Leaving A Lasting Impression

Posted May 1, 2012

Richard Marshall spent less than eight months as a member of the Arizona Cardinals, but that was plenty enough time to leave an impression on their head coach.

Marshall signed with the Dolphins as an unrestricted free agent on March 14 after completing his first season with the Cardinals. After spending the first five seasons of his career with Carolina, Marshall had joined Arizona last summer after the end of the lockout.

“Very good season,” Arizona Cardinals Head Coach Ken Whisenhunt said when asked to assess Marshall’s performance in 2011. “He came in on short notice and did a lot of things for us. He played well. Physical. A very good player. We were disappointed to lose him and I know that he’ll do a good job for Miami. But I have a tremendous amount of respect for that young man and what he did for us.”

Marshall started at left cornerback for Arizona in the last nine games of the season after first coming off the bench. He finished with three interceptions and two sacks among his 62 tackles.

He also filled in safety when the Cardinals were dealing with injury issues at the position.

“He did a number of different things for us, whether it was corner or nickel or even some looks at safety,” Whisenhunt said. “Everybody’s defensive scheme is different, but he’s very versatile and I think he has a good feel for the game and can play a bunch of different spots for you.”

During his time in Carolina, Marshall started 46 of 80 games, all at left cornerback. He started all 16 games in both 2009 and 2010.

Marshall has recorded at least three interceptions in five of his six NFL seasons, with a high of four in 2009 with Carolina. He has two interception returns for touchdowns in his career — a 30-yarder against Cleveland in 2006 and a 73-yarder against San Francisco the next year.

“I would say his competitiveness is his biggest strength,” Whisenhunt said. “Whatever situation you put him in, he worked very hard. He studies the game to know what he has to do. And he’s not afraid — guys at that position generally aren’t — to do whatever he needs to do. But competitiveness and versatility are two great qualities for him.”

Marshall entered the NFL as a second-round pick of the Panthers in 2006. He was the 58th overall selection that year, one spot after the Chicago Bears took kick returner extraordinaire Devin Hester.

Marshall came out of Fresno State, where one of his teammates was current Dolphins safety Tyrone Culver.

The addition of Marshall gives the Dolphins impressive depth at cornerback, as he joins 2011 starters Vontae Davis and Sean Smith, along with recent draft picks Nolan Carroll and Jimmy Wilson.

Whisenhunt declined to speculate when he was asked how he expected Marshall to be used by the Dolphins. But he didn’t hesitate to say the Dolphins landed a quality free agent with that signing.

“All I can do is tell you what he did for us,” Whisenhunt said, “and he was an outstanding football player, one that we wanted back.”