Exclusive Q&A: Brandon Marshall talks Jets, Manziel, Super Bowl
By JOHN DORN
New York Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall, who is coming off a career year in which he recorded 1,502 yards and 14 touchdowns, got the chance to hang out with AOL Sports and discuss Mountain Dew's Super Bowl ad, the past season, his love of New York, Johnny Manziel, and his big-game prediction.
Q: You've teamed up with Mountain Dew, which is getting ready to unveil its first Super Bowl ad in more than 15 years, as well as hosting a live Super Bowl Picks event yesterday. Tell me a little more about the event, which included a real puppy, a real monkey and a real baby?
A: I was wondering about it before I even showed up. I was trying to figure out how the heck we were gonna have a puppy, a monkey and a baby predict the game. It was cool to watch. The puppy predicted that the Panthers will win. The monkey predicted that the Broncos will win, and the baby predicted that the Panthers will win.
Q: I want to take it back to almost this time last year -- it was last March, you were traded to the Jets. Coming off a 4-12 season, it was very clear they were cleaning house and looking to start fresh. What were your honest expectations for the season when you first found out you were headed to New York?
A: We had an opportunity to explore a trade. And that's where we wanted to go. Once we saw that the trade went through, we were happy because that was the perfect place for me. And it turned out to be the right pick.
Q: Why did you think New York was the perfect place for you?
Coach Bowles. I already knew some of the veterans in the locker room and spent some times with them at Pro Bowls and at different events around the league. I knew they had some strong leadership, and that's what it takes to be successful at this level. You look at Nick (Mangold and Double-D (Demario Davis), D'Brickashaw (Ferguson), I was like, 'Man, this would be a great locker room for me to walk into.'
Take a look back at Brandon Marshall's career so far:
Q: Now that you've spent a season in New York is there anything that caught you by surprise? Something you didn't really expect, playing in that kind of media market?
A: They're nicer than the Chicago market. That was the biggest surprise, man. Chicago was brutal the last year, and New York -- from the outside -- it's kind of intimidating. But it wasn't bad. I guess that's because I had a good year. Next year, if I have a dropoff, I'm sure I'll be getting crushed.
Q: Can you describe your relationship with Ryan Fitzpatrick? And why the connection between the both of you was so successful last season?
A: We just worked hard. We had great guys around us, starting with Coach Gailey and Kevin (Patullo), our quarterback coach, coach Karl Dorrell (WRs coach), these guys really pushed us this year. You look at our players: Eric Decker, Chris Ivory, our offensive line. That's where it starts: the running game. So we had some one-on-one matchups on the outside and we took advantage of it.
Q: Fitzpatrick's status is a little uncertain, but aside from bringing him back, in your opinion, what are some of the missing pieces to make next year's team even better?
A: We always want to add depth, but we have everything we need right now to get the job done. So anything we bring in will be icing on the cake.
Q: One clear strength was the Jets' receiving core. Do you think Eric Decker and yourself made up the best WR duo in the game?
A: I think so. The year before, we did it in Chicago -- Alshon Jeffery and myself. And the year after that, we had a huge dropoff. You have to earn it every single year, and we won't live in the past. Hopefully we can pick up where we left off and do even better.
Q: Have there been any conversations between yourself and your teammates about expectations for next year?
A: No... the last thing coach says (after the season ends) is get away from the game and relax. It's not time for that right now. The season is so demanding, physically and mentally, I just hope the guys have been getting away, enjoying themselves and gearing up for another run.
Q: How long does that process usually last -- when does football start to come back into the fold?
A: I don't know if it ever leaves the fold if we're forced to get away, right? Most guys are working out already, but I would say the majority of the guys will be back at it in March.
Q: Around the NFL, you're the biggest advocate there is for mental health awareness. The news surrounding Johnny Manziel has been really concerning lately -- with his family begging him to get help and Johnny, reportedly, not acting on it. I wanted to get your perspective on that situation.
A: We need to approach the situation with with seriousness. Obviously there are some things going on there, we know of him going to rehab last year. We don't know if he's ever been diagnosed with any type of mental health condition. Maybe there's some substance abuse there. But he is a guy that I'm pulling for and praying for. Hopefully he gets the help he needs so he can save his life.
Q: Finally, I need your Super Bowl prediction. Who do you have on Sunday?
A: Denver wins it. That's it, Denver wins it.
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