Earlier today, I wrote about the impact that Brandon Marshall has had on the Dolphins from a playmaking standpoint, but even when Marshall doesn't touch the ball, he's making positive things happen for Miami's offense.
Because he often draws double teams and extra attention from defenses, Marshall is opening things up for the Dolphins' other passing options, specifically wide receivers Davone Bess and Brian Hartline and tight end Anthony Fasano.
While some teams have been double-covering Marshall this season, Ravens defensive coordinator Greg Mattison said that he doesn't expect to do so throughout Sunday's game. His reasoning for not putting two defenders on Marshall comes squarely because of Bess' ability.
"I don't think you have to double [Marshall], because if you double him, they've got another guy by the name of Bess who is pretty darn good," Mattison said. "I don't think you want to go into the ballgame and say we're going to double him on every play, but I know we do have to be proactive towards their top receivers during passing situations."
Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano said that while Marshall has put up nice numbers through the season's first seven games, his on-field presence itself has been equally as important.
"I think the biggest area he's made the improvement is he's allowed other things to happen for us," Sparano said during a conference call with Baltimore reporters. "In other words, in the past we haven't had a Brandon Marshall much like an Anquan Boldin or one of those type of players where you can go out there and you kind of got to look and say, 'Well, we need to pay attention to this guy.'
"Here now we have double coverage, we've seen roll coverage, we've seen a lot of people paying attention to Brandon. With that in mind Fasano and Bess and Hartline and these people have all kind of reaped the rewards so I think that's the thing he's done the best for us right now is he's opened some things up a little bit for some other people to get involved."
Bess has clearly been the guy who has benefited the most from Marshall's presence in Miami. The third-year wideout out of Hawaii is on his way to a career season, having already posted 39 catches for 401 yards and three touchdowns.
His early-season performance was enough to recently earn the former undrafted free agent a two-year contract extension which makes him the highest-paid slot receiver in the NFL, and apparently it's been enough to draw the attention of the Ravens' coaching staff as well.