Brandon Marshall has played twelve seasons in the National Football League, exceeded 100 catches six times, made the Pro Bowl six times, earned first-team All-Pro honors once, and second-team All-Pro just three years ago. If he wasn’t stuck with the likes of Kyle Orton, Matt Moore, and Ryan Fitzpatrick throughout his career, there would be strong arguments for him to be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
At 34 years old and coming off an injury-shortened, drop-filled 2017 season with the New York Giants, Marshall now finds himself with the Seattle Seahawks, and while initial talk was that he’d be fighting for a roster spot, it looks like he’s been one of the standouts throughout training camp. Having worked his way back to full health (or as full as can be), Marshall is now working out with the first-team offense, and perhaps we’ll see him get extended playing time in one of Seattle’s next two preseason games.
From Seahawks offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer:
“Very excited,” Schottenheimer said (via The News Tribune). “I haven’t really followed Brandon the last couple of years, of course, but you just see the matchup problem. Then again, the way he thinks football, the way he sees things on the field, he gives great input when he comes back. He was like, ‘Hey what were you doing there?’ and he’ll say something and then we’ll go and watch the film and you’re like, ‘Wow, he was right.’ I think that has a lot to do with it.
“We’re very encouraged.”
From head coach Pete Carroll:
“It’s developing,” Carroll said of the Marshall-Wilson connection (via ESPN). “They’re working hard at it. ... Both guys understand that has to take place and they’re hanging together, they’re working together, they’re getting extra reps together. I don’t know if you were just watching the team practice there -- we had them down there for a little bit just to keep working on things. So it seems that the process is underway.”
From quarterback Russell Wilson at Thursday’s training camp, in which Marshall had multiple touchdowns:
“He looked exceptional today,” Wilson said of Marshall (via 710 ESPN Seattle). “He’s played a lot of football and he knows how to get prepared, he knows how to play at the highest level. He looked really, really good today, made a lot of great catches, caught that ball in the end zone, he’s showing up. So, he’s working his tail off…
“It’s one of those things, you can throw it anywhere and he’s going to catch it. That’s a good thing. He makes the quarterback look good, that’s for sure.”
It appears as if Wilson and Marshall have worked considerably on back-shoulder throws and jump-ball situations, which could certainly serve as a solid replacement for Jimmy Graham. The assumption is that Doug Baldwin and Tyler Lockett will be the top two receivers on the depth chart, with Jaron Brown at #3, but if Marshall keeps up the good work, he may very well supplant Brown in the pecking order and become a starter. This “prove-it” deal might be one of those low-risk, signings that yields a good reward.
I’m quite eager to see Marshall get some looks in preseason to see how much he has to offer in live game action. His days as a #1 WR are clearly over, but Seattle doesn’t need him to be even 2015 Brandon Marshall. If he can be the primary red-zone target, I’ll consider that a success.
And maybe, just maybe, Marshall will finally experience playoff football for the first time in his career.