DAVIE — The footballs came spinning out of a machine in the June midday heat of a steamy South Florida afternoon.
Brandon Marshall stood 10 yards from the contraption with a large wastebasket next to him. The Dolphins' practice session in which Marshall hadn't participated due to recent hip surgery was done. He was alone in an end zone of a practice field - save for a team staffer feeding the footballs into the mechanism.
Marshall would position himself to receive the ball coming from his left side, catch it and dump it into the wastebasket. He'd repeat the process from his right side or straight on. Every once in a while, Marshall would catch a ball one-armed in the crook of his elbow. The wastebasket would fill after a couple of dozen footballs had been dropped into it.
Marshall would frequently call for the machine to be adjusted for angle of delivery. He'd catch throws low and high. But the amazing aspect of the exercise was when Marshall would reach out and make a one-handed catch. Left. Right. Didn't matter.
Pt!! The football would hiss through the air.
mp!! Marshall would stab it to a halt.
He almost never missed.
OK, OK, he was in shorts and a sweatshirt. There were no defenders. He didn't have to time a cut. But it was an impressive 15 minutes of surreptitious study of the man who comes to the Dolphins as their Great Bright Hope.