Brandon Marshall can draw on his past to help his New York Giants through this tough 0-4 start. After all, life hasn’t been easy for Marshall and this season, his first in Giants’ blue, also has not gone according to plans.
Born in Pittsburgh but later living in Georgia and Florida, Marshall’s formative years were far from idyllic. He lived a tough life in a family situation with plenty of struggles where money issues were a source of concern on most days. His is the story is not unlike so many NFL players whose early life was peppered with poverty and dire family situations.
So when asked about the Giants early season struggles, ranging from their winless record through the season’s first four games or the offense’s struggles to move the ball consistently, let alone put points on the scoreboard, Marshall offered a different perspective.
He doesn’t panic. He doesn’t over-reach. Instead, he can draw upon the lean times he has experienced to gain insight, noting that “I’ve been through so much more in my own life.”
“There’s been times where we’ve used the oven to try to heat up the house. I remember taking showers with my older brother in the eighth grade because we didn’t have hot water and we just wanted to get in as quickly as possible and we pumped each other up to take showers after basketball practice and football practice when it’s 50 degrees outside,” Marshall said on Tuesday.
“Football makes you tough, football helps build your character. You come in a boy and you leave a man. So, being 0-4, it stinks, but there are worse things in life. And half the guys in this room have been through [what I have]. This is our job, we’re paid to do a job and we’ve got to get it done. We just need to find a win. We find a win, the environment will be so much better.”
It has been a difficult year for Marshall, his first with the Giants. He joined this team with the hopes of making a playoff run, the 33-year old wide receiver was hoping to add a Super Bowl ring to a list of accomplishments that might land him in the Pro Football Hall of Fame someday.
But the Giants are struggling and Marshall has just 16 catches — not necessarily a bad number but still below his usual production. That he is averaging just 8.7 yards a catch is sobering, a number that would easily be the lowest of a career that includes six Pro Bowl selections.
He’s had some drops, a part of the problem when explaining his lower than anticipated production this year. But the Giants have failed to establish the ground game and have struggled to protect quarterback Eli Manning. It is hard for Marshall to be a playmaker, a reliable target down the field when the ball just isn’t getting there.
There’s more at work here than a couple of bad drops as the issues for this offense go way beyond Marshall. But Marshall will accept responsibility and try to control what he can as the Giants look to rebound in Week 5.
“You know what, I haven’t played the way I’ve wanted to play. I hold myself to a high standard. The guys around here hold me to a high standard,” Marshall said. “There are high expectations on all of us and looking at myself in the mirror, I want to pick up my play and I’ll do that, but I’m not going to waste too much time thinking about the past. If I do that, then the future is going to be really ugly.”