It was only one scrimmage.
It was only one preseason game.
The head coach isn’t even worried, so why should anyone else be?
If those who follow the Dolphins want to take any of the above stances when it comes to Brandon Marshall’s recent struggles in South Beach, I wouldn’t blame them. After all, it’s only the second week of the preseason and we’re still weeks away from the games actually counting.
But given his history with behavioral issues, why wouldn’t people be concerned?
Marshall followed up a poor showing in a scrimmage two weeks ago by dropping the only two passes that were thrown to him during Miami’s first preseason game last weekend. Then, and stop me if you’ve already heard this one, during a practice session on Monday he reportedly dropped a pass in the end zone and then punted it over a fence. He proceeded to stand by himself, sulking on the sidelines afterwards.
Head coach Tony Sparano shrugged off the kicking incident by saying, “I didn’t see it, but I got bigger fish to fry…If he drops them and he gets pissed off at himself about dropping them, I’m okay with that.”
The Dolphins traded for Marshall so that he could give their passing game a boost and despite his well-documented issues in Denver, they gave him a $46 million contract extension. So while it’s good that Sparano isn’t making a mountain out of a molehill, what else is he supposed to say? He’s better off looking the other way and hoping that the problem corrects itself, instead of taking the route of Josh McDaniels and playing a disciplinarian.
Predictably, some in the media have already started making comparisons to Marshall’s recent behavior to that of his actions last year in Denver. But maybe his issues in Miami are a result of the pressure that is being placed on him this year, instead of his penchant for acting out.
Let’s think about this for a second: He’s making more money than he ever has during his career and is now being viewed as somewhat of a savior on a team that is expected to contend this season. That kind of pressure would be tough on any player, not to mention one that has had some maturity issues in the past. Maybe Marshall isn’t acting out; he’s experiencing the weight of something bigger for the first time in his career and the pressure is getting to him.
Either way, it’s too early in the season to draw conclusions on how he’ll fair in his first year in Miami. Again, it’s only the second week of the preseason and there’s plenty of time for Marshall to get into a rhythm and show his new team why they forked over a draft pick and $46 million in order to acquire him.
But if he doesn’t figure things out soon, it’ll only get worse from here. And more episodes like the one he had on Monday and the national media will be relentless in reporting on Marshall’s behavior from here on out.