Brandon Marshall has been blindsided before.
There was the six-win season in Miami in 2011. There was the five-win season in Chicago in 2014. And just last year, the Jets finished in last place, one season removed from losing a playoff tiebreaker.
At the start of each of Marshall’s 11 seasons, he has only seen potential. At the end of each season, expectations have never aligned with reality.
“I guess it’s hard for me because I’m such a competitor and sometimes the competitiveness blinds me,” Marshall said. “I promise, every single year, I always thought we had a chance. Now I look back, it’s kind of a little stupid to think that, right?”
This season, it isn’t stupid for Marshall to think he’ll finally make his first playoff appearance.
Having been traded three times in his career, Marshall finally chose where he wanted to be this offseason, and signed with a team talented enough to erase his dubious distinction, as the player with the league’s longest active run of games played without reaching the postseason (167 games).
“I could’ve went a lot of places and made money or went places and caught a lot of balls and may have been a No. 1 [receiver], but I only have a few years left so I wanted to make sure I take advantage of that and hopefully win a Super Bowl,” Marshall said. “What I was looking for was stability in ownership. I never really had that since I left Denver. I was looking for a championship quarterback. … I was looking for a great defense, and I was looking for a No. 1 receiver on the other side.
“That was my formula. That’s what I was looking for.”
With Eli Manning, Odell Beckham Jr. and one of the league’s best defenses, the six-time Pro Bowler is allowing himself to think about more than a just playoff berth, days away from his debut with the Giants.
“I’ve never talked about making the playoffs. That’s not my goal,” Marshall said after Monday’s practice. “[I want] to win it all. I don’t want to just make it to the playoffs. What happens if we make it to the first round, or we have a bye and then we get knocked out? That’s not fun.
“We do have high expectations. We have a really good team.”
While Beckham’s status for Sunday’s opener against the Cowboys is uncertain, Marshall confirmed he will play after sitting out the final two preseason games with a shoulder injury, which he suffered against the Browns on Aug. 21.
“I’ll be out there. I feel good,” Marshall said. “Other than that hit I had in Cleveland, the body feels amazing. This is probably the only camp where I really didn’t have anything, so that’s kind of encouraging, being 33. … I’m not perfect, but I feel great and there’s nothing that should hold me back. I should be able to do everything.”
With the Giants, Marshall hasn’t done much of anything yet. In limited preseason action, he recorded one catch for 2 yards, and didn’t connect with Manning for a completion.
“I’m confident we’ll be right where we’ll need to be on Sunday, and we’ll make enough plays to get the job done,” Marshall said. “This preseason reminded me you can’t just show up. We had a chance to go out there with our 1’s against Cleveland and it didn’t click for us, so we have a lot of work to do.
“It’s good to get that reminder early.”
For Marshall, it could result in a season unlike any other.