Last Straw? Brandon Marshall Benched With Playoffs On The Line

Kris BurkeCorrespondent IJanuary 1, 2010

DENVER - NOVEMBER 22:  Head coach Josh McDaniels of the Denver Broncos paces the sideline as he leads his team against the San Diego Chargers during NFL action at Invesco Field at Mile High on November 22, 2009 in Denver, Colorado. The Chargers defeated the Broncos 32-3.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

As the second decade of the 21st century begins, the Denver Broncos have done a complete 360 degree turn and are right back where they started this past summer.

As training camp commenced last summer, Broncos wide receiver Brandon Marshall was demanding a trade and head coach Josh McDaniels was forced to suspend Marshall for the most of the preseason due to his antics during practices.

His idiocy started when Marshall "tweaked his hamstring" in a practice. He was then caught on tape punting balls away instead of just handing them off to ball boys like more mature players do.

Now it's the first day of 2010 and here we go again.  The Broncos playoff hopes are on life support and Marshall once again has been benched by McDaniels.  It was reported earlier in the week that Marshall "tweaked his hamstring" during practice, but it seemed that he would good to go for the season finale against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Instead McDaniels benched his Pro Bowl receiver and made it publicly known that some players playing Sunday have injuries that are worse than Marshall's. In the situation earlier in the year, most fans stood on McDaniels' side in how he handled Marshall's childish behavior.

To quote the great Vince Lombardi, Broncos fans have to be asking "What the hell is going on out there?"

McDaniels and Marshall have once again engaged in a "he said, she said" public debate.  Marshall claims that since McDaniels never played in the NFL, he has no idea what it's like to play hurt.  The player is watching out for his own health.  Marshall has been on his best behavior all year and should be given the benefit of the doubt here.

McDaniels, meanwhile, has said that this is all about accountability and that the team wants "45 guys on the field on Sun that want to play together," and that "...anyone that showed indifference to that, we'll play without them and play well anyway."

Way to throw some of your players under the bus, coach.  It's the most arrogant Belichickian statement McDaniels has made all season. In fact, benching his number one receiver for this season finale in which the Broncos still have a chance of making the playoffs is the dumbest move McDaniels has made all year. Herm Edwards needs to remind McDaniels that "YOU PLAY TO WIN THE GAME!"

Now before anyone piles on McDaniels, there is a possibility there is more to this story that the media and fans do not know. McDaniels never shows his hand on these things and we saw a great example of this during the Jay Cutler fiasco last spring. 

It's possible Marshall did something as stupid as what he did last summer and we just don't know it. That said, in this age of YouTube, if something did happen we'll know sooner rather than later.

Until then, Marshall is innocent until proven guilty.  McDaniels needs to produce some better evidence and fast or fans will be calling for his head. What started with whispers after the latest Broncos collapse will turn into screaming is McDaniels made this move without just cause.

Happy New Year Broncos fans.  It looks like 2010 will be a sequel to the soap opera that was 2009.

Oh, joy.