By Jamual Forrest and Mike Webb
The start of Free Agency has seen many teams lose and add players, which changes the way each team will go about business in the draft. More importantly, it changes the way each team looks to fans and media with every move that is made. The New York Giants haven’t been extremely active, but they set the market at wide receiver when they signed Brandon Marshall to a two-year deal worth $12 million dollars. It’s obvious that his addition is a positive, but there are several questions that come along with his signing. Jamual and Mike worked together to provide answers to some of the questions that have come up surrounding Marshall’s entrance into the NFC East.
Should there be concerns of how Brandon Marshall fits in New York’s offense?
Not at all, Marshall is a perfect fit for the Giants. He’s 6’4, 230 pounds, but he does turn 33 years old later this month. He had 109 catches for 1,502 yards and 14 touchdowns two years ago, before a down season in 2016 as the Jets fell apart from top to bottom. Marshall should be facing single coverage from an opposing defense’s second corner while playing opposite Odell Beckham Jr. His expertise in the redzone is an added bonus, plus this is the best quarterback he’s ever had in the two time Super Bowl champion and four time Pro Bowler in Eli Manning.
Will Brandon Marshall be a distraction off the field?
Last season Odell was labeled as a ”distraction” in his own right by Luke Kerr-Dineen of For The Win, Marshall is also no stranger to being labeled a distraction from his role as a co-host of Showtime’s “Inside the NFL”, or in the New York Jets locker room. On the positive side of things, Brandon has matured a lot from earlier in his career and could help Odell mature as well. The veteran wideout will be driven to prove he is not finished and has a lot to give following an injury-plagued 2016 season. Another piece of motivation will be the opportunity to make the playoffs for the first time in his stellar 11-year career. He’s also another veteran voice added to a locker room, he may make a difference from a leadership standpoint as well.
What does the Marshall signing mean for Eli Manning?
The thing about Marshall is that his physicality and ability to dominate man coverage will create favorable match-ups for Eli in critical situations. Odell Beckham Jr was Manning’s go-to guy in critical situations, which has proved to be harmful at times to the Giants. With 63% completion, 4000 yards, and 21 total turnovers, he now has a reliable safety blanket who can take pressure off the 35-year old quarterback. Marshall is a chain mover with very reliable hands, he does not have the speed that Odell or Sterling Sheppard has, but he’s still capable of being a big threat after he catches the ball. He’s been known to tun a 7-yard out route or a slant into a house call, in other words, the man’s a play-maker. So Eli now has multiple weapons at his disposal, especially in the red zone.
Can Brandon Marshall handle being the second receiving option?
Marshall has been the top option through his entire career and requires the ball. For him to work in this system he has to take a step back for the first time in his career. He seems to understand after stating that ” I’m No. 2, Odell Beckham is No. 1″ in a recent interview with Good Morning Football. He also told the New York Post that he wants to ”take pressure off Beckham” and is ”excited to see him take his game to another level”.
Does the Marshall signing move the needle for New York?
This move does not necessarily push New York over the hump as clear NFC favorites, but it does make them legit contenders. The Giants biggest issue in 2016 was offensive line play and a running game. The odds are outside of this Marshall signing, they expect to address those issues the rest of this off-season. They may be intrigued with pairing second year running back Paul Perkins with a rookie from this years draft class, while attempting to solidifying the offensive line. Ereck Flowers has been something of a disappointment thus far in New York, which means they may have to consider taking another lineman high in the draft. Their defense is still in tack, but if they are able to find a balance offensively to take pressure off of Manning and Beckham Jr, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if the Giants can make a serious push to get Eli that third ring.