|Some Fins players reportedly thought Sparano and his staff coddled Marshall. (Getty Images)|
By Ryan Wilson
Brandon Marshall's physical skills are undeniable. But the off-field distractions and occasional on-field lapses make him more mercurial diva than dominating downfield threat. His wife was accused of stabbing him last April, and in December, Marshall was temporarily detained for refusing to pay a cab fare. Then there are the issues with teammates and the random observations about his pregame preparations. (Then, when the games don't matter, Marshall goes off. Of course he does.)
So, yes, Marshall is viewed as something of an enigma. But according to the Miami Herald's Barry Jackson, the previous coaching staff led by Tony Sparano also served as Marshall's enablers.
"There’s curiosity internally in seeing how the new staff deals with Marshall. Some players thought the former staff looked the other way when he did foolish things (like spiking a ball off Vontae Davis’ face)," Jackson wrote Sunday.
Will new head coach Joe Philbin's staff demand more from Marshall? No idea, but here's how these things work on every team: the best players, or those physically gifted with gobs of potential, are given more leeway than the eighth guy on the practice squad. Media and fans are occasionally indignant when some players are given second, third and fourth chances for breaking the law or violating team rules while other players are promptly cut.
Marshall, in the right offense, can be dangerous. From 2007-2009, he caught at least 307 passes for 3,710 yards and 23 touchdowns. And despite "all the other stuff" since he arrived in Miami in 2010, he's averaged 84 receptions, 1,114 yards and 4.5 touchdowns. And that's with Chad Henne and Matt Moore throwing him the ball.
During the Pro Bowl three weeks ago, Marshall noted Moore's accomplishments under tough circumstances last season. But he also understood that Moore ain't a franchise quarterback.
"Obviously, Matt [Moore] had a great year," Marshall said. "You don't want to take anything away from Matt, but I think we really bring in somebody who can compete and make the team better."
Which is why Marshall has reached out to Matt Flynn, the Packers quarterback who will draw plenty of interest should he become a free agent.
"Hey man, listen, I'm out here at the Pro Bowl, and I'm not getting no balls thrown to me!" Marshall joked to NFL.com's Jeff Darlington. "I need a quarterback. You've got Big Ben throwing to [Mike] Wallace, you've got Philip throwing to [Antonio] Gates and Vincent [Jackson], you've got Andy throwing to A.J. [Green]. I'm the only guy out here, man!"
Then there's this: new Dolphins offensive coordinator Mike Sherman doesn't think the team is that far away.
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