New York Jets' Brandon Marshall still mercurial on and off the field

By Jerry Beach, The Sports Xchange
New York Jets' Brandon Marshall (15) dives into the end zone for the touchdown under pressure from Indianapolis Colts' Mike Adams (29) during the second half of play at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana, September 21, 2015. Photo by John Sommers II/UPI
New York Jets' Brandon Marshall (15) dives into the end zone for the touchdown under pressure from Indianapolis Colts' Mike Adams (29) during the second half of play at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana, September 21, 2015. Photo by John Sommers II/UPI | License Photo

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- It has taken the Jets just seven weeks to get the whole Brandon Marshall experience: All-Pro level play sprinkled in with some rookie mistakes on the field and a whole lot of attention-garnering acts off it.

Marshall is on pace for 104 catches - the team record is 93 receptions, set by Al Toon in 1988 - and for 1,541 receiving yards, which would shatter the previous Jets high of 1,434, set by Hall of Famer Don Maynard in 1967.


But his mistakes have arguably kept the Jets from being 6-0. In the 24-17 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on Sept. 24, Marshall committed what he called "the worst play in NFL history" when his lateral was recovered by the Eagles, who went on to score a touchdown.

Last Sunday, Marshall dropped a sure touchdown pass in the fourth quarter of a 30-23 loss to the New England Patriots.


Marshall kept generating headlines Tuesday, when, in his weekly spot on Showtime's "Inside The NFL," he admitted arguing with rookie wide receiver Devin Smith following the last play of the game Sunday - a penalty on Marshall for a false start that ended the Jets' chances of tying or winning the game on a Hail Mary.

"It's high emotions," Marshall said Wednesday. "It's like, you lose a game like that, there's a lot of emotion. So sometimes you just need time to cool off. But that happens every Sunday on every sideline."

There's no doubt about that - and no doubt there's no other NFL player airing dirty laundry two days after the fact on a TV show. Marshall began starring on "Inside the NFL" last season, which he spent with the Chicago Bears. That Marshall spent his off-day traveling back and forth to New York reportedly didn't sit well with many within the Bears organization, and the new regime of head coach John Fox and general manager Ryan Pace traded him to the Jets for a fifth-round draft pick on March 6.

Ironically, Marshall's comments about his argument with Smith came during a segment in which he criticized controversial Dallas Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy for yelling at coaches and teammates after the Cowboys gave up the decisive touchdown - a 100-yard kickoff return by New York Giants wide receiver Dwayne Harris - in the fourth quarter of a 27-20 loss on Sunday.


Hardy missed the final 15 games of last season and was suspended the first four games of this season following a domestic violence incident with his ex-girlfriend Nicole Holder. Hardy was convicted in a bench trial in North Carolina but faced no state charges because Holder would not testify against him.

"When I look at Greg and how he's handled himself, on the field and in the locker room, I see a guy that is not aware," Marshall said. "He doesn't understand the magnitude of what happened last year, what he did and the atmosphere surrounding the NFL. I don't think that he gets it. I don't think that he learned his lesson."

Marshall himself has been a part of eight domestic violence incidents since he was drafted by the Denver Broncos in 2006 and was suspended one game by the NFL in 2009, though he has never been convicted of any charges.

It was suggested to Marshall Wednesday that speaking out on Hardy might turn the spotlight back on him.

"I think I'm the perfect person to talk about issues like that, because I've been through it and now I'm on the other side," Marshall said. "So I get it, I understand it. I don't care what other people say. I know who I am. I'm proud of the person I am today."


--The Jets began preparing themselves for a rare occurrence Wednesday, when offensive lineman Wesley Johnson was promoted from the practice squad and split reps at center with Dakota Dozier.

The Jets' starting center for the past 10 seasons, Nick Mangold, didn't practice Wednesday after suffering a scary neck injury in the final minute of Sunday's 30-23 loss to the New England Patriots. Mangold is listed as questionable and head coach Todd Bowles said he could play without practicing this week.

Mangold has missed just three games since the Jets selected him in the first round of the 2006 draft. In his own uniquely direct way, Bowles acknowledged there'd be a step down from Mangold to a combination of Dozier/Johnson.

"Obviously, they're not Mangold or they'd be in front of him," Bowles said. "I'm confident these guys can go in and do their job and play."

One Jet who won't play Sunday is wide receiver Chris Owusu, who suffered at least the fifth known concussion of his career - and his second of the season - against the Patriots. Bowles said Owusu didn't begin showing symptoms until the team returned to New Jersey.


Owusu suffered at least three concussions while playing at Stanford.

"Anybody that has had that many, you have to have some concern for," Bowles said. "We'll just monitor it and see how it goes. But that's very concerning."

--Add Temple University football to the small list of things that generate a smile from Bowles.

The Jets' first-year head coach has taken a decidedly all-business approach to the job, but he offered a glimpse into his personality Wednesday by raving about his undefeated alma mater, which hosts Notre Dame in a nationally televised game Saturday night.

"I'm happy - I'm ecstatic for the university and I'm ecstatic for the team and for the coaches that coach them," said Bowles, who was a four-year starter at Temple from 1982-85 and was inducted into the school's Hall of Fame in 2001. "I couldn't be happier."

Temple, which was once so bad at football it got kicked out of the Big East, is 7-0 for the first time in school history and ranked 21st in this week's AP poll. Prior to this season, the Owls hadn't been ranked since 1978.

"If you ask the coaches, I've probably been talking mess since last summer," Bowles said. "I've been talking mess for years and this is just the first time it's paying off. I'm actually enjoying it."


Will he still be enjoying it Saturday night?

"Owls by six," Bowles said.

--Punter Steve Weatherford was released Wednesday. Weatherford was signed Saturday, when the Jets realized P Ryan Quigley couldn't play the next day against the New England Patriots due to a bruised shin that he suffered Friday. Head coach Todd Bowles acknowledged the Jets signed Weatherford, who had been in semi-retirement since being cut by the Giants on Sept. 4, because he still lives in New Jersey and could join the team immediately. Weatherford looked rusty Sunday, when he averaged 40.3 yards on four punts. His release is an indication the Jets expect Quigley to play Sunday against the Oakland Raiders.

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