound hard-hitter. “We’ll see when them pads come on. I ain’t too small. I hate when people say that.”
The Broncos have been preparing Nelson and Anderson for extended playing time all week. Quentin Gause, a rookie called up from the practice squad last week, is the only other healthy inside linebacker on the roster.
These injuries likely will have a big impact on the way Patriots coach Bill Belichick attacks Denver’s defense. New England has the NFL’s seventh-ranked rushing attack and likely will use a lot of running back LeGarrette Blount to test the Broncos’ 29th-ranked rushing defense.
Roster tweaks. The Broncos promoted outside linebacker Vontarrius Dora from the practice squad to their active roster Friday. In a corresponding move, they placed long-snapper Casey Kreiter on injured reserve.
“Congratulations to Dora. The kid has done a great job, so he gets rewarded,” Kubiak said. “You may see him before the year is out. He’s got a bright future.”
Dora, if active on game days, will provide special-teams help and outside linebacker depth. The 6-4, 256-pound rookie college free agent out of Louisiana Tech had a strong summer and preseason pushing Dekoda Watson for the fifth outside linebacker roster spot. Dora had two sacks in the Broncos’ preseason opener against Chicago.
Kreiter was the Broncos’ long-snapper for much of the season before suffering a calf injury against the Saints. He missed the past three games. Veteran Thomas Gafford has replaced Kreiter.
Rico update. Broncos offensive coordinator Rick Dennison missed practice for the third day while dealing with a family matter, but Kubiak said he was scheduled to return Friday afternoon.
Quarterbacks coach Greg Knapp has assumed Dennison’s role throughout the week, but Kubiak said he has been in communication with Dennison daily about the game plan.
Footnote. Denver signed linebacker Kevin Synder to its practice squad. He’ll wear No. 46.
Denver Broncos inside linebacker Corey Nelson will get his third start this season in place of injured Brandon Marshall. John Leyba, The Denver Post