Broncos WR benched
Just when they finally patched things up, Brandon Marshall and Denver coach Josh McDaniels are back to square one, and another reconciliation appears farfetched.
McDaniels announced yesterday he's benching Marshall, his Pro Bowl wide receiver, for the team's pivotal season finale against Kansas City tomorrow.
"Our word for the week has been accountability. And we're looking to put the 45 guys on the field on Sunday that want to play together, want to help us try to win and qualify for the playoffs," McDaniels said. "... And anybody that showed any indifference to that, we'll play without them."
Marshall suggested he couldn't have played anyway after pulling his right hamstring at practice this week.
In an extraordinary half-hour at Dove Valley in Englewood, Colo., McDaniels insinuated on the podium that Marshall was exaggerating the extent of his injury and was unaccountable to the team. The Pro Bowl receiver responded from his locker by noting McDaniels never played in the NFL and hinting he might be getting called out by his coach because the Broncos' season is unraveling.
Since a sizzling 6-0 start, the Broncos have gone 2-7.
They'll try to make the playoffs tomorrow without their 100-catch receiver or tight end Tony Scheffler, demoted to the scout team, and maybe minus wide receiver Eddie Royal, who has a head injury.
Marshall was voted to his second straight Pro Bowl on Tuesday after becoming just the fifth wide receiver with three consecutive 100-catch seasons. He spoke Wednesday about how fulfilling it was to bounce back after a tumultuous offseason that included a rocky start to his relationship with McDaniels, who rejected trade requests and demands for a new contract. McDaniels also suspended him for nine days during training camp for insubordination at practice.
RUNNING BACK WILLIAMS QUESTIONABLE FOR FINALE
Miami running back Ricky Williams is questionable for the season finale because of a shoulder injury.
The Dolphins (7-8) will play the Pittsburgh Steelers tomorrow clinging to slim playoff hopes.
Williams was limited in practice Thursday and yesterday. The injury occurred in last Sunday's loss to Houston, when Williams missed much of the second half.
His backup is Lex Hilliard, who has 80 yards rushing in his career and scored his first two NFL touchdowns last week. The Dolphins are already without running back Ronnie Brown, sidelined by a season-ending foot injury Nov. 15.
Steelers: Pittsburgh defensive end Brett Keisel missed a third consecutive day of practice because of a neck injury and might not play tomorrow at Miami. Keisel is listed as questionable, but Steelers players rarely play after not practicing all week.
Steelers safety Troy Polamalu (left knee) practiced on a limited basis for the third day in a row yesterday and isn't expected to play.
Left guard Chris Kemoeatu, a Kahuku High alum, also was limited in practice yesterday because of a wrist injury and is listed as questionable.
Eagles: Michael Vick practiced again yesterday and is expected to be the backup quarterback when Philadelphia visits Dallas tomorrow.
Vick didn't play in last Sunday's victory over Denver because of a quadriceps contusion. He normally backs up Donovan McNabb and takes a few snaps each game in Philadelphia's variation of the wildcat offense.
Vick was injured on a running play against San Francisco on Dec. 20.
Panthers: Carolina's DeAngelo Williams (left ankle) is doubtful and fellow running back Jonathan Stewart (sore left Achilles' tendon) questionable for the season finale tomorrow against New Orleans.