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Marshall Looks Like He's Found A Home In Miami

Posted Mar 19, 2012

Six years after bringing some deserved credibility to his college alma mater by being taken in the second round of the NFL Draft, Richard Marshall is taking his impressive array of skills to South Florida.

The 27-year-old California native who signed as a free agent with the Miami Dolphins last week is looking to bolster Miami’s secondary. At 5-foot-11 and 198 pounds, Marshall has been an impact player at cornerback and safety, averaging 83.5 tackles and just under three interceptions per year.

Marshall’s first five seasons were spent with the team that drafted him out of Fresno State, the Carolina Panthers, but he transitioned well to free safety last year for the Arizona Cardinals. In 16 games, Marshall racked up 78 tackles (69 solo), three interceptions and 11 passes defensed.

“I’m most comfortable with doing either or,” a humble Marshall said. “Last year was my first year really getting back there and playing safety. I got comfortable with it after a while. I’m happy and ready to come in just to contribute any way I can.”

Back in 2007, Marshall’s second season, he put up the best numbers of his career for the Panthers. Not only did he register 89 tackles (79 solo), but he also intercepted three passes and returned one for a touchdown, recovered two fumbles and added one quarterback sack. He soon followed that up with four interceptions in 2009, three more in 2010 and back-to-back seasons of 88 tackles in 2009-10.

Marshall has intercepted three or more passes in five of his six seasons and is well rounded as a defensive back with solid tackling skills and an obvious nose for the ball. He is open to playing anywhere in the secondary Dolphins Head Coach Joe Philbin and defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle want him to play and is aware of the added sense of responsible that comes with the safety position.

“I feel like I’m big enough to play any position,” said Marshall, who has seven sacks and 55 passes defenses to his credit. “I’m an aggressive guy. I come up and tackle so I’ve never had a problem with that. Safeties, they have a lot to cover as well with my corner background. I don’t have a problem going back there and playing safety if that’s something they want me to do.”

There is still time before the first set of OTAs and mini-camps take place, and in addition to learning Coyle’s defense and getting acclimated to South Florida, Marshall is eager to figure out what his jersey number will be. He has worn the number 31 throughout his career, but that number currently belongs to fullback Charles Clay.

The Dolphins also return a defensive unit that finished the 2011 season strong, especially against the run. Fourth-year cornerbacks Vontae Davis and Sean Smith are the incumbent starters on either side and there was a three-man rotation at free safety opposite strong safety Yeremiah Bell among Reshad Jones, Chris Clemons and Marshall’s former college teammate at Fresno State, Tyrone Culver.

“I don’t know what they’re plans are,” Marshall said. “Like I said, we’ll figure that out once training camp and OTAs begin, but I’m going to go in there and play my game and let everything else take care of itself.”
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