Marshall's hammy stirs suspicious minds

A couple of former players turned analysts are suspicious about Miami Dolphins receiver Brandon Marshall's bad hamstring.

Steve Tasker and Qadry Ismail told Palm Beach Post reporter Brian Biggane that Marshall's injury seemed rather fishy to them. Marshall left the Week 11 game against the Chicago Bears in the second quarter. He has missed the past two games and is questionable for Sunday's rematch with the New York Jets at the Meadowlands.

"When a guy pulls a hamstring at this point of the season, that tells me one thing and that is that he's not in shape," Tasker, a seven-time Pro Bowler and Hall of Fame semifinalist, told Biggane. "I could see it maybe very early in a game if he hadn't warmed up properly. But this happened well into [the Bears game], and he'd already been involved quite a bit. It was really a surprise to me."

This wasn't the first time a respected former player questioned Marshall's conditioning. NFL Network analysts Sterling Sharpe, Solomon Wilcots and Mike Mayock were critical of Marshall's laziness in the waning moments of a Week 3 home loss to the Jets.

Ismail suggested Marshall was quitting on the Dolphins. Ismail, a two-time 1,000-yard receiver who won a Super Bowl with the Baltimore Ravens, made a mental note of Marshall being worked on by trainers before the Bears game.

“It was like, 'I'm glad he's taking care of his body. It puts him in a better position to win,' " Ismail said. "But after that it caught me off guard to see him get hurt. And it's been surprising to me that it's taken him this long to come back from it. When guys do things differently, like he does, they normally come back a lot faster than that.

"I'll be curious to see how motivated he plays [Sunday against the Jets]. In other words, I'm not expecting too much."

Marshall's season has been a serious disappointment. The Dolphins made him the NFL's highest-paid receiver after acquiring him from the Denver Broncos for two second-round draft picks.

He has decent reception numbers but just one touchdown catch. In his past two games he has been flagged for chucking a ball into the stands and for throwing one at former Broncos teammate Jay Cutler on the Bears' sideline.

Marshall claimed he was keeping his lack of production in perspective.

"The great players around the league want to be put in position to help the team," Marshall said Thursday. "But sometimes, like Coach [Tony] Sparano taught me and is trying to teach me still, some days it's a shot glass and some days it's a wheel barrow.

"You got to understand that, and you just got to try to be mentally tough, and it's a struggle when you're used to catching a bunch of balls or being so involved. But we got to do what's best for the team and hopefully get a couple wins here and have some things fall into place for us and get in that postseason."