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Jets' Brandon Marshall says Geno Smith 'punched adversity in the face'

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The Geno Smith-for-Ryan Fitzpatrick quarterback change produced interesting reactions at One Jets Drive.

Let's start at Brandon Marshall's locker.

Marshall, as you probably know, is a staunch Fitzpatrick backer. After the New York Jets' Week 4 loss to the Seattle Seahawks, Marshall delivered this memorable line: "I am. Going down. In the boat. With Ryan Fitzpatrick."

So how does Marshall feel about Todd Bowles' decision to bench Fitzpatrick?

"Boat's down," Marshall said.

Marshall was outspoken in his support of Fitzpatrick during the quarterback's long contract stalemate in the offseason, as were other players. Now Fitzpatrick is on the bench, and they have to play for Smith, who lost