It’s been three months since Brandon Marshall donned the Silver and Black, and a lot has happened since then.
Following the end of the 2019 preseason, the Oakland Raiders released Marshall, who dealt with lingering knee issues throughout the offseason, and moved forward with the unit of Vontaze Burfict, Tahir Whitehead, Nicholas Morrow, and Marquel Lee.
That group has since dwindled to just Whitehead and Morrow, after a season-long suspension was handed to Burfict, and Marquel Lee was placed on IR. The Raiders need bodies, but more importantly they need people who know the system. Marshall knows the terminology and scheme, but after being released a few months ago he still needs a refresher.
“When they cut me I just threw my playbook away, so I kind of just had to reintroduce myself to some of the schemes, some of the blitzes,” Marshall said Thursday. “A lot of it is still familiar, but I haven’t learned it in two months, so I have to have a refresher. It’s tough because when you’re out, you’re not sure if you’re going to come back or not.”
While he’s excited to be back with his teammates, Marshall has spent the last few months contemplating whether or not he’d get another shot in the NFL. At 30 years old, and coming off a knee injury, it’s natural for doubt to sink in, but he’s grateful to be back and defensive coordinator Paul Guenther says he looks ready.
“He looks good,” Guenther told reporters. “I mean he was close at the training camp. He was in the discussion to keep him around here, so we had the injury at linebacker with Justin [Phillips]. He was an obvious choice. Both he and Will Compton have really been impressive out here on the practice field. They’ve been picking up the defense. Two veteran guys, so it’s good to have some guys that have played and have some skins on the wall and understand what this stuff is about, so we are glad to have them both.”
Guenther also detailed briefly their plans for No. 54, “we’ll work in different combinations because obviously we don’t have the numbers at linebacker let’s say, so it’s the next best guy that’s going to play so there’s going to be a combination of a little bit of everything in there.”
Presumably, Tahir Whitehead will continue playing the middle linebacker spot, and wear the green dot, but it’s unclear what specifically the coaching staff has envisioned for Marshall.
The Raiders are just days away from taking on the Detroit Lions and getting Marshall up to speed might not be easy, but it needs to be done, as the team will likely play with only three healthy linebackers this week.