Literally less than a week ago, the Seahawks traded defensive end and special teams contributor Cassius Marsh to the New England Patriots for a fifth- and seventh-rounder in next year’s NFL Draft. His trade came as a surprise to many Seahawks fans, as he’d developed into a nice role player and situational pass rusher in Seattle. Last season he notched the first three sacks of his career, and also recovered a fumble against the Panthers. On special teams, he made a pivotal play in Seattle’s win against Miami, as he blocked Andrew Franks’ chip shot field goal to deny the Dolphins a game-tying field goal.
Unfortunately for Marsh, he had a debut to forget with his new team.
In absolute fairness to Cassius, he’s barely been with the Patriots, so it was always going to be difficult for him to easily transition himself into a different defensive system than Seattle’s. But when star linebacker Dont’a Hightower went down with a knee injury in New England’s stunning 42-27 loss to Kansas City, Marsh saw his snaps increase, and surprise surprise, he’s not as good as Hightower.
I don’t ever recall Marsh having to cover any running backs downfield in Seattle, but that was his task on Thursday against the Chiefs. Neither Marsh nor Kyle Van Noy could keep up with Kareem Hunt, and Alex Smith took advantage of the mismatch, with Marsh failing to tackle Hunt.
In the third quarter, Marsh was very fortunate to only be penalized for running into the punter, as the 5-yard penalty still meant it was 4th down. It was a terrible penalty by Marsh when you consider that they’d just been called for the exact same infraction on the previous snap. I won’t miss the “why’d you commit that penalty?” part of Marsh’s game.
In the post-game interview, Marsh talked about his performance and his need to improve as soon as possible.
“Hightower is a great player,” Marsh said. “I just got here, but I know that he’s a vital part of the defense. The rest of the defense has to make up for it. Part of that being me. I just have to be better. We all have to be better and I know that we will watch the film and work hard in practice every single day.
“I’m going to start getting myself better right now. I don’t accept that [result] for one second. I’m not OK with losing, ever. I’m not OK with being beat, I want to be great. This team wants to be great, and I’ll be better.”
Hopefully for Marsh’s sake, he does play better (and isn’t put in a position where he’s unlikely to succeed, as he did on the Hunt TD), because you don’t ever want to wind up in Bill Belichick’s doghouse.