Why Jets' Brandon Marshall won't demand more targets from Bryce Petty

FLORHAM PARK -- Brandon Marshall is the best receiver on the Jets' roster. No question about it.

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But you just wouldn't know looking at the stat sheet. In his last two games, Marshall has been targeted just 13 times. He has seven receptions.

New Jets quarterback Bryce Petty isn't looking his way. Does Marshall plan on speaking up to demand more targets?

"No," Marshall said Thursday. "I won't do that, and I haven't done that. You really can't do that."

It's hard to teach a young quarterback how to play with a receiver of Marshall's ability. Even when he's covered, he's open. At 6-4 and 230 pounds, and with 10-plus seasons of experience, Marshall has an uncanny ability to come down with 50/50 balls.

But that goes against everything taught to quarterbacks. Which is why, absent a play or two here and there, Marshall isn't getting in Petty's ear.

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"He has so much going through his head. You don't want to disrupt that," Marshall said. "You want to let him develop naturally. ... If you ask for the ball, you're selfish. It can be disruptive.

"When you have a guy who's a top-tier receiver, and I'm not saying I am, sometimes guys focus so much on getting that guy the ball that it disrupts the flow of the offense. It disrupts the integrity of the offense. The best way to approach the situation where you have a lot of playmakers is spreading the ball around."

Petty and Marshall haven't yet developed much chemistry, which contributes to the lack of targets. The two didn't work together in the offseason, and Petty just started getting exclusive first-team reps. In games, Petty will occasionally go the 32-year-old's way, but not unless he's wide open.

Instead, he has been throwing to rookie Robby Anderson, who has 23 targets these last two games.

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Which, in a way, makes sense. The two worked together regularly this summer. Petty was the Jets' third-string quarterback at the time, and Anderson a roster-bubble undrafted rookie. Now in games, Petty is going to what he knows. That's not Marshall or Quincy Enunwa. It's Anderson.

"It definitely helps," Anderson said last week. "We've taken so many reps together. I think we just have a lot of confidence in each other right now."

If the Jets had a veteran quarterback in the mix, like recently benched Ryan Fitzpatrick, Marshall said he wouldn't have an issue speaking up. But right now, he doesn't want to overwhelm Petty.

Petty has enough on his plate to worry about force-feeding Marshall the ball.

"When you have a younger quarterback, you can't do everything," Marshall said. "There's so much going on. ... He has to go out there and identify the [linebacker], check the clock, read the coverage pre-snap, send the guy in motion, identify where the clock's at again, check the snap, snap it.

"Then there's post-snap read: Where are the linebackers? Where are the safeties? Then throw the ball where it's supposed to be. That's a lot on those guys shoulders. It's why they get paid the big bucks. With younger guys, it doesn't click as fast."

Connor Hughes may be reached at chughes@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @Connor_J_Hughes. Find NJ.com Jets on Facebook. 


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