The Ravens need to sign Demaryius Thomas!
Ozzie needs to move up in the draft and get a premier Wide Receiver!
There are two things that the Ravens rarely do in the offseason: overpay for a Free Agent and trade away draft picks to reach-up in the first round of the NFL draft.
Ozzie Newsome likes to sign veteran players that are released from their teams. Players that have been cut by their previous teams do not count towards the NFL’s compensatory picks formula. Reports from 670 The Score and The Chicago Sun Times state that the Bears will release WR Brandon Marshall before March 13th. Why March 13th? After March 13th, Marshall’s 2015 salary becomes fully guaranteed. The main reason behind releasing Marshall was that he was a distraction last year off the field in addition to age and multiple injuries on the field.
According to Pro Football Focus Marshall fell from the 5th best WR in 2013 to the 46th ranked WR in 2014. Is Marshall capable of returning to form and providing another couple of Pro Bowl caliber years? Brandon Marshall played in new Ravens OC Marc Trestman’s West Coast Offense from 2013-2014. Would Brandon Marshall make a good fit in the Ravens’ version of the West Coast Offense?
Let’s look at the all-22 film to decide.
As The Plus Split Receiver (Outside The Numbers)
In a Plus-Split alignment, Marshall will line up 3 yards past the numbers off of the Line of Scrimmage. Since the WR is lined up close to the sideline, the only two routes that can be run towards the sideline are the Go Route, Fade Route and the Comeback Route. All of the other routes require Marshall to release towards the middle of the field.
With an outside release, Marshall does not have top end speed to break away from Cornerbacks. He is more than capable of getting an outside release and breaking away from a Corner. Marshall’s strength and hand speed allow him to beat the jam from Cornerbacks gaining separation on his initial release.
Marshall primarily relies on his body control and hands to fight for the ball. Marshall will use his frame to box out the corner while he attempts to catch the ball.
While Marshall is capable of running Go and Fade Routes, he is better used on routes that break toward the middle of the field. Marshall doesn’t have excellent route running skills. He rounds out sharp breaks in his routes. He primarily relies on his strength and his size to gain separation. He is a big target in the middle of the field and has no regard to a potential hit or collision.
While lined up as a Slot Receiver
As a Slot Receiver, Marshall will line up inside the numbers. The Slot Alignment is where Marshall poses the greatest match-up problems. From the Slot, Marshall can break outside or inside. He also possesses enough speed to run Seam Routes.
Marshall runs a lot of Drive, Flat and Option Routes while lined up in the Slot. Once he catches the ball, smaller Slot Corners have a difficult time tackling him. Marshall will use his hands and strength to push off smaller Corners to gain more yards after the catch. He can turn a 3 yard catch to a 10 yard reception with his ability to break tackles and move in limited space.
When defenses adjust by bringing down a safety for help or switching off to a bigger linebacker, Marshall will take advantage of this mismatch and run Seam Routes stretching the defense. Marshall always maintains good concentration on the ball and will use his long reach to catch balls.
Is Marshall a good fit in the Ravens Offense?
There are many similarities in Ravens and Bears offenses. The formations are similar. There are subtle differences based on personnel on the field. The passing concepts are similar.
Marshall would have to learn the Ravens offense terminology. With Brandon Marshall, the offense could target the middle of the field more vs. stretching the field vertically.
Marshall can also move the chains on 3rd down due to his pass catching ability.
The major negatives against Marshall is his attitude. Marshall needs a good structure and a firm coach to be successful.
The Ravens may be a great place for him to end up.