Former New England Patriots defensive edge Cassius Marsh made headlines last week when he admitted that he was actively trying to get himself off the squad midway through the 2017 season. Marsh, who had been acquired by the Patriots via trade just three months before ultimately getting released in early November, was feeling unhappy in the team's “no fun” environment and grew increasingly frustrated about his usage on defense.
Those frustrations led the veteran to throw a tantrum during New England's week 11 game against the Oakland Raiders – and the tantrum would not remain the only thing thrown that day. According to The Athletic's Jeff Howe, Marsh launched a Gatorade jug across the room during a halftime tirade that was started because he felt that the Patriots did not give him enough playing time. Marsh played two snaps that day.
So, does the former Seattle Seahawks fourth-round draft pick have a point? Not exactly, because the Patriots actually used him quite a lot over the course of his first and only half-season in New England. In fact, before playing a combined two defensive snaps after the team's week nine bye, Marsh saw regular playing time as one of the two top-options opposite right-side defensive edge Trey Flowers.
Splitting time with fourth-round rookie Deatrich Wise Jr., Marsh played a combined 269 defensive snaps through the Patriots' first eight games of the 2017 season. His 51.0 playing time percentage ranked third overall among New England's edge defenders behind the aforementioned Flowers (482 snaps; 91.3%) and Wise Jr. (271; 51.3%). Four times, Marsh was top-two at the position in snaps: weeks one, two, five, and seven.
He was basically given every chance to prove his value to the team and make an impact. However, Marsh failed to do that and was unable to adjust to life in New England and playing a different role than the one he had in Seattle: As a defensive end/linebacker hybrid in the mold of recently retired Rob Ninkovich, he was asked to set the edge in the run game, drop back in coverage, and only on occasion go after the quarterback.
The results were not promising and the Patriots opted to move in a different direction during and after the bye week. Dealing with a shoulder injury he suffered before the bye, Marsh was replaced in the lineup and declared inactive against the Denver Broncos in week 10. One week later versus Oakland, he was essentially relegated to emergency option. Two days after that game – and his temper tantrum –, Marsh was let go.
But while his usage saw a drastic dip following New England's bye week, Marsh was a fixture in the team's lineup before that. He just failed to do much with his playing time and registered only one sack, 16 tackles and a blocked field goal attempt on special teams. Overall, it was too little to convince the team to hold onto him. Now, Marsh is a member of the San Francisco 49ers and the Bashing Bill Belichick Club.
If there is one thing Cassius Marsh should be mad at, however, it is his uneven performance while with the Patriots – not his playing time or his usage.