CENTENNIAL, Colo. -- Brandon Marshall cleared several hurdles to become a Broncos starter, working his way from former Jacksonville Jaguars castoff to a core defensive player. He must clear an important one Friday in order to play Sunday.
Marshall told Denver7 he will attempt to run at Friday's practice, testing his left hamstring. How the veteran inside linebacker performs will go a long way in determining whether he's active Sunday against the Chargers. Marshall had originally hoped to run Saturday, but the Broncos typically like to know a player's availability on Friday.
"It feels better, definitely," Marshall said. "We will see what happens. But I need to show I can play. It's a big day if I am going to be out there."
If Marshall can't go, Corey Nelson moves into the starting lineup. Nelson appeared in 71 snaps this season. Marshall, signed to a four-year, $32-million contract this offseason, has 38 tackles in seven starts. He injured his hamstring in the fourth quarter of Denver's win over the Houston Texans. He dealt with minor hamstring issues in the past in Jacksonville, but nothing that prevented him from working out. Marshall has not practiced this week.
Fullback Andy Janovich (hand), nose tackle Sylvester Williams (ankle), receiver Demaryius Thomas (hip) and cornerback Aqib Talib (back) were limited in practice.
The Broncos' defense ranks top eight in five significant categories, including passing yards per game (175.0, first) and yards per play (4.5, second).