Broncos LB Brandon Marshall: 'We're not dirty'

The Denver Broncos took shot after shot on Cam Newton last Thursday, several of which landed squarely on the quarterback's helmet.

Despite the repeated hits to the head, linebacker Brandon Marshall insists the Broncos aren't a malicious defense.

"We're not dirty," Marshall said Monday, via the Denver Post. "When I think of dirty, I think of stepping on somebody's ankle at the bottom of a pile (or) twisting somebody around. Stuff like that. We just play hard, man. We hit hard. We play fast. We play faster than any defense in the league. Just because we hit Cam in the head a couple of times, that doesn't make us dirty. Look at some of the dirty plays in the league. There are a lot of dirty players, and that's not our M.O."

Safety Darian Stewart was penalized for one hit to Newton's helmet late in the game, but that was after (at least) three previous strikes to the quarterback's skull-area went uncalled.

Marshall's third-quarter hit on Newton should have been a penalty, NFL Network's Judy Battista reported last week. The linebacker launched himself at Newton, who was clearly a passer at that point of the play, but Marshall insisted no cruel intentions accompanied the high hit. He admitted the blow didn't look good on TV or replay.

"It didn't. And that's fine. I don't want to say too much because I know they're going to fine me. I'm going to get a letter," he said, laughing.

"The guy is running at me, there's nobody around and I leave my coverage -- that's how important it is," Marshall said. "I leave my coverage just to try to hit him. ... The guy, he ran the ball 11 times for, what, 54 yards? That's a good day for a quarterback in my opinion."

For the Panthers' part, the defending NFC champs have mostly downplayed the hits and insisted Cam was not injured.

Marshall defended the Broncos D, saying the high hits weren't deliberate.

"We were just playing ball," Marshall said. "Speed of the game. Dirty is intentional."

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