Mar­shall hasn’t for­got­ten Brady

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - M ARK KISZLA Den­ver Post Colum­nist

Hey, Tom Brady. There’s a guy in Colorado who has a score to set­tle with you. It’s Bron­cos line­backer Bran­don Mar­shall, itch­ing to get Brady and the de­fend­ing Su­per Bowl cham­pi­ons back in Den­ver later this year.

“We’re go­ing to han­dle what we’ve got to han­dle. We can’t wait to get them in our house,” Mar­shall told me Wed­nes­day. “It’s a ri­valry. It’s some­thing you cir­cle on the sched­ule.”

It clearly irks Mar­shall that New Eng­land has been es­tab­lished as a pro­hib­i­tive fa­vorite to re­peat as league cham­pion. Den­ver re­fuses to con­cede any­thing to any AFC ri­val, de­spite the love

prog­nos­ti­ca­tors are giv­ing the Pa­tri­ots.

“We know what they say. There’s a 51 per­cent chance they’ll win the Su­per Bowl,” Mar­shall said. “That’s ridicu­lous.”

What’s more, Mar­shall has had a bone to pick with Brady for more than 18 months, ever since Brady ar­ro­gantly and openly dissed him dur­ing Den­ver’s 20-18 vic­tory at the AFC cham­pi­onship game in Jan­uary 2016. That’s a big rea­son why on a hot sum­mer day, Mar­shall was al­ready an­tic­i­pat­ing a game against the Pa­tri­ots in Novem­ber, when Brady next vis­its Den­ver.

“He don’t do so well over here,” said Mar­shall. He knows Brady’s ca­reer record against the Bron­cos in Colorado is a weak 3-7, in­clud­ing four losses dur­ing New Eng­land’s last five vis­its.

The bul­lies on the Den­ver de­fense have messed so badly with young quar­ter­backs Trevor Siemian and Pax­ton Lynch, I’m be­gin­ning to won­der if coach Vance Joseph should hire a play­ground mon­i­tor at train­ing camp.

Early in prac­tice on a sun- ny sum­mer morn­ing, Mar­shall jumped a route and picked off a pass from a be­wil­dered Lynch, who never saw the line­backer com­ing. Maybe it would be a more fair fight if Mar­shall picked on a quar­ter­back closer to his own size, like Tom Ter­rific, who’s mar­ried to a su­per­model and owns five Su­per Bowl rings.

The re­lent­less pres­sure of edge rusher Von Miller, who in­sists 30 sacks in a sea­son is fea­si­ble, strikes fear in the hearts of quar­ter­backs. The No-Fly Zone, led by shut­down cor­ners Chris Har­ris and Aqib Talib, force an of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor to ad­just his game plan ac­cord­ingly. Mar­shall un­der­stands and ac­cepts those harsh re­al­i­ties of­ten mean Den­ver’s in­side lineback­ers are tar­geted as the holes in a stout pass de­fense.

Mar­shall re­mem­bers Jan. 24, 2016, as if it were yes­ter­day. The Bron­cos were play­ing New Eng­land with a trip to Su­per Bowl 50 on the line. It was sec­ond down. The Pa­tri­ots broke the huddle.

“Tom Brady …” Mar­shall re­called. “He looked at (run­ning back) James White and said: ‘You’ve got 54. Get open.’”

Mar­shall didn’t need to check his jer­sey. He’s No. 54. Brady shouted the Pa­triNFL ots were com­ing af­ter him.

“Be­fore the play,” said Mar­shall, still mys­ti­fied how Brady could have such open con­tempt of his pass-cov­er­age skills. “He didn’t read the de­fense. He just said: ‘You’ve got 54. Get open.’” How did Mar­shall re­act? “I took it as a chal­lenge. I was of­fended, at first. … He said it so loud, like he wanted me to hear,” Mar­shall said.

From the shotgun, Brady took the snap and im­me­di­ately looked for White on an op­tion route. He threw. Mar­shall re­fused to be beaten. The pass fell in­com­plete.

Mar­shall trot­ted to the Den­ver side­line, be­ing re­placed in Den­ver’s third­down de­fen­sive pack­age by team­mate Danny Tre­vathan. Be­fore leav­ing the field, how­ever, Mar­shall re­called, “I looked at Brady and I looked at James White, like ‘All right. That’s how you feel about me?’”

There was no harm to the Bron­cos on the play. But it left a per­ma­nent scar on Mar­shall’s pride.

“I’ll never for­get that,” Mar­shall said. “I’m go­ing to say some­thing to Brady at some point.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.