While the Seattle Seahawks defense benefited significantly from trading for New England Patriots defensive back Justin Coleman, the same could not be said for when the Patriots traded for veteran Seahawks DE Cassius Marsh in a separate transaction prior to the start of last year’s regular season. Marsh had a rough opening day against the Kansas City Chiefs, and by November he was off the team.
Now with the San Francisco 49ers, Marsh is not holding anything back about how much he disliked playing for Bill Belichick. In an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, Marsh detailed many of the difficulties he dealt with in New England’s defensive scheme, which essentially turned him into a coverage linebacker instead of a pass rusher.
“They asked me to do a bunch of stuff that I had never done: covering running backs and receivers and basically almost never rushing the passer, which is what I did in playing defensive line,” Marsh said. “They don’t have fun there. There’s nothing fun about it. There’s nothing happy about it. I didn’t enjoy any of my time there, you know what I’m saying? It made me for the first time in my life think about not playing football because I hated it that much.”
Marsh’s final game with the Patriots saw him play just two defensive snaps in a blowout win over the Oakland Raiders. It doesn’t take much deciphering to figure out when a player is on Bill Belichick’s bad side, and Marsh apparently got into it with the five-time Super Bowl winning head coach.
“I confronted (Belichick) about all the things that were going on,” Marsh said. “I won’t get into detail, but it was B.S. things they were doing. I just wasn’t a fan. And so I, basically, without asking to get cut, I kind of asked to get cut. … I had confidence that I would have an opportunity elsewhere and I would take advantage of it.”
It’s certainly a contrast from Pete Carroll’s reputation of creating a fun, player-friendly environment. When Marsh was drafted in 2014, Dan Quinn was still Seattle’s DC and one who backed Marsh’s talent, but Quinn left to become the Atlanta Falcons head coach. While Marsh did say that he enjoyed the culture of the Seahawks organization, but feels like then-defensive coordinator Kris Richard held him back from earning more opportunities to contribute on Seattle’s defensive line.
“I was kind of left with a coach who it was almost like he was almost fighting to keep me off the field,” Marsh said. “I had to really fight and scratch and claw for any opportunities I had. Obviously, we had a very deep defensive line, especially at the defensive-end position. It was just constantly being told that (I was) kind of like a backup type of guy. But I knew and believed in myself: That’s not who I am.”
Earlier this offseason, Marsh signed a two-year, $7.7 million contract extension with the 49ers, who have plenty of former Seahawks on the defensive side of the ball, including Richard Sherman, Tyvis Powell, Malcolm Smith, Brock Coyle, and Korey Toomer.