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Spotlight: Brandon Marshall

posted by Chris Smith on Jul 27th

Chris Smith's thoughts

While Brandon Marshall managed to catch 86 passes for 1,014 yards for the Dolphins; it was a disappointing season by all accounts. When the team gave up a pair of second round picks to secure his services, it was anticipated he would be the finest Dolphins receiver since Mark Clayton shredded defenses in the mid 1980's. Both the team and Marshall had huge expectations but he never found his stride, had moments of poor attitude that impressed nobody and he wasn't able to break tackles like he had been in seasons past.

Perhaps the most disappointing number of them all was the feeble 3 touchdown receptions he finished with. There was talk he would finish with 10+ and he simply wasn't able to break loose throughout the campaign.

However, when looking at his statistics throughout his career, there is still plenty of optimism he will be able to rediscover the form that made him one of the more difficult receivers to contain while with the Broncos. We tend to forget that he is only 27 years old. He has time to leave the immaturity behind him and truly develop into a monster receiver.

The only real caveat in terms of critically analyzing his skill set would be the low yards per catch throughout his career. He catches a lot of underneath routes and that does limit the upside of his possible receiving yardage. He is capable of running deeper routes but his top end straight line speed isn't exceptional and most defensive backs are able to run with him.

Sure last season he was a pretty big disappointment in Miami. The team had big expectations for him in 2010 as did the fans and many fantasy owners who were thrilled to have him on team. It just never came together for him and the Dolphins last year. However with his size and ability with the ball after the catch, it is more likely he'll return to his past levels while with Denver than to put up another middling season with the Dolphins. He is simply too difficult to cover and he'll have lots of passes thrown his pass.

What is often lost in regards to Marshall thanks to his questionable attitude is he is driven to be the best. He wants the ball in his hands at all times like any great receiver does and he works hard on the field to get separation and get the ball in his hands. To be the best you have to have the desire to do whatever it takes to be in that place and Marshall does possess that kind of drive and determination on the field.

While Marshall did indeed struggle last year and didn't have his same burst as past seasons, you cannot put all of the blame for the disappointing season on him. The Dolphins passing attack last year was inconsistent at times and poor at others and it is hard to put together strong receiving numbers when the quarterback's confidence ebbs from good to shaky.


  • Freakish blend of size, agility and talent
  • Dolphins passing attack cannot help but improve in 2011 after subpar effort last year
  • Marshall is very competitive and his drive to be the best will make him better in 2011


  • Poor attitude at times can hinder both his own and the team's performance
  • Tends to sulk when he doesn't get the ball often enough
  • No guarantees that the Dolphins passing attack will improve in 2011

Final thoughts

Expect a bounce back season from Marshall in 2011. He has incredible natural ability and while his poor attitude does get in the way at times, he is too good to suffer through another mediocre (for him) performance. The worry here is that the Dolphins starting quarterback (still Chad Henne at this time) continues to struggle with consistency, which is a statistics killer for receivers. If the starting quarterback does not elevate his play, Marshall will be hard pressed to surpass last year's stats.

Quotations from the message board thread

To view the entire Player Spotlight thread (there's a ton of fantastic commentary in there), click here.

bigmiiiike said:

Marshall missed two games last year, so he very well could have flirted with a fourth straight 100 reception season if he played the full 16 games. I don't expect Miami's offense to be much different in 2011 from what we saw in 2010. If Marshall played in a higher octane passing O, he would be in the discussion for top WR off the board, but in Miami, I think we'll see more of the same, with a slight uptick in TDs.

FF Ninja said:

Miami was 13th in passing attempts and 15th in yardage. On one hand, I'd think it couldn't get much worse than Henne last year, but on the other hand, I think this is a team that would like to be a running team, so they'll probably stay in the middle of the pack no matter what. That does not spell doom and gloom for Marshall's FF prospects, though. The guy put up 86/1014/3 in 14 games. That a 98/1159/3 pace. While TDs are hard to predict, ~100 rec usually leads to a fair share of TDs. 95/1150/7 is a very reasonable expectation for him if he plays all 16 games next year. Considering he is ranked WR17, I'd say he is a steal. His non-ppr ADP is 43 behind the likes of TB MWilliams, Dez Bryant, and Colston. I'll be shocked if he doesn't outperform all of those guys. Should a QB better than Henne be brought to Miami, look out.

Iwannabeacowboybaby! said:

Brandon Marshall is one of the most talented wide receivers in the NFL. However, ever since he's been in the league, his off field antics have come into question, and one has to wonder how those antics effect his on field play. Still, even with the problems, he manages to produce at a high level. This year though, he doesn't have a high profile QB throwing him the ball and Henne is coming off a season where he underachieved and questions surround the future of the QB position in Miami.

I think we saw Brandon Marshall come on a little towards the end of last season. We will see more of that this season but he won't reach the dominance we saw when he was in Denver because Miami currently doesn't have a Jay Cutler throwing him the football.

Ministry of Pain said:

Let's back this up a minute. Last year everyone posted Marshall getting 100 receptions and breaking every Miami Dolphins record for a receiver and he was on pace to do it but the fact is he didn't. He has had off field issues in the past that forced Denver to try and trade him. Last year he was not very supportive of Sporano and that is not here say as he was interviewed on the radio shortly after the season when Sporano looked like he was going to be axed and Marshall was none too disappointed and it was very apparent. This past offseason he was stabbed in the stomach by his new wife. They have not been allowed to see each other for the past 90 days and are supposed to meet soon(how you liking al this baggage?). You add in a very subpar NFL QB, a rookie RB, a shaky OL, no TE threat, small and slow secondary wide receivers opposite him, a new offensive system by an offensive coordinator that wasn't wanted in Cleveland, and you have the makings of a potential disaster in my opinion.

laughinboy_2000 said:

Everybody needs to slow their roll a little on BMarsh. Is he a talanted WR? Of course he is, dude is a freak of nature. However, he is in a BAD situation in Miami. I'm agreeing with MOP here. Currently the QB and RB situation are average at best, and given the fact that he will be the best option on offense, he will see lots of double coverages. Last year, they could get away running the ball with Ronnie Brown and Ricky, but that won't happen this year. They also in my opinion there are too many defensive minded teams on their schedule who I can feel slow BMarsh down. Marshall reminds me a bit of Carolina's Steve Smith. Awesome talent, but horrible QB situation to be in. I'm a bit more optimistic than MOP, but not much. His talent alone though will result in the following stats.

Brandon Marshall projections

Chris Smith981205900
Message board consensus881094600