It's preseason, which means it's time for Grand NFL Preseason Statements. And while the Broncos have thankfully avoided a kiss-of-death "guarantee" this year, that hasn't precluded starting linebacker Brandon Marshall from a pretty big statement of his own.
Yea I said it.. I'm the best coverage backer in the League— Brandon Marshall (@BMarshh54) September 1, 2015
Marshall has some legs to stand on here. I checked out Marshall's coverage grade on ProFootballFocus.com (preseason 2015), and indeed, he's the highest-graded coverage linebacker in the league with a +3.3 coverage rating. That extends his 2014 mark, where he was the NFL's highest-graded coverage linebacker as a 4-3 OLB. Marshall is talking the talk because he's already walked the walk.
So does Broncos Ring of Famer and Mile High Report Hall of Fame nominee Karl Mecklenburg agree? Eric Goodman and Zach Fogg of MileHighSports.com asked. Mecklenburg was noncommittal, but had an interesting take on the Broncos defense. Listen and read:
"I have no idea," Mecklenburg said, laughing. "That's a big statement. Being a coverage linebacker is more important now than when I was playing. If you were a coverage linebacker that meant you played on third down when I was playing."
"Being a great coverage guy - that's wonderful," Mecklenburg continued. "But I don't think that's how people will attack this defense. This defense has got great pass rushers. They've got great coverage guys. They don't have big guys on the inside like they used to, like last year or the year before. That's where the softness is.
"If I was making a gameplan against them, I'd run it up the middle 100 times," said Mecklenburg.
It's interesting that a Ring of Famer who played all seven positions on the Broncos' defense is calling out Denver's run defense and the potential "softness" of Sylvester Williams and Darius Kilgo. Let us know if you agree with his take in the poll and in the comments.
Oh, and Happy Birthday Karl!
Editor's Note: Initially this article misstated Brandon Marshall's ranking in 2014 as a coverage linebacker was not in the Top 20. He was #1. We misread the stats. We regret the error, but are kind of please by it because it means BMarsh is awesome.
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