Is Marcus Sales the Missing Ingredient to a Stagnant Syracuse Offense?

The absence of a big play wideout is hurting Ryan Nassib right now.

It’s time to wonder if Syracuse’s offense is hurting without Marcus Sales. In this week’s Fizz 5, we discussed how Ryan Nassib took a step backwards against Rutgers. There was lots of feedback, both positive and negative, on this sentiment and it was all appreciated and mostly valid. In the feedback from readers, there was one name brought up that hasn’t been heard in a while – Sales. The wide receiver was suspended indefinitely by Doug Marrone before the season and he might be a reason for some of the Orange’s offensive struggles.

For those that don’t remember, Sales was expected to break out this year. He, like Nassib, had a monster Pinstripe Bowl and a great spring. Sales was easily the best receiver in the spring game ahead of Alec Lemon and Van Chew and would’ve given SU a great core of targets for Nassib. It’s easy to like Chew and Lemon as a 1-2 punch but easier to love those guys as a 2-3 with Chew being a deep ball specialist and Lemon working out of the slot, which he does very well.

Sales was the best Orange route runner Syracuse had and a legitimate deep threat. He was an ideal #1 receiver. There was a reason he was a 4-star recruit coming out of CBA. There’s also a reason we didn’t see that until last year. Sales had (and still might have) immense talent but there was clearly something missing upstairs: common sense and a drive to be good, let alone great.

SU has had trouble punching the ball into the endzone this year. The Orange has 14 touchdowns to 9 field goal attempts. Most teams in the top 25 (SU’s defacto goal considering it wanted to win the Big East) have at least double the number of touchdowns vs. field goals. Last year Sales (thanks to his enormous Pinstripe Bowl) finished second on the team in touchdowns and second on the team in receiving yards despite only playing in 6 games. In the games he did play in, he had at least 4 catches in all except the South Florida game, where his one 3-yard catch was a touchdown. He racked up yards in chunks and found the end zone.

There’s plenty of good qualities to Lemon, Chew and Jarrod West, but why are the coaches drawing up a slant to Kyle Foster inside the 5-yard line? Is Nassib more comfortable this season? Absolutely. Is the Orange better than last year? Unquestionably. But Sales is what Syracuse lacks – a reliable go-to receiver. Why was Marcus in that car with his brother? That, we’ll never know.

Posted: Craig Hoffman

16 Comments on this Post

  1. Are we “unquestionably” better than we were last year? I think that is tough to say at this point squeaking out victories to Wake, Rhode Island, and Toledo. There seem to be areas which we are getting better at but as a team I was far more comfortable with what we had last season…at this point.

  2. to many extremes on the fizz…..

  3. One game does not a career make. We were really only left with the promise of Pinstripe bowl Sales, and not the previous 3 years of FAIL Marcus Sales.

  4. mdb80 should learn grammar first. That would be too many extremes not to many. Extremes isn’t an issue here. Its more of the possibilities that still remain possible. I like the Fizz and its open opinions

  5. they aren’t open opinions they are random guesses

    how grammer is their


    roger buddy sales made big plays against usf/rutgers and lets not forget he is the best all around.

    if van chew or lemon were better they would’ve stepped up and made a play saturday. they didnt……..

  6. “Its easy to like Chew and Lemon as a 1-2 punch?” Who the heck is Craig Hoffman?

    If ANYONE in Cuse land thinks of Chew and Lemon as anything more than a fish flavoring fruit and a cowboys spittin tabacci, they are STONED!

    Yes, Sales was just ANOTHER in a long line of great players, that ended up off the team under Dougs care. (or lack of care more like it) This debacle of what is suppossed to resemble a middle road college football team, is a Marrone joke.

  7. I don’t think its so much losing Marcus Sales that makes our offense a problem. If you haven’t realized: we really never throw the ball down the field but at most 3-4 times per game anyway. Is that really all just because we don’t have Sales? I fail to acknowledge that he was our “only” “deep threat” receiver on our roster. I thought I heard from somewhere that Brandon Reddish was supposed to be a “deep threat” but he doesn’t even play and even when he does he only plays special teams and maybe a little defense. Our defense has been every bit as good this year as last and that’s saying something considering we had far more experience on last year’s team. But I think we have just as much athleticism and more speed on this year’s team which helps us a lot against some of the teams we will play (WVU & USF to name a couple). The offense has no identity… that’s the problem. We have one running back who really isn’t built to be a feature back, a QB that is the farthest thing from a “dual-threat”, and we have receivers whom I believe aren’t used to the best of their abilities thanks to the suspect play calling by Hackett. They out to throw the ball much more than they currently do, I’d like to see more deep patterns to Van Chew and more out routes to Alec Lemon, and lets pass the ball to Nick Provo (our BEST receiver) at least 6-7 times per game if we can.

  8. Love the discussion guys. Gerry – if you’d like to know more about me…head to our Meet The Fizz page. Since you want to know who I am and all. Like the “Lemon Chew” joke too…that was moderately funny. I like funny.

    Don’t get “SU misses Marcus Sales” twisted with “Marcus Sales is the end all be all solution for Syracuse’s offense”. Not having him is a problem. It’s not the only problem, or even the biggest problem (O-Line). This isn’t an extremist’s take, it’s simply pointing out something no one is talking about. The Orange lost its best receiver! He was good in way more than one game and would have been the #1 guy this year. He was by no means the only deep threat (Chew is just as good or better and although he’s never sent long, Alec isn’t exactly slow) but was the purest and most complete receiver. And now he’s gone.

  9. Carlton

    Look on the bright side midnight madness is a week an some change away! Bball season is on its way!

  10. Hoffman… I agree on how Vital Marcus Sales was for the team.. I agree he was our ONLY threat on the team.. I agree he played like an All American.

    There’s a haunting take on this though.. why wasnt Sales an All Amrican reciever ALL SEASON LONG LAST YEAR? Marrone is NOT a good coach guys. He doesnt see that many players dont practice great, but in game time, at insanely good.

    Visa versa with other players.. MArrone doesnt see that either. Marrone said all pre-season that Lemon, Chew and Bailey were REALLY EMERGING and will be awesome. Well, thats in practice. Because in games, they look inept, confused, no confidence, they drop balls, dont make plays, and BAiley fumbles when he has to leave the area of the filed he is meant to run, and thats OUTSIDE.

    Marrone had a horrid first year with coaching decisions, including losing some awesome GRob recruits. Last year any coach wouldve won games with those seniors of GRobs, who were insane talents. Then we lose Sales and Miller, and go right into the worst performances I’ve seen EVER in football.

    Marrone needs to go for a handful of reasons, but the one NO ONE AN ARGUE, is he is the worst recruiter we’ve had here since Maloney. And it’s the players that win games and sell tickets.

  11. Sales isnt the missing link. A true feature back is. Bailey has put his time in but to me is clearly nothing more then a skat back/3rd down back that they are trying to use as a workhouse

  12. Gerry –

    You and frequent Fizzster Terry need to hang out some. Marrone knows what he’s doing. It’s not the usual method, but he by no means needs to go. In fact, he’s the best thing going for the football program. No doubt.

    In two years he took a dumpster fire to a bowl game and is already halfway back before fully getting into conference play. Are you sure you aren’t Groobers himself?


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