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Brandon Marshall plays "simulated games" while wearing a helmet on the Saints sideline



Brandon Marshall has not made his debut with the New Orleans Saints, but in his two side games he has tried to learn as much as possible about the offense.

"I have a headset and listen to all the calls," said the broad receiver Sunday. "I'm just playing a simulated game in my head."

Marshall is a new, healthy experience, but the 13-year-old veteran said he enjoyed his learning process with the Saints.

After two weeks of practice with the saints and on the sidelines, Marshall said his habits were improving. He has learned a lot from quarterback Drew Brees and his other teammates, and he expects this experience to make him a better football player.

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From 2006 to 2013, with the Broncos, Dolphins and Bears, Marshall has never missed more than two games in a season. He had missed three with the Bears in 2014, but that was the result of an injury in December with broken ribs and a collapsed lung.

Marshall missed a game with the 2015-16 Jets. Since then, however, Marshall's playing time and production have dropped significantly compared to his previous leading game.

In 2017, Marshall played only five games before undergoing an ankle operation that will end at the end of the season. It started this year with the Seahawks, but Seattle cut it after the eighth week.

A week later, the Saints welcomed Marshall on a day of long distance training. They decided to sign Dez Bryant, but after Bryant suffered an Achilles tendon tear that week, the Saints signed Marshall after the win against the Bengals in the 10th week.

Marshall was one of the Saints' inactive players in Week 11 against the Eagles and Week 12 against the Falcons. Coach Sean Payton has given no hints about when Marshall would be willing to contribute, but the recent production of other receivers does not reveal when the veteran will have a chance.

Rookie Keith Kirkwood received a promotion from the coaching team in time for the Bengals game, and he contributed to his three games, totaling six catches for 83 yards and one touchdown.

Second-year receiver Austin Carr had minimal production early in the season but was hit in two straight games.

The Saints also activated Tommylee Lewis from the injured reserve before last week's game against the Falcons. Lewis scored a 28-yard touchdown in the win.

With Michael Thomas, Tre'Quan Smith and now Carr, Kirkwood and Lewis, it's hard to say where Marshall could fit.

"It was a process, but it was fun to keep up with the guys and watch these guys come out and eject," Marshall said. "It was funny."

It's also fun for the Saints players, as the young receivers have taken the opportunity to learn the Pro Bowler six times.

"It brings energy to our room too," said Michael Thomas. "It's a competitor. He likes the game. He has this fight in him. He has this dog in him. It's a pro. You can know how he handles his business whether he is in the field or not. He is a good guy. it is an excellent complement to our room. "


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