New York Jets: Wide receivers and shark fishing


May 27, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall (15) catches a pass during organized team activities at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

This past week has been a lot of fun for me outside of writing for the New York Jets. Every year about this time, I set off to Rehoboth Beach Delaware with some old friends of mine for a shark fishing trip. I no longer live in NYC, and these friends of mine are long time displaced Jet fans like myself. It’s a fun filled adventure every season and inevitably our conversations turn to all things Jets.

This season was no different, though I must admit, the atmosphere surrounding our Jet conversations were much more up beat then in years past. As a matter of fact, our deck hand even joined in the banter, and he’s a devoted Baltimore Ravens fan! It became apparent early in our conversation, even the most skeptical Jet fan among us (me), had a brighter view of this team than in recent years.

We took an all night shark trip this season due to the unusually hot weather, so by 7 pm, we were packed and aboard ship for our cruise off shore. The sunset provided a spectacular backdrop as we settled into our cabin seats and began the night’s hot topics concerning the Jets.

I’d be amiss if I didn’t tell you that our foursome is a group of older Jet fans. Harry and myself have been fans since the Titans of our youth, and John and Pat came along shortly after, as the newly named team settled into Shea Stadium. This group is a savvy old bunch, we’re long term fans who rarely agree on much, our debates can go long into the night. Our opinions are as varied as they get.

As the sun dropped below the horizon, our group talked about the Jets’ newly formed defensive secondary, the running back position and spent quite a bit of time on the safety position as well. The consensus among the group soon became that as fans, we would have to watch another year of Geno Smith as our starting quarterback, but our group was split on the success he may or may not have.  As we cruised to our “buoy”, far off shore, things couldn’t have been more jovial, the night was young and the topic was Jets football!

Then it happened, Harry brought up Brandon Marshall and the Jets’ wide receiver corps. While I initially thought this would be another quick topic, one in which everyone put the “rubber stamp” of approval to the new group, things began to heat up. Little did I know that this conversation was going to be the one that we’d debate for hours as we fished in the calm dark Atlantic Ocean.

Next: Brandon Marshall

May 27, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall (15) makes a one handed catch during organized team activities at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Brandon Marshall

As the lines were set and the deck hand began to put out a chum slick, the first player to be mentioned was wide receiver Brandon Marshall. Acquired by the Jets in the off season from the Chicago Bears, the seasoned and well traveled veteran is expected to be a big time contributor on offense for the Jets this season. Much was debated on Marshall, including the #1 or #2 receiver designation. Here’s a short take on Marshall from our group.

Harry: “Marshall is the most exciting receiver the Jets have had on their roster in years. He’s big, he’s physical, and will undoubtedly become Smith’s #1 receiver in 2015.” Harry even has gone out and stated that he believes with proper quarterback play, Marshall has the potential to be a top 5 wide receiver in the NFL this season.

Pat: “Marshall has seen better days. He is definitely an upgrade over anything we had last year, but at 31 and coming off the worst season of his career, fans need to reign back expectations.” Pat sees Marshall as a #2 receiver and may need to share time to keep him healthy throughout the regular season.

John: “Pat is way off once again, but I’m with him having concerns about Marshall. Besides his age and recent injuries, I worry about him if things go south for Smith. The Jets don’t need any locker room distractions, and Marshall has been known to create some of those as he bounced around.” John sees Marshall as a #1 option for Smith, but his expectations aren’t nearly as high as Harry’s.

Myself: “I love the deal. If Marshall proves to be healthy and can return to his old form, I think Harry is right in saying that he’ll be the most exciting Jet wide receiver we’ve seen in years. I get the concerns about Marshall, but the deal was just too good to be turned down. I’ve never been a fan of #1 or #2 designations (a cop out I am told), but I think in a spread offense with a legitimate deep threat, Marshall can have a huge year for the Jets offense.”

Next: Eric Decker

Sep 7, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets receiver Eric Decker (87) is tackled by Oakland Raiders cornerback Tarell Brown (23) and safety Tyvon Branch (33) at MetLife Stadium. The Jets defeated the Raiders 19-14. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Eric Decker

Our first action of the night came around 11pm when a small hammerhead shark took John’s bait and the conversation turned to wide receiver Eric Decker. John fought the shark a short time before releasing it, and the Decker conversation was allowed to begin in earnest.

Harry: “The Jets asked Decker to be their #1 receiver last year and he’s clearly not #1 caliber in the NFL. He had a good season all considering. A lot of guys I talk with were disappointed in Decker last season, but that’s just unfair. The guy had no support, he drew more then his share of the coverage and Smith was dismal. His role is different this year, he has a supporting cast and he’ll be the #2 guy behind Marshall. I’m putting my money on Decker having a huge campaign if Smith can become competent.”

