FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Brandon Marshall isn’t taking any chances.
This time the Jets receiver will be even more prepared for his matchup with grabby cornerback Byron Maxwell. And he’s got the props to prove it.
Holding up his own yellow penalty flag, Marshall joked Thursday that he’s prepared to help out the referees “just in case” Maxwell gets out of hand during Saturday night’s game against the Dolphins.
Just days before the two teams met on Nov. 6, he called out Maxwell for holding on “every single play.” After the Jets lost, 27-23, Marshall did more of the same, telling reporters: “He was exactly who I thought he was.”
By Thursday, Marshall’s tone had softened. Somewhat.
“He’s the same guy,” he said when asked about his rematch with Maxwell, who was flagged twice for pass interference in their previous meeting (one of them was declined). “I thought that the refs did an amazing job the last time we played them. I think they threw three, four, five flags.
“So this Saturday night, I’ll be assisting the refs — I’ll carry my own flag,” Marshall said with a straight face as he held it up for the cameras. “Just in case he decides to conduct himself the same way.”
Marshall didn’t hold back after the Jets fell to the Dolphins last month in South Florida, which began a four-game losing streak. “He’s a holder. He’s a grabber. That’s not how you play football,” he vented after catching only five passes for 46 yards with Maxwell on him.
Marshall said he borrowed the yellow penalty flag from one of the officials at Jets practice (“So I’ll give it back to him probably on Sunday or Monday,” he said with a smile). Told that carrying his own flag likely would be a uniform violation, Marshall joked: “It depends on how Roger [Goodell] wants to play it. But I’m just here to help.”
After their last meeting, the Miami Herald reported that Marshall was extra chatty with Dolphins defensive backs during pregame warmups. Marshall also told reporters that he and Maxwell exchanged words throughout the game.
“ ‘Stop holding,’ pretty much,” Marshall said at the time when asked about their conversation. “He gets paid way too much money to play like that. He needs to believe in himself and he needs to practice.”
On Thursday, however, Marshall paid the cornerback a compliment — albeit a backhanded one.
“Actually, there’s been some progress,” he said of Maxwell’s game. “He went from being the league’s top guy in holding, and it’s not even close, to just being the top guy. He’s just done a better job of taking [the holding] from every play to every other play.”
This time around, Marshall seemed far more subdued about facing the Dolphins and said he’s not looking to talk trash. “I won’t be as hyped,” he said. “ . . . I thought the refs did a great job last time. I thought my point was proven. Guys can get hurt when you hold like that, and it’s not fun. A receiver gets open, and a guy like that holds you. That’s in the past. But I will assist the refs with my flag, just in case.”
Told of Marshall’s comments by Miami writers, Maxwell reportedly laughed and said: “I guess he probably won’t be voting for me for the Pro Bowl.”