FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - Wonder who the NFL's best running back is? Look no further than the Jets' locker room, Brandon Marshall said.
On Wednesday, the star receiver was asked to project just how good Chris Ivory can be. After pausing to think for several seconds, Marshall gave a decisive answer.
"Well, he's already the best running back in the league right now,'' he said of Ivory, who is averaging 5 yards a carry and has an AFC-leading 314 rushing yards and three touchdowns in four games.
"Just watch the tape,'' Marshall said. "Speed. Quickness. Agility. Vision. Endurance. He has it all.''
After gaining a career-high 166 yards on 29 carries in a win over the Dolphins on Oct. 4 in London, Ivory was named FedEx Ground Player of the Week. He also was nominated for the award after his Week 1 performance against the Browns: 91 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries.
He's a "monster,'' Marshall said. "He runs really violently. He has great feet, great vision. He's humble, and he doesn't even know how good he can be. And that's the scary part.''
Marshall admitted a few weeks ago that he didn't know much about Ivory before being traded from the Bears in March. But he's now a big believer.
Marshall said when he joined the Jets, Ivory told him his goal was to rush for 1,000 yards, which he never did in three seasons in New Orleans, where he was buried on the depth chart.
But Marshall wouldn't let Ivory sell himself short.
"I said, 'What? No, the goal's going to be 1,500 or better,' '' Marshall said, smiling. "I said, 'Man do you really know how good you can be?' And he was like, 'I really don't.' And I love that humility. The sky's the limit for him.''
Ivory ran for 833 and 821 yards in 2013 and 2014, respectively. But this is a new season, Marshall said. "This is his year,'' he said of Ivory, whom the Jets obtained from the Saints in April 2013 in exchange for a fourth-round pick.
"The past is the past. This is his year. It's just timing with a lot of things. The O-line is playing off the charts right now and they're playing together, wide receivers are making plays.''
The Jets (3-1) will face a 2-3 Redskins team Sunday that prides itself on stopping the run, tackle Breno Giacomini said.
"We have to do a great job on first and second down and keep it third-and-short, and we'll see how it goes,'' Giacomini said. "But we definitely have a lot of respect for this defense.''
The Redskins "probably have the best front we've seen all year,'' Marshall said. "That front seven, they're monster up there.''
Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick agreed.
"Up front, just the beef that they have up there,'' he said. "They make it tough to run the ball and do a good job of putting guys in the right place in the pass game as well.''
That may be true. But Marshall believes the Jets have the edge with Ivory powering their offense.
"If they want to put eight men in the box, we're going to try to take advantage of our matchups outside,'' he said. "They'll roll coverage and go to a six- and seven-men box and [Ivory's] going to do his thing in there.''