Brandon Marshall had a down season for the New York Jets, but the six-time Pro Bowl selection is going to absurd lengths to describe his dour season for what was an equally dour team.
Marshall’s 788 receiving yards and three touchdowns were among the lowest totals from his 11 seasons in the NFL spread among five teams. But while his targets were significantly lower than last year and his receiving total almost half from 2015, Marshall still wasn’t terrible. In fact, his 13.4 yards per catch, while slightly below last year, is actually better than his career average of 12.8 yards per catch over those 11 seasons in the league.
In fact, the 13.4 yards per catch is the fourth highest number in his career, underscoring that while Marshall didn’t get the ball much, the soon-to-be 33-year old is still effective when he does make a catch. So in what might be a true measuring stick for how he stacks up, 2015 wasn't actually a bad year for him. After all, it isn't his fault that his quarterbacks were terrible or that his number of targets were down nearly a third this year. But when he did get the ball in his hands, he wasn't bad at all.
It is always unfair to criticize a player, even in this case if it is the player criticizing his own season, based off statistics. The Jets offense was deplorable this past year and Marshall proved a season ago what he's capable of when things click. But the fact that his yards per catch number was still among the best of a storied career points to no true dip in performance.
On Wednesday, Marshall was a guest on ESPN’s ‘First Take’ and was asked about how he ranks himself after a dip in 2016. The Jets finished 5-11 and had three starting quarterbacks, one of whom, Bryce Petty, never threw an NFL pass before this season.
“The NFL stands for ‘What Have You Done for Me Lately?’ Last year was a down year, for several different reasons. I’m not even in the top 30,” Marshall said, earning some supporting cheers from the live audience. “Yea, I had 700-and-somethings yards. It’s not. But this year I promise you’ll be in the top five, at the end of the next year.”
The Jets finished dead-last in the AFC East.
Stephen A. Smith, one of the stars of ‘First Take,’ excused Marshall for not being a top-tier wide receiver because the teams he’s played for throughout his career “primarily can’t find a damn quarterback.”