New York Jets: Brandon Marshall – Changing Perceptions


To quote the great Hall of Famer Steve Young, “In the NFL…perception is reality!”

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When one thinks about the top wide receiving units in the NFL, teams like the Green Bay Packers, Atlanta Falcons, and Denver Broncos come to mind.  Over the past few years, no one would put the Jets and “great receivers” in the same sentence.  In one off-season, that entire perception has changed.  With the acquisition of Brandon Marshall, the New York Jets wide receiving corps went from a weakness, to a strength…in a New York minute.

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Marshall is truly a difference maker for both the receiving unit, and the entire team.

As an individual playmaker on the field, the specific skills that he brings are his size, strength, and ability to be “open….even when he’s covered”.  He gives Geno Smith a steady reliable target that he can always rely on when adversity, in the form of a heavy pass rush, is bearing down on him.  Basically, Marshall is a 6’5” security blanket.

His impact, however, is far more wide reaching and impactful on winning than simply making Geno look like Linus in the Great Pumpkin patch.

To use a basketball analogy, Marshall puts the other receivers in their proper position.  They can now be comfortable, confident, and productive by simply doing what they are accustomed to doing.

Eric Decker is no longer the big time free agent acquisition expected to be the number one receiver.  Now, he can settle into his role as the #2 receiver.  This will not be a problem for Decker.  He thrived in this role in Denver.  Should he have a bad game or two in a row, he’ll face scrutiny… but it will not be as much as he would have faced if he was the Jets #1 receiver.  Furthermore, his days of facing the #1 cornerback are now over.

Jeremy Kerley will not be the first person who Geno Smith and the offense relies upon to make plays down the field, should Decker struggle to get open, as was the case last season.  Now, Kerley will return to his ideal role of slot receiver, third receiver, and be asked make plays on 3rd down against single coverage from the third corner on the opposing defense.  With his decreased workload, Kerley may also be called upon to make plays in the kick return game which is another area that he is comfortable with.

Rookie WR Devin Smith will now be able to ease his way into the offense, without much in the way of expectations, as a second round receiver should.  We all remember Stephen Hill, the last receiver the Jets took in the 2nd round.  During his rookie season, he was expected to make an impact right away as the #2 receiver on the team.  All Jets fans know how that turned out.

After two seasons he was released by the team.  He’s now trying to salvage his career with Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers.

In addition to impacting the receiving corps, Marshall also brings toughness and an attitude to the entire franchise.

Nov 27, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Chicago Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall (15) against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Marshall is not afraid to be a leader on the field, in the locker room, and in the public eye as an advocate for mental health awareness.  The platform that he now has, playing for the Jets in a city like NY, should not be discounted in terms of the effect it can have on the franchise and how it is viewed.

This is especially true if the Jets are winning.

His off the field contributions in the community will not replace winning.  Nevertheless, if they are winning, it will certainly enhance the winning vibes in the eyes of the community.

The only thing left for Marshall to do now is produce.  He has shown throughout his career that he is very capable.  Brandon Marshall’s production should be the least of concerns for Jets fans.  Still and all, Jets Nation should be fired up, chomping at the bit…in a fever pitch waiting for the season to start.

Just by his presence, Marshall has already made a significant impact on the perception of the team.

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