CENTENNIAL, Colo. -- The Broncos will arrive in Nashville compromised at a critical position, but hopeful.
That's because it's not that position.
Inside linebacker Brandon Marshall will not play Sunday at Tennessee, according to an NFL source. Quarterback Trevor Siemian, however, continues to build momentum to return to the starting lineup after practicing Friday. Coach Gary Kubiak said Siemian in line to play without a setback on Saturday.
"I need to see how he feels tomorrow. He did a little more. It's looking good," Kubiak said.
Siemian missed the Jacksonville game with a sprained left foot. However, his healing continued on track after he shed the walking boot, received treatment and utilized shoe orthotics. How Siemian's foot felt after increased activity Thursday remained a critical hurdle. That the former Northwestern standout was throwing the ball around during the open viewing period Friday represented a positive sign.
Siemian won't be 100 percent, but if he can protect himself and compete he will start.
"He did everything we asked him to do yesterday and today. Probably a little bit more today," Kubiak said.
Marshall has struggled through a difficult season after signing a four-year, $32-million contract with $20 million guaranteed. A left hamstring issue suffered on Oct. 24 against Houston continues to linger. He missed the following week after the Texans' win, and sits at 52 tackles without the disruptive plays that defined his previous seasons. Corey Nelson, who is strong in pass coverage because of his speed, will start in his place and use the transmitter in his helmet to communicate with coordinator Wade Phillips. Marshall is a sound tackler and roughly 20 pounds heavier than Nelson, who will be counted on to be stout against Titans running backs DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry.
"The coaches are showing a lot of trust and faith in my ability," said Nelson, who will likely be a three-down player this week. "I enjoy the guys trusting me and calling the defense. I don't take it for granted for all."