It didn’t take long to see what a difference Brandon Marshall makes for the Giants.
Eli Manning tossed a jump-ball to the 6-foot-5 receiver during 7-on-7 practice Saturday, and the veteran pass-catcher used his entire length to make a leaping grab over shutdown corner Janoris Jenkins.
About 10 minutes later, Manning aired out a deep ball behind the secondary to find Odell Beckham Jr., who took the ball to the end zone as fans at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center gave the star receiver a raucous applause.
“That’s why I came here,” Marshall chuckled afterward. “Because of him.”
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It’s a dynamic duo that Manning has not really ever had in his career: a tall, vertical threat on one side to complement the speed and athleticism on the other.
If utilized properly it could lead to very big things for Big Blue.
“I’m tired of getting double covered and vised in the red zone,” Marshall added. “I’ll let him freakin’ carry all the weight.”
Well, not all of it.
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Marshall isn’t here to ride the coattails of Beckham. The 33-year-old still expects to be an important piece of the Giants offense but for the first time in his career he will have to adjust to being the No. 2 guy in the passing game.
That’s much easier said than done, and Marshall knows it.
“It’s all important,” Marshall said. “I’m not going to sit here and lie to you guys about that. As a receiver, that’s what makes us great but that’s also what holds us back. You’ve got to be able to check your ego. It’s definitely about winning but at the same time guys want to perform as well.”
Marshall will surely be hungry to perform, especially coming off perhaps his worst statistical season.
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Last year with the Jets, the veteran receiver finished with career lows as a starter in catches (59) and touchdowns (3). He recorded a measly 788 yards, the second fewest in his career.
Marshall is going to want the ball, as well as Beckham — who hopes to prove he is worth the unprecedented contract he desires.
So could a clash of egos be on the way down the road?
It’s something everyone hopes to avoid and Marshall assured the chemistry between him and the other receivers is evolving.
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“I think we’re in a great place,” Marshall said. “We still have a lot of work to do. That stuff takes time. Still haven’t put a lot of effort into doing things off the field yet because we haven’t had the time, but that’s where you really build those relationships to get through the good and the bad times. We’ll get there.”
Marshall also has some work to do on his chemistry with Manning.
While the two connected on his first target in training camp, there was also a pass over the middle went off Marshall’s finger tips and he appeared to beat himself up over dropping it.
“That’s where Eli was supposed to go with the ball and as a receiver, you got to build that chemistry with your quarterback,” he said. “I was like a foot away from making a big play but I missed it because of that timing. So now, I got it and I won’t make that mistake again.”
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There is still plenty of time for Marshall to work out whatever kinks there may be in the offense and despite whatever concerns there may be between keeping he and Beckham happy, the 33-year-old receiver’s top priority is still to win a championship.
“I’ve had 100 catches several times, I’ve done some amazing things, went to some Pro Bowls,” Marshall said. “The only thing I haven’t checked off is being able to earn those Lombardi Trophies.”
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