Facing a four-game suspension to start the season, a contrite Jalin Marshall knows he is not in position to look ahead.
"I can't really think about what's going to happen when the season starts," he said after the Jets’ first OTA of the spring. "I do have four preseason games to play. If you play well, everything else speaks for itself. They can't rid of a guy who's going to help the team win, so that's what I try to do day in and day out. Go out there and make sure they know I can help the team win."
An undrafted free agent out of Ohio State, Marshall made the opening-day roster and contributed both on offense and on special teams. In 10 games, Marshall had 14 receptions and two touchdown receptions. But Marshall is learning a new offensive system under first-year coordinator John Morton.
"Just be that playmaker that the coach is looking for," Marshall said regarding his goals in OTAs and training camp. "We have a lot of great receivers right now and everybody is trying to solidify their role on the team. You just have to solidify that role, go out there every day and make them feel that you're ready to play."
The Jets have a deep receiving corps led by veterans Eric Decker and Quincy Enunwa. Robby Anderson and Charone Peake, fellow rookies in 2016, had 42 and 19 receptions respectively. The room got more crowded with the free agency acquisition of Quinton Patton and drafting of both ArDarius Stewart and Chad Hansen.
"I feel like if I can go out there every day, perform at a high level and still get somebody ready that's going to have to replace me, then maybe that'll solidify my role on the team as a leader and as a player,” Marshall said. “Right now I'm just doing what I can to help the team as best as I can."
Asked about Marshall at the NFL owners meetings in March, Jets head coach Todd Bowles delivered a forthright response.
"He'll get the reps early on, but obviously as a coach you understand that he's not going to be around the first four games and (other) guys are going to get more of the reps," he said. "And you open a door and give a guy a chance to play, if he takes his spot he takes his spot.”
Marshall finds himself in the mix for the starting return roles yet again as special teams coordinator Brant Boyer declared an open competition earlier this week. Marshall averaged 24.9 yards per kickoff and 5.6 yards per punt return in the regular season.