Just a few things an NFL player should not do:
• Talk trash when your team is 0-4.
• Call out players on the opposing team.
• Say, prior to a game, that you're going to fight someone and try to get ejected.
The Dolphins' Brandon Marshall managed to break all three of those rules in one ridiculous rant Thursday, and now the Jets have Marshall firmly in their crosshairs, heading into Monday night's matchup between two of the season's most disappointing teams.
Marshall said that he plans to fight either linebacker Bart Scott or Antonio Cromartie -- "I'm serious," he assured reporters -- then provided even more specifics about when he expects to get ejected and how much the commissioner will punish him for him.
"They want to fine me, it'll probably be like a $50,000 fine. But I'm going to play. That quarter and
half I'm out there, I'm going to play like a monster."
Cromartie responded Friday that he and Marshall have "been friends since high school," but added that Marshall's "a front-runner."
"But it's all talk," Cromartie said. "Like I say, he has to give y'all something to write about because there's no talk going on there because they're 0-4."
Cromartie has a point there -- at least there's some juice for Monday night's matchup, other than "Are the Jets as bad as they seem?" and "Is Matt Moore really the Dolphins' quarterback?"
This is far from the first time Marshall's been in the headlines for off-field antics. He basically complained his way out of Denver after four seasons, forcing the Broncos to trade him following a team-issues suspension for insubordination. Then in April, Marshall was hospitalized after being stabbed by his wife, who claimed that she did so in self-defense.
Marshall has shown up and played so far this season, but the Dolphins have to be at least a little concerned that their $47-million receiver is already hitting the wall, less than two years into his five-year contract.
The 27-year-old Marshall has 22 catches for 313 yards this season and topped the 1,000-yard mark in 14 games last year, but he also has just four TD's as a Dolphin. Worse than that, Miami has a paltry 7-13 record since acquiring Marshall prior to the 2010 season.
Even with all that, Marshall kept right on talking Thursday:
"I don’t know what you guys think, if you’ll still call me 'The Beast' or if you think I’m washed up," Marshall said in a group interview. "I consider myself a monster now. If you see a beast, you should run because the beast is really scary. I don’t want to be that anymore. You think of 'monster,' you know it’s like a little nightmare. You should be scared, you should run, but at the end of the day he’s not going to hurt you. I consider myself a monster now, and I’m going to play that way on Monday night. ...
"I’m going to be that Monster. Not the Beast. The Monster."
Marshall did have one huge game against the Jets last season, hauling in 10 catches for 166 yards and a TD in a 31-23 Week 3. He had just 16 yards receiving but scored again in the Dolphins' Week 14 win at New York.
Chad Henne was his quarterback for both those games, but it'll be Moore Monday night, with Henne out for the year due to a shoulder injury.
And, amazingly, the Marshall saga might pale in comparison to what's happening on the other sideline at the wide receiver position. The struggling Jets traded Derrick Mason this week, just a few days after he reportedly complained to head coach Rex Ryan about the team's offense.
“If you can’t protect the quarterback for four or five seconds, there’s no point in dropping back seven yards to throw the football if he doesn’t have enough time,” Holmes said. "We pretty much have to roll with the way our offense is rolling right now."
The Jets, considered by many including themselves and the boastful Ryan to be Super Bowl contenders, are just 2-3 this year. So, just like Miami's situation with Marshall, the wheels might be about to come off if Monday doesn't go well.
It's kind of hard to figure what Marshall or Holmes hoped to accomplish with their comments this week. Holmes might have ripped open even further a rift in the Jets' locker room. Marshall, meanwhile, put himself way out there heading into Monday. Miami has to hope that he isn't stupid enough to run around throwing punches just for the heck of it. So the best-case scenario for the Dolphins now is that he's fired himself up enough to have a big game -- because it's probably too much to ask that he just shut his mouth and go play.