Young­sters get chance to shine for Jets

In­jury to wide re­ceiver Decker puts em­pha­sis on New York’s depth

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - SPORTS - By Den­nis Waszak Jr.

Bran­don Mar­shall re­al­izes the New York Jets took a big loss when fel­low wide re­ceiver Eric Decker went down for the sea­son with a shoul­der in­jury.

He also knows it’s up to the young­sters on the ros­ter to take ad­van­tage of this sud­den op­por­tu­nity.

Sure, guys such as Robby An­der­son, Jalin Mar­shall and Charone Peake are rook­ies, but Bran­don Mar­shall is their big­gest cheer­leader these days.

“We’re more than con­fi­dent in the younger guys we have,” the vet­eran re­ceiver said. “They’ll make plays. Right, Robby?”

Mar­shall turned to his right, smil­ing at his locker-room neigh­bor, who was sit­ting on a stool and mind­ing his busi­ness while his team­mate ad­dressed the me­dia.

“Stand up!” Mar­shall told An­der­son, who turned around and stood for a mo­ment. “Right, Robby? Right? Make plays, right? Guys like Robby, man, they’re studs and hun­gry, wait­ing for their op­por­tu­ni­ties and see what they’re able to do.”

The re­al­ity for the Jets is, those young guys are be­ing counted on now. Bran­don Mar­shall is the No. 1 re­ceiver with 24 catches for 363 yards and two touch­downs, while Quincy Enunwa has a team-lead­ing 27 re­cep­tions for 294 yards and a TD and emerged as a con­sis­tent play­maker.

Af­ter that, it’s a hand­ful of un­proven and in­ex­pe­ri­enced re­ceivers who’ll need to cre­ate some sort of rap­port with quar­ter­back Ryan Fitz­patrick, start­ing Mon­day night at Ari­zona.

“A lot of times, you hear, ‘Next man up men­tal­ity’ and ‘we’ll be fine,’ ” Bran­don Mar­shall said. “So, out of re­spect to Decker, he’s a big part and he’s a tal­ent in this

league, but in the Na­tional Football League, it’s the truth: next man up.”

Here’s a look at the re­ceivers who will try to help fill the void left by Decker, who’ll have surgery on his par­tially torn right ro­ta­tor cuff:

ROBBY AN­DER­SON

VI­TALS: 23 years old, 6-foot-3, 190 pounds, rookie.

CA­REER STATS: 5 games, 5 catches for 56 yards, 0 TDs.

The speedy An­der­son was signed as an un­drafted free agent out of Tem­ple, where he red­shirted as a fresh­man, played in six games in 2012, mostly on spe­cial teams, and then worked with the sec­ondteam de­fense as a cor­ner­back in 2013. He quit the fol­low­ing spring, but then re­con­sid­ered and was al­lowed to re­join the team as a wide re­ceiver. He was a force for the Owls as a red­shirt

se­nior in 2015, fin­ish­ing with 70 catches for 939 yards — both rank­ing sec­ond on the school’s sin­gle­sea­son list — and seven touch­down catches. An­der­son led the NFL with 264 yards re­ceiv­ing in the pre­sea­son, and has started the last two games for the Jets.

JEREMY BUT­LER

VI­TALS: 25, 6-2, 213, third NFL sea­son.

CA­REER STATS: 8 games, 31 catches for 363 yards, 0 TDs.

But­ler was claimed Tues­day off waivers from Tampa Bay, which signed him to its prac­tice squad last month. He was pro­moted to the ac­tive ros­ter last week, but was waived Sunday. But­ler was signed by Bal­ti­more as an un­drafted free agent out of Ten­nesseeMartin in 2014. He spent his rookie sea­son on in­jured re­serve with a shoul­der in­jury, and contributed on of­fense last sea­son for the Ravens. But­ler fin­ished sec­ond in the NFL this sum­mer with 16 pre­sea­son catches.

MATT ROURKE — AP FILE

Jets’ Robby An­der­son pulls in a pass for an even­tual touch­down against Ea­gles dur­ing pre­sea­son game.

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