How 'real quiet' Brandon Marshall fits in with Giants' wide receivers

Giants coach Ben McAdoo has called Brandon Marshall a "breath of fresh air" for the way he goes about his business. Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The laughs coming from the New York Giants' wide receivers room often can be heard from down the hallway at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center. That's the result of an overflow of personalities at the position.

There's the energetic Odell Beckham Jr., known as the lead jokester, who has the strongest personality. He's followed by Sterling Shepard, who is always smiling and singing. Tavarres King contributes with charisma and zingers, Roger Lewis will join in any conversation, and Dwayne Harris is the old sage who commands respect and dishes out the fines. They all do more than their share of dancing, on the field and during the locker room dance parties.

Brandon Marshall is the new guy in the mix, a rare combination of professionalism and personality without the flair or dancing. He should be used to changing teams by now: The Giants are his fifth in 12 professional seasons. That means getting acclimated to new surroundings and becoming comfortable with a different set of teammates while learning an unfamiliar scheme and system. It's his biggest task this summer.

So far, Marshall is blending in quietly. He has been the older student soaking in all the jokes and noise. The six-time Pro Bowl receiver has taken a backseat in more ways than one. He sits next to his position coach, Adam Henry, in the back of the wide receivers room and, more often than not, allows the bigger personalities to carry the conversation.

"Brandon is real quiet. He's learning, so he's quiet," Harris said. "He's soaking in all this information because there is so much stuff."

Harris, in his third season with the Giants and seventh in the NFL, is the ringleader of the group. He dishes out the fines with more regularity than any other member. Shepard said that Harris seems to pick on Marshall and Beckham a little more than the others, although Harris believes he's harder on the rookies. And it's hard to fight back. Harris has been known to be quick with the double-fine. This all takes some getting used to, no matter how long a player has been around.

Marshall, 33, has slowly become familiar with the Giants wide receivers' ways in recent weeks. He's started to open up to some degree, although he's still nowhere near the dominant voice in the room.

"Brandon is just accepting that and he's starting to get people on the fine board, too," Shepard said. "He's starting to get up to Dwayne's level. You better not do anything wrong, Brandon or Dwayne will get you. He's getting more comfortable."

It has been showing on the field as well. Marshall had some of his most productive practices this week as the Giants prepare for the preseason opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Friday night at MetLife Stadium. He noted on social media that increased confidence played a significant part.

What has impressed quarterback Eli Manning most is a player who is constantly trying to improve.

"Brandon's been great. Every day trying to learn, always has questions for me and we're trying to figure out what he can do better, how we can get on the same page," Manning said. "So I think he's been dialed in and been a great leader and just setting the example for how to be prepared for every practice."

How Marshall fits in with the Giants has been a question since he signed as a free agent in March. This is the first time since early in his career that he's not the clear No. 1 receiver. His targets and role are sure to decrease. Beckham remains the Giants' star.

Marshall's had his problems in the past (see: Sheldon Richardson and the Jets) and admitted in the spring that some of it was self-inflicted, especially early in his career. He claims to have grown and learned from the past, and since joining the Giants has consistently taken the high road in the one-sided feud with Richardson.

His early reviews -- notably with the Giants still undefeated -- have been positive.

"For me, he's been cool," cornerback Janoris Jenkins said. "He's funny, a nice guy, respectable, and I think he's just enjoying his time here."

Marshall's communication skills sold coach Ben McAdoo on the receiver's ability to be an asset to the team and locker room. McAdoo is big on adding what he calls "talented men of integrity."

Marshall apparently fit that description, and his role with the Giants is expected to include helping some of the younger wide receivers fine-tune their games. Veterans are expected to lead by example. King described Marshall as "super-vet" while Beckham is a "young-vet, baby-vet."

Marshall's ability to teach is something the Giants noticed from the start. He takes his job seriously. He has helped the young receivers refine their technique by giving tips about getting off the line of scrimmage and running certain routes.

"Great teacher, honestly," Shepard said. "He's been in the game a long time."

McAdoo called Marshall a "breath of fresh air" in the spring because of the way he went about his business, which included FaceTiming with Manning during their summer break and keeping in constant contact with Beckham throughout the offseason.

Marshall's been with the Giants for only five months. He hasn't even played a game in his latest uniform. His assimilation into the Giants' wide receivers room and the offense remains a work in progress.