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Brandon Marshall returned from injury in time for camp, giving Raiders defense much needed boost

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NFL: OCT 01 Chiefs at Broncos Photo by Ric Tapia/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Free agent acquisition Brandon Marshall is finally back from injury and has been practicing with the Silver & Black the first four days of camp. All offseason the former Denver linebacker had been rehabbing a knee injury that nagged him all last season. Now, Marshall is back in pads and working himself into the defense.

The transition has been a little tougher than Marshall had expected being that he wasn’t able to take the field with his new teammates.

“In my mind I learned everything, but it’s different when you’re out here and the bullets are flying,” Marshall said. “Gruden’s offense is a lot to deal with, but [it’s] still moving a little faster than I like. I’m still waiting for it to slow down but that just takes time.”

That is to be expected, after all, he is practicing for only the fourth time in a completely new system. However, it is helpful that Marshall has experience at weak side linebacker where he is currently lining up. In 2014 Marshall started as the WILL for the Broncos, tallying 91 tackles and 9 pass deflections. It should only be a matter of time for Marshall to find comfort in his role with the team.

“We stayed patient with him and we knew if we could get him to training camp and get him rehabbed, he’s one of the best coverage linebackers in football,” said Jon Gruden.

Having Marshall back is crucial to the Raiders hopes of matching up with AFC West tight ends like Travis Kelce, and Hunter Henry.

“He’s a very good cover guy, he’s got good feet, he’s physical, and he can run,” said defensive coordinator Paul Guenther. “So, he can match up with some of these backs and tight ends that we have in our division.”

According to Levi Damien’s camp reports, Marshall has shown well through the first few days in Napa. Making run stuffing tackles and holding up well in coverage.

The 8th year veteran was also brought in to be a leader on this team. Another area that has been difficult being that he was unable to take the field until now.

“I’m just still trying to establish myself, as well as bring some young guys on, and I have a story that I think a lot of the young guys could take to,” he said. “I talk to any guys that will listen and I’m going to get it going.”

That kind of leadership on defense was sorely missed last season. Marshall as well as Vontaze Burfict are vital in helping younger guys like Nicholas Morrow and Marquel Lee and Jason Cabinda learn and improve.

Marshall brings championship pedigree to this team as well, having been the starting linebacker on the Broncos’ 2015 Super Bowl team. His injury tripped him up last season and made him a cap casualty in Denver.

The 29-year-old signed a 1-year deal with the Raiders but has plenty of incentive to revive his career long term with the Raiders. The Las Vegas native has dreams of taking the field with the team when they relocate to his hometown in 2020. So, there’s no place he’d rather be. On a defense that could certainly use his skillset.

Editor’s note: Levi Damien contributed to this article.