Watching Broncos coach Josh McDaniels have to navigate another tricky situation, this his decision to suspend disgruntled WR Brandon Marshall until Sept. 5 (the rest of the preseason), a few things stuck out to me.
Primarily, it was the utter uncertainty about everything and anything related to the relationship between player and team. McDaniels spoke in the only way he could, about being hopeful that things might change, and being hopeful that they won’t have to take disciplinary action against him again. However, given the tenuous nature of this marriage, I wouldn’t bet on it. Hope is all they’ve got.
I don’t blame McDaniels for speaking as he did and choosing his words carefully; these issues have been lingering for months and if there was any easy resolution it would have been found by now.
Even pinpointing the exact sequence of all events that went into this decision is difficult, with McDaniels talking about a “cumulative number of things,” in explaining it. The fact that McDaniels said Marshall was issued a “warning” about his actions prior to Wednesday’s practice, and then Marshall spent that session acting in a thoroughly disruptive manner, speaks to how frayed this is.
And that’s not quickly repaired and the lack of trust at play isn’t going away … at least I can’t see it. So, ultimately, the most prescient words McDaniels uttered could turn out to be when he spoke of an “escalating discipline schedule.” Had he sought for any lengthy suspension here, one that carried over into the regular season, the NFLPA would have reacted harshly. As one source there put it, this isn’t the kind of thing you suspend a guy a month for. But it is certainly another event in an ever-increasing timeline, and it paves the way for a lengthier regular-season suspension — one that would include substantial lost wages as opposed to preseason discipline — the next time something happens out of the norm between these parties. And given the history here, it’s hard to imagine them getting through 17 weeks of the regular season without incident.
With Marshall’s trade value plummeting, and the Broncos not wanting to give him away and acquiesce to another grumpy player (a la Jay Cutler), this could turn out to be an ongoing soap opera for sure.