Veteran receiver still has a lot of value to offer the Giants.
Receiver Brandon Marshall, called a “breath of fresh air” by head coach Ben McAdoo, has been just that.
He’s said all the right things in his press meetings, but more importantly, Marshall, who has had the type of career that all of the Giants receivers no doubt are dreaming of having, has checked his ego at the door and let things develop for him organically.
Marshall is also a rare exception in the world of sports: an athlete who actually uses social media to his advantage. Consider his recent Instagram posting showing himself on a FaceTime chat with quarterback Eli Manning as the two went over pass routes and concepts ahead of the July 27 start to training camp.
Half the battle in football is the metal part, which Marshall understands. But more importantly, he’s showing his young teammates—without shoving it down their throats—those little steps that a true professional takes that often goes unnoticed.
Just what does he have left in the tank?
That remains to be seen, to be honest. Marshall was banged up last year, his final season with the Jets, yet his 2016 season totals –59 receptions for 788 yards—were still better than any Giants receiver not named Odell Beckham Jr.
Marshall is no fool; he knew coming into this situation that he wasn’t going to be the No. 1 receiver so long as Beckham is able to play, but he’s fine with that, his focus instead on contributing to a championship.
In that regard, his selflessness in sacrificing his personal stats for the good of the team can already be regarded as a solid contribution—and they haven’t even played a down of football yet this year.
Any concerns about him becoming a locker room issue has he’s sometimes been in the past?
Nope. One thing you have to remember about the Giants locker room that might have been different from some of the recent locker rooms Marshall was a part of is that that Giants have a more solid foundation.
By that, we mean they have enough buys in there such as Eli Manning, Zak DeOssie, Jason Pierre-Paul, Damon Harrison, Jonathan Casillas, to name a few, who have emerged as leaders.
They also have a young head coach, 40-year-old Ben McAdoo, who means what he says when he preaches his open-door policy. Grated the players might not always like what the coach has to say, but at least they’re being met with honesty.
But perhaps the biggest reason is the Giants have returned to a wining culture. Their goal is to build on that, and while it’s certainly possible they’ll face some struggles, given that the taste of winning is still relatively fresh in that locker room (as is the taste of their bitter exit from the playoffs), it would be very hard to imagine any player being selfish enough to make something about him which would in turn circumvent the team’s efforts to get back to the playoffs and to go deeper.
In 2011, the Giants brought on board safety Deon Grant, an established veteran safety who ended up playing a huge part in that team’s Super Bowl championship, even though he technically wasn’t a starter.
Marshall, like Grant, can’t do it all by his lonesome on the field, but the leadership and example he’s set in his short time with the Giants is sure to pay off for whichever young players decide to follow his lead.