The Jets’ return game is alive and well — at least in the preseason.
Jeremy Ross breathed life into MetLife Stadium with his 51-yard kickoff return against the Jaguars on Thursday night. And the only thing that could top it? Jalin Marshall’s 80-yard return in the second quarter.
“Once I crossed the 50, I felt like I could take it the whole way,” Marshall said when asked if he thought he could score on his long kickoff return. “I broke out and the guy had a pretty good angle on me. People say I looked like I got tired, but I tried to set him up and do something. I didn’t score, but I got a good return.”
So good, in fact, that it’s now the longest preseason return by a Jet since Leon Washington went 86 yards in a 2007 preseason game.
“Those guys saw a crease and they took it,” coach Todd Bowles said of Ross and Marshall. “Credit to coach [Brant] Boyer schematically and the things they did. And then credit to Marshall and Ross and the guys blocking them.”
Marshall may be on the small side (5-10, 200), but the undrafted free-agent rookie displayed his versatility in spurts against the Jags.
“I think I made a step towards, hopefully, making this team,” said the receiver, who also had a 10-yard catch. “We’ve got three more games left, and these games, these weeks, you’ve got to make another play, make a play better than last week. So I just keep pushing, keep pushing and keep making plays.”
He’s made a believer out of quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Asked about Marshall’s playmaking ability, Fitzpatrick said: “There was some stuff route-running-wise and just being in the right spot at the right time, he’s just going to continue to get better at. But the kick return that he had, you can tell he’s just a football player.’’