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Time for concern in Miami with Marshall?

Reports of hip surgery for WR raise some questions. Matt Bowen

Print This May 20, 2010, 06:38 AM EST

Miami WR Brandon Marshall is out until training camp after hip surgery, and the question we should all have about Tony Sparano’s team, and the offense under QB Chad Henne, is whether there’s concern — real concern for the team’s new investment.

I’m not going to go crazy about a player having a scope, a clean-up or a minor procedure when we talk about the upcoming 2010 season. Those things happen throughout the league, and we read multiple reports about them weekly in the offseason.

Down the road? That’s a different story after we learned that Marshall had his right hip worked on a couple of weeks back after having a previous procedure on his left hip just last offseason. The long-term effects for skill players in this league who consistently go under the knife is upsetting. Just like a car engine, the more you take out — which is essentially what a scope is — the more chances it has to break down.

A tough thing to think about after the Dolphins made the deal with Denver to bring Marshall to south Florida — along with a $50-million contract.  A physical vertical threat who not only can change the way the Dolphins game plan on Sundays but also change the way opposing defenses now attack an offense with a big, young arm in Henne.

However, that is a conversation for another day. After Marshall enjoys his brief spring vacation on the stationary bike, in the training-room pool and on the sidelines during OTAs wearing a baseball hat and shorts, the Dolphins will come back to work in late July ready for the season — and I expect Marshall to be the same dynamic player who can align outside the numbers, win against press coverage and produce big numbers.

A top-five WR in this league — and hip surgery isn’t going to change my mind on that.

Questions will arise about his absence for the rest of spring practices. Does it hurt the development of the offense? Can Marshall build a relationship with Henne from the sidelines? Will he be rusty come August?
No one knows, but after discussing minicamps and OTAs — along with the multiple numbers of no-shows at these sessions throughout the league — I think we’re rushing to judgment if we go that route.

August is when teams are built in the NFL — when the players are in pads. Sure, he could be behind, and he could take an entire week to get up to speed with the way the Dolphins practice under Sparano. But the layoff isn’t going to take away his talent or his ability to separate from a defensive back and go up and get the football.

That’s what Miami paid top dollar for, and that’s why I see them as a team that has enough talent to win the AFC East.

The 2010 season shouldn’t be a concern to his club. After that? Your guess is as a good as mine.

Follow me on Twitter: MattBowen41

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