Imagine what Marshall will mean to Fins

June, 22, 2010
6/22/10
10:58
AM ET
One of the most anticipated developments of training camp and the preseason will be how much the Miami Dolphins' offense will change with receiver Brandon Marshall on the field.

[+] EnlargeBrandon Marshall
AP Photo/J Pat CarterMiami hopes Brandon Marshall will help spread the field and transform the offense.
We weren't given any hints during offseason workouts. Marshall's hip surgery kept him off the field, leaving us to imagine how he will transform an offense that relied on the run before he arrived. Will quarterback Chad Henne air it out more?

With that in mind, I revisited some data from ESPN Stats & Information to see where Marshall might be able to help most.

One of the numbers that stood out is the Dolphins' lack of pass plays that went 20 yards or longer.

The Dolphins had the NFL's lowest percentage of pass plays that went 20-plus yards. They recorded 29 of them total -- only 8.7 percent of their pass plays.

The St. Louis Rams and Seattle Seahawks had the next-lowest numbers at 10.3 and 10.5 percent.

You might be surprised to see the New England Patriots were in the bottom five. Despite having one of the all-time great deep threats in Randy Moss (18 receptions of 20-plus yards by himself), the Patriots throw to Wes Welker so often their percentage of 20-plus pass plays was only 11 percent.

It's not difficult to understand why the Dolphins didn't do better in this area. While Henne is known for having a live arm, his receivers either didn't possess the proper speed (Greg Camarillo, Davone Bess, Brian Hartline) or the hands (Ted Ginn) to be vertical threats.

The Dolphins had the fourth-lowest completion percentage on passes that traveled over 20 yards in the air. They completed 11 of their 51 attempts, or 21.6 percent. The only teams worse were the Detroit Lions, Seahawks and Rams.

Marshall should correct that, right?

Maybe. He tied for third with 101 receptions. But only 11 of his catches went for 20 yards or more (whether through the air or with yards after the catch), tying him with 10 others for 39th.

Where Marshall certainly will help is in yards after the catch. He's one of the best at that.

The Dolphins, meanwhile, were among the worst in YAC. Of all their receiving yardage, 38.9 percent came after a reception. That was the NFL's fourth-lowest percentage and only 4.6 percent better than the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the bottom.

What will make the next couple months fascinating is we still don't know how the Dolphins will use Marshall. We're familiar with what Denver Broncos coaches Mike Shanahan and Josh McDaniels preferred, but Dolphins coach Tony Sparano might have other plans.

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