It's 2010, and already the Denver Broncos are in the news for all the wrong reasons.
The team announced today that wide receiver Brandon Marshall and tight end Tony Scheffler would be deactivated for Sunday's finale against the Kansas City Chiefs. Both players were benched with one common theme: accountability.
"There’s a number of factors that go into that, but there’s a lot of players that will play with things that are probably more difficult to play with than what he has.
Our word for the week has been accountability. We’re looking to put the 45 guys on the field on Sun that want to play together. We talked about it as a squad on Wednesday that that’s what’s going to happen this week, and anyone that showed any indifference to that, we’ll play without them, and we’ll play well anyway.
Teams win late in the year," McDaniels said. "If you have players that aren’t going to put that ahead of everything else, then that can certainly be detrimental to your club.
We’re all accountable to give our very best effort to Pat Bowlen, to this organization, to this city, to the people that support us, to each other – that’s what this is about."
Seems a little late in the season to be benching big time receiving threats because of accountability, especially when the passing game is already enough of a liability as it currently stands.
Josh McDaniels is certainly making a statement, though nobody is quite sure if he is in the right completely here. There obviously is something beyond accountability, because for the second year in a row, the Broncos have to win their last game to make the playoffs.
It would seem as though a team would want all hands on deck, especially two of your top receiving threats. Marshall and Scheffler have allegedly put themselves above the team, and McDaniels feels the team is more important than winning, which is gutsy and borderline arrogant.
Brandon Marshall has been the team's biggest offensive weapon this season, and has stayed out of the news for anything not positive. He set the NFL record for receptions in a game, and is statistically having the greatest season of his young career, and he is doing it injured and knowing that no CBA agreement means he will not be able to test the free agent market.
On the surface, it seems Marshall has put the team before himself. He has accepted his role, and he has taken advantage of opportunity. Here is what Marshall had to say about the situation.
"He hadn’t really said anything to me. He just came in today and told me I was deactivated. I have to respect that. That’s the head coach. He makes the decisions around here, and he has to do what’s best for the team.
I don’t think coach ever played in the NFL, so for my hamstring to be feeling the way it felt, it’s tough for me to go out there and expect to play at a high level.
I played last year with a tear in my hip, so I don’t think my toughness is in question here.
When you have a muscle injury, that thing doesn’t heal overnight. I got to do my best to be there for the playoffs.
It has nothing to do with accountability."
Clearly Marshall is unhappy with the situation, and he may have a point, but if what he is doing is enough that McDaniels has suspended him for the final game, there must be more to the story than what is being told.
No one can question Marshall's toughness. He misses offseason activities with regularity, but he constantly plays through injury. Last season, he played with a bad hip and nerve damage in his arm.
This season, he has battled various injuries to his hamstring, yet he hasn't missed a single contest.
As for tight end Tony Scheffler, his situation is being characterized as an attitude issue, which comes as virtually no surprise. Scheffler was vocal about the offseason situation happening in Denver in 2009.
The Broncos are going to certainly need top tier efforts from all of these players on Sunday if they are going to take down Kansas City and prepare for postseason play.
It certainly would go a long way to erasing this awful start to 2010.