Brandon Marshall painted a blunt picture of his former team earlier this week when he told WFAN he asked for his release from the Jets because he knew the franchise “didn’t stand a chance” this season after cutting a number of established veterans.
The comments only confirmed what is blatantly apparent from the outside looking in: the Jets are tanking. There simply isn’t enough talent on this roster to compete consistently on Sundays.
And while Jets players aren’t approaching the season as a wash, they understand the criticism and tanking talk.
“It’s hard to argue (with) that when everybody else sees all the stuff that’s going on,” wide receiver Quincy Enunwa said Sunday at Citi Field, where he attended his first-ever baseball game. “But we on the inside, we know what we want to do. We know what we’re prepared for this year, and regardless of what cuts have happened, we’re just going to go out there and work. And I don’t think any player is going to tank. Our jobs are on the line, our families, so we’re out there to work and get our paycheck and win games.”
Enunwa conceded that “of course” it’s difficult not to listen to the outside noise.
“It happens all the time. You even have fans, like, ‘Oh, blah, blah, blah,'” he said. “But I think for us, like I said, we just want to work. We want to win.”
Enunwa is understanding of Marshall’s decision and doesn’t slight him for his honesty.
“I just knew I couldn’t be in that environment,” Marshall said Thursday on the Boomer and Carton show. “I think everyone knows the type of personality I am at this point in my career. I wouldn’t have made it through an entire season knowing that we didn’t have a chance. That’s all you want as a player. You just want a chance.”
“He only has so many years left,” Enunwa said of Marshall. “He wants to go out there and he wants to get to the playoffs. He wants to win, and you can’t blame a guy for that. He said some great things to us before he left, and so we always have the upmost respect for that guy.”
In an offseason veteran purge that saved a boatload of money for Woody Johnson, general manager Mike Maccagnan cut six starters from 2016 – Marshall, Eric Decker, David Harris, Nick Mangold, Darrelle Revis and Nick Folk.
Harris and Decker were perhaps the most surprising of the bunch considering the timing. Typically front offices will cut players in February or early March before the start of free agency. But Maccagnan waited until June 6 to cut both Decker and Harris, who played all 10 of his NFL seasons with the Jets and missed just six games combined.
Enunwa has come to terms with the moves.
“I know they cut some guys, obviously, but that’s the business,” he said. “We had time to kind of think about it and kind of sulk, I guess you could say, over it. But at the end of the day, that’s the business, that’s what we prepared ourselves for, and we just got to go out there and play.”
The Jets report for training camp July 28. The biggest storyline – other than tanking, of course – will be the quarterback competition between Josh McCown, Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg.
“I see a determined player, somebody that wants to come out here and prove himself,” Enunwa said of Hackenberg. “I’m excited for what he’s going to do in camp and in the season. We’re going to see who’s going to be the winner after camp, but I think that he’s really put himself in a position to perform well.”