Thoughts on the Deactivation of Brandon Marshall

Josh GilchristContributor IJanuary 2, 2010

DENVER - DECEMBER 20:  Brandon Marshall #15 of the Denver Broncos points out a disturbance in the crowd to a police officer in the second half against the Oakland Raiders at Invesco Field at Mile High on December 20, 2009 in Denver, Colorado. The Raiders defeated the Broncos 20-19.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images


I have viewed the press conference when Josh McDaniels addressed the media regarding his decision to deactivate Brandon Marshall from the Broncos’ final regular season game, and I have also read Marshall’s response to what happened.

I must say that I do not have confidence in this decision by Josh McDaniels, and, surprisingly, I find myself sympathizing with Brandon Marshall.

McDaniels was less than forthcoming in his press conference, giving very vague explanations as to why he took such a drastic measure.

He kept talking about “accountability” and putting the 45 guys out there who are willing to give their all, but he never got into any specifics as to how Marshall was being unaccountable.

Marshall seemed to shed more light on the subject in his response, stating that he believed McDaniels was responding to his hamstring injury, which he suffered at practice on Wednesday.

Marshall feels like he can’t play in his current condition, while McDaniels feels he is exaggerating the injury and should be able to play.

So, was it absolutely necessary for Josh McDaniels to deactivate Brandon Marshall? I will never claim to know more than the coach does, but I think this was a huge mistake.

First, it makes McDaniels look like an egomaniac. Maybe he is one. I am pretty sure I would hate his guts if he coached any other team, but he is the coach of my beloved Denver Broncos.

If all that was going on was that Marshall was complaining about his hamstring bothering him and doubting if he would be ready to go on Sunday, McDaniels’ move is a complete overreaction.

It’s a little too late for him to be trying to send a message to his team. With a 2-7 streak, any move that could lower morale or hurt team unity is ridiculous.

It looks like Josh McDaniels is desperate, trying so hard to pass the blame to his players for the late-season meltdown. He seems to be trying to send the message that he is in control when, in reality, he lost it somewhere around the bye week.

Second, deactivation completely eliminates the possibility that Marshall could play. Why not list Marshall as doubtful or questionable for the game against the Chiefs? With Eddie Royal possibly out of the picture, why deactivate yet another receiver?

What if Marshall ended up being well enough to play? Hasn’t he contributed enough this season and fought hard enough to deserve that chance?

Third, it could potentially destroy any hopes of what seemed to be a happy reconciliation process between Marshall and the Broncos. We all know where Marshall was at the beginning of the season, and he seems to have taken gigantic steps to improve on his image and attitude.

His immediate response to the deactivation seems fair and mature–more mature than the actions of his head coach, if you ask me. However, I wouldn’t blame him if his attitude re-soured (if that’s even a word).

McDaniels has not yet proven to be the genius that he would like the media, his players, and the rest of the NFL to believe he is.

This is definitely a gutsy move, but I am having a hard time seeing any positives that can come out of it. If he is trying to send a message, it is a little too late in the year.