FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Former New England Patriots defensive end Cassius Marsh didn't enjoy his two-and-a-half month stint with the organization last season, telling the San Francisco Chronicle he didn't have fun and questioned for the first time if he wanted to keep playing football.
Marsh's remarks generated some passionate reaction among New England fans and also had one Patriots player -- sixth-year veteran linebacker Marquis Flowers -- chiming in.
Interesting! Marsh My dawg I'm not gonna knock him! I felt that same way about my time in Cincinnati! But I will tell you on my end I'm having a BLAST! Most fun I've had and I love it here 🤷🏾♂️ https://t.co/80igVUOA4m— Marquis Flowers (@MFlowers59) May 28, 2018
Flowers' reaction highlights a point that ESPN analyst Louis Riddick, who had played under Bill Belichick with the Cleveland Browns, made after Marsh's remarks.
Bill Belichick is not for everyone. I have lived it. BUT, if winning means everything to you, there is nobody in professional football better equipped to help you achieve that goal. End of story.— Louis Riddick (@LRiddickESPN) May 28, 2018
This, more than anything, is what stands out to me in the fallout from Marsh's remarks. Belichick himself has said it before: The Patriots' program isn't for everyone, and a big part of the team's scouting process is identifying the right players to fit their culture.
They thought Marsh was a fit.
That they were so far off the mark -- and cut him last November less than three months after trading fifth- and seventh-round picks for him -- is the most notable part of this story to me. From an organizational standpoint, that's a bad misstep, and one that warrants internal evaluation as to the factors that led to it so a similar error could be avoided in the future.
The knee-jerk reaction might be to knock Marsh, but if that was his view of his experience in New England, it's more refreshing to hear him speak honestly than in cliches. That doesn't mean other players view it the same way, as Flowers himself pointed out, or as linebacker Shea McClellin did as well.
On the other hand, receiver Reggie Wayne, who had a brief training-camp stint with the club in 2015, probably falls into a category closer to Marsh's view. Meanwhile, first-round picks Laurence Maroney (2006) and Dominique Easley (2014) had all the talent when they arrived, but, from my view, their inability to ultimately live up to their draft status was tied primarily to their struggle to adapt to the hard-grinding culture.
Marsh's remarks simply reinforce how badly the Patriots miscalculated his fit in their program.
Scouting is an imperfect science, and no team gets it right all the time. The end result is that Marsh is now in a better place with the 49ers, and the Patriots have been better off by decisively acknowledging their poor evaluation and moving on.