FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - On his way to the locker room to meet with the media Friday, Brandon Marshall noticed linebacker Demario Davis wearing an oxygen mask while pumping away on a stationary bike, getting in a final bit of conditioning before Sunday's game against the defending Super Bowl champion Patriots.
It struck Marshall that Davis' commitment is the norm for a Jets team off to a 4-1 start under new coach Todd Bowles. "The first thought that came to my mind was: 'This is why this team is special,' " Marshall said. "There's a lot of guys doing that stuff, a little extra here, super-focused. There's just a great spirit in this locker room. It's something I've never been a part of where you have so many guys moving in the same direction."
The Jets are Marshall's fourth team in 10 NFL seasons. The wide receiver said he's been part of teams that were "fragmented" and conceded he contributed to that at times, such as when he had a contract problem in Denver that he said he handled poorly.
But Marshall is mature enough now to appreciate the opportunity the Jets have carved out for themselves. "We have guys in this locker room that really get it," he said. "Even the attitude at practice. I love seeing guys make a mistake and throw their helmet on the ground, show that they care. It's a special locker room."
Bowles has set the tone with a low-key, minimalist approach that stands in stark contrast with his flamboyant predecessor, Rex Ryan, who turned the week of Patriots games into trash-talking crusades. But in Marshall's view, it also stems from the character of the players the Jets have brought in, especially veteran leaders such as defensive back Darrelle Revis.
"It's a special thing to see guys here at 5 o'clock in the morning, beating coaches in," Marshall said. "I'm just proud to be a part of it . . . No one is running around talking about taking over the world. Everyone is just talking about doing their job and being mindful of the moment. It's inspiring."
Marshall has led by example. His streak of four straight 100-yard receiving performances is only the third time in club history that has happened. Hall of Famer Don Maynard did it in 1968 and Super Bowl III champion teammate George Sauer did it in 1966.
"When you talk about Jets history, I'm grateful and I'm thankful, but the only thing I really care about is if we're putting our team in a position to win," Marshall said. "My only goal this year is to be the hardest-working guy on the field every day."
Notes & quotes: CB Buster Skrine (concussion) is probable to play if he passes the final two steps in his concussion protocol . . . RB Bilal Powell (knee) is out, LB Jaiquawn Jarrett is doubtful and G Willie Colon (knee) is questionable.