The Elephant in the Locker Room: Marshall Doesn’t Catch On


By Greg Wright

One of the consistent knocks on the Pete Carroll / John Schneider regime is that this duo spends big money on free agents who just don’t pan out. The latest “example” of this is future Hall of Fame wide receiver Brandon Marshall, signed in the offseason to a one-year $1.1M contract and released this week after seeing his snap count seriously decline in recent weeks.

What I haven’t seen Pete Carroll talk about (because he’s generally a nice guy) or seen the press talk about is the precise “why” of that decision. Yes, his snap count has decreased, and you can’t pay a guy a million bucks for sitting on the bench. And yes, David Moore and Jaron Brown are getting more snaps, and playing impressively.

But Marshall’s failure to catch on with the Hawks and stick is not merely the result of snap counts and dollars.

It’s that he didn’t take advantage of the opportunities he had.

I’ve written before about the characteristic strength of Seattle’s “mediocre” receiving corps: their ability to simply catch the ball. So far this season, Russell Wilson is completing 65.9% of his passes. That means, on the average, his receivers are catching 65.9% of the balls thrown their way. Duh.

Well, Brandon Marshall was dragging that average waaaaayyyy down, catching less than 50% of his targets.

That’s right. Wilson targeted Marshall 23 times, and Marshall only caught 11 of those passes.

That’s bad for any receiver on any team, but for a Pete Carroll receiver, that’s untenable. That’s why Marshall saw his snap count steadily decrease, and why you saw Wilson throwing to Marshall less even when Marshall was in.

Hopefully, you, as a fan, have been noticing this over the first half of this season.

Hopefully, today, as you watch Russell Wilson pick San Diego’s defense to pieces in what is likely to be a big win, you will sit up and think, “Yeah. Baldwin and Lockett and Moore and Brown and Dickson–these guys just catch balls!”

And thank your lucky stars that the Seahawks can afford to cut bait on superstars that just don’t pan out.

There’s always some key issue that’s getting glossed over. It’s the elephant in the locker room, if you will, and gosh darn if I’ll let that ride. 

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