John: “Decker is a proven talent, nobody is going to argue about that” All the bantering about Peyton Manning “making him” is a bunch of nonsense. If Decker proved anything last season, he proved that! Without a high caliber quarterback, he posted 5 touchdowns and close to a 1,ooo yards receiving. If the young kid (Devin Smith) can learn to run routes and spread the field vertically, Decker will top those marks easily. I think he leads the Jets in receptions this year.”

Pat: “Decker is like that fish John just released, he’s a small fry in this year’s offense. Yeah, he’ll put up some numbers and contribute with clutch catches, but the Jets have a bunch of receivers with much the same skill sets on this team.  The Jets need to take things down field for guys like Decker to have a bunch of success and I’m not buying the rookie is going to be that guy this year. I know you guys think this is going to be a high powered offense, but I’m not so certain. Much like last year, the short to intermediate routes are going to be awfully crowded.”

Myself: “I love what Decker does on the football field. He plays smart football, he knows his assignments and uses his body well to gain separation. I have to believe that if he gets adequate play from Geno Smith this season, he’ll have a much better year with legitimate targets surrounding him. I think he could put up some fantastic numbers this year if the deep ball develops into a threat for opposing defenses. I’m expecting another good season from Decker.”

Next: Jeremy Kerley

Oct 20, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Jeremy Kerley (11) runs with the ball while being pursued by New England Patriots cornerback Kyle Arrington (25) during the first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Jeremy Kerley

A short bite on the outside line sent everybody scurrying across the deck, but the shark didn’t fully take the bait and the wait went on as we settled in to discuss wide receiver Jeremy Kerley.

Harry: “I just don’t get the love affair with Kerley, he’s adequate I guess, but he surely isn’t what some of you guys think he is. Look, Kerley is good at what he does, he just doesn’t do a lot. Sure, I know, look at all the first downs he posts, I’ve heard it all before. I’m just saying I’m expecting him to be challenged this summer. Guys talking Kerley up like he’s a lock to start again this year. I’ll tell you this, if he does start, he’s going to be sharing a bunch of time with these younger guys the Jets have coming up. Kerley is alright, but I think he plays a much smaller role in Gailey’s offense.”

Pat: “Harry thinks Marshall is going to catch every ball Smith throws this season! If it were up to him, Geno would only have one read! Kerley is the biggest part of the puzzle the way I’m thinking. Gailey likes to spread things around and Kerley comes into his own when you need him most. As defenses focus on Decker and Marshall, and if Amaro can step into his own, Kerley gets lost in coverage a lot! The guy just has a natural talent for getting open! Nobody will be more clutch than Kerley this season. With bodies flying around the field in Gailey’s spread offense, I’m really expecting Kerley to have a career year. He is versatile enough to line up anywhere and I’d expect to see Gailey use him at all the wide receiver spots this season.”

John: “Kerley is Kerley, what can you say bad about him? The guy isn’t the biggest talent on the roster, but somehow he always gets it done! I like the kid, I think he shows great hustle, he gets open consistently and has made Smith look good at times. Solid slot receiver. I’m happy with him, I’m not expecting big things from him, but feel comfortable knowing he’s there when the Jets’ offense needs him. My only concern is him staying on the field, he comes up banged up quite a bit.”

Myself: “I think you guys all have valid points on Kerley. Not the greatest talent you’re going to find on this roster, but he does seem to get it done. With some of the young Jet receivers, I think Kerley might see some reduced snaps this season. Gailey likes to use multiple personnel in his receiving packages, and you have to think he’ll want to keep Decker and Marshall on the field as much as possible.  It may turn out to be a good thing for Kerley however, as the reduced role may allow him to stay healthy and fresh. Smith and Kerley seem to have developed a nice chemistry together, so I wouldn’t expect too sharp of a drop off in snaps. Kerley will continue to be a contributor regardless.”

Next: Wrap Up

Oct 26, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith (7) throws the ball prior to the game against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Wrap Up

I have no clue how this article will come off. It was a great trip for us and we talked everything Jets. I’m thinking of following up with another piece in much the same format from our other discussions. That is of course, if you folks think you can put up with us “knuckle heads” for another article.

For the fishermen, three sharks were landed, two small Hammerheads and a Mako. The fishing was slow, but the weather was ideal. I took home the “kitty” with my 148 pound Mako shark, caught at around 3am.  The guys and I are planning a barbecue soon to enjoy the fish and inevitably argue over all things Jets. Leave me a comment with what you think and of course, Let’s Talk Jet Football!

Next: Coffee with the New York Jets: Is John Moffitt a fit?

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