Posted by Scouts Inc.'s Ken Moll
The art of the double move is tough to master and often an underestimated skill, but Denver Broncos wide receiver WR Brandon Marshall is one of the best in the league at executing it and he has already made several defenders look bad this season.
Marshall does not have outstanding deep speed but he is an excellent route-runner with great balance and foot agility, and he understands the nuances of the position such as head fakes, changes in speed and the use of strength to gain separation. He is also a matchup nightmare for opposing cornerbacks at 6-foot-4, 220 pounds.
Marshall makes a lot of receptions on short patterns, sinking his hips well and getting out of his breaks quickly on hitch, curl and out routes and making it difficult for defenders to stay close enough to make clean plays on the ball. The Broncos will run these kinds of patterns early in the game in short-yardage situations, and as the game wears on defenders anticipate them and break on the route early when they sense it coming. That is when coach Mike Shanahan attacks with the double move.
Marshall is adept at selling his hip and head movement and gearing down slightly with shorter steps to give the illusion that he is cutting a route off, causing the defender to bite up to his hip. Denver QB Jay Cutler does his part by giving a slight shoulder turn or pump-fake to help bait the defender, and Marshall then uses his agility to turn upfield and get behind the defensive back.
The double move could be a big part of Marshall's matchup with Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Ronde Barber this week. Barber is a savvy veteran, who won't be fooled easily, but opposing offenses have picked on him some early this season and his competitive nature could lead him to become over-anxious when he senses the Broncos are trying to take advantage of him short.
Double moves are not particularly effective against base Cover 2 schemes like the one Tampa Bay runs because corners in Cover 2 squat on short routes and have safety help over the top, so look for the Broncos to try to dictate some one-on-one matchups for Marshall against Barber in order to take advantage of his aggressive nature. Denver will try to spot off coverage from Barber or looks that indicate three defensive backs with deep-third responsibility, both of which would leave Barber with no help behind him.
Marshall and Barber will likely be facing off for much of the afternoon so this will be interesting individual matchup to watch.
Scouts Inc. watches games, breaks down film and studies football from all angles for ESPN.com.