Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Scouts Inc.: Marshall just what Fins needed
By Scouts Inc.'s Matt Williamson
Brandon Marshall is heading to Miami. I love it. There are far too many cases lately of teams inserting a very young franchise-type quarterback into the lineup, but failing to give him a suitable go-to option to lean on. Marshall is exactly that guy.
Brandon Marshall gives the Dolphins a legitimate No. 1 option at receiver.
Marshall is a big wideout who plays even bigger. He has long arms, great ball skills and attacks the ball in the air. He wants the football and immediately becomes dangerous with the ball in his hands. Marshall is a strong runner who can break defensive back tackles and is quick to get upfield. His abilities are undeniable.
Even with Jay Cutler no longer in Denver, Marshall remained extremely productive with Kyle Orton distributing the football -- and I contend that Chad Henne is already a superior quarterback to Orton and certainly has the better tools. Henne has been known to lose the strike zone at times, but Marshall’s massive catching radius would make up for some of those problems when they do arise.
Also, the Dolphins are an outstanding running team and should remain a run-first group. They have an exceptional offensive line in place, and this dynamic should open up a lot of play-action opportunities for Marshall and allow him to see single coverage at times on early downs as Miami’s opponent stacks the line of scrimmage.
The Dolphins could utilize heavy run-oriented personnel with only one wideout, Marshall, on the field and still be a position to threaten a defense with the pass. Such personnel groupings are something that the Dolphins love to utilize, but that passing threat didn’t exist in these instances last season.
If Hartline continues to develop, then Bess can strictly be a slot option, which is clearly where he is best suited. Even if it is just Ginn (assuming he is still around) and Marshall on the field together, Ginn will receive single coverage most of the time and could use his pure speed to make plays deep against such favorable coverage -- or at least propose the threat of doing so.
Bill Parcells has had his share of run-ins with talented, but combustible wide receivers. Marshall clearly fits that bill. But although he surely has had off-the-field indiscretions, there is no denying Marshall’s competitiveness on the field.
The Dolphins will never get to where they want to go without an improved passing game. This is a passing league. Henne showed great potential last season and became increasingly comfortable as the season progressed. But there was one massive component missing: a No. 1 receiving threat. Marshall would be that final component.
I also contend that a true No. 1 receiver, like Marshall, is the last piece needed on offense. In turn, after adding Marshall, Miami should almost concentrate solely on the defensive side of the ball during the upcoming draft.
Scouts Inc. watches games, breaks down film and studies football from all angles for ESPN.com.