FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Brandon Marshall tried to pull back, but by then it was too late. The promise already had been made.
Following what he called “the best practice” of the season, the Jets wide receiver assured that fans would see a much better performance by his team Sunday in Pittsburgh.
“Oh, we will have better results. That’s a fact,” Marshall said Wednesday of their matchup with the Steelers (3-1).
So, is that a guarantee?
Well, not technically. But basically.
“(A public relations staffer) just told me, ‘Don’t make a guarantee.’ So I’ve gotta go with him,” Marshall said with a smile, before issuing his assurance once more. “No, but it’s a fact we’re going to play better. We’ve proven already that we can play with playoff teams, but we haven’t proven that we can beat them.”
The Jets (1-3) returned to work with a renewed sense of focus after two ugly losses, so bad that some fans were calling for a quarterback change. But Wednesday, everything appeared fine in Jets land.
“We had a really good practice today, just in terms of tempo, in terms of the spirit of everybody,” said Ryan Fitzpatrick, who leads the NFL with 10 interceptions. “That was a huge positive, one of our best of the year for sure.
“So we just have to continue to carry that throughout the week and then into the game. Based off of today’s practice, we’re having a good week so far.”
Marshall said energy level was the biggest key. “I thought it was the best practice that we’ve had since the start of the season,” he said, making note of the team’s heightened “sense of urgency. It was awesome. It really was. I mean, it wasn’t perfect. But we had fun, guys were flying around, there was energy, there were corrections. It was just a good practice all around.”
Less than an hour earlier, though, coach Todd Bowles downplayed the “sense of urgency” angle, saying: “Every week, we’re in urgency mode, so it’s no different this week.”
In their upcoming road games against the Steelers and Cardinals (1-3), the Jets can’t afford to lose any more ground in the standings. Since 1990, only 12 percent of teams who started 1-3 made the playoffs.
“We know the clock is ticking on our season,” Marshall said, “and we need to get it right.”
He acknowledged that he and other wide receivers have to do their part to help out Fitzpatrick, who became the first quarterback since 1986 (Steve DeBerg) to throw nine interceptions in a two-game span.
“Sometimes your quarterback throws the ball into a team meeting (double and triple coverage). Fitz has done that this year, a couple times,” acknowledged Marshall, who made his first TD catch of the season in last week’s loss to the Seahawks. “But then the other half has been on the wide receiver position. So that’s why those guys get paid the big bucks, because when it’s good, they get all the glory and all the money. And when it’s bad, they get all the trash dumped on him.”
Asked about his quarterback’s temperament this week, Marshall said: “He’s been the usual Fitz. He’s our anchor. He keeps everything steady.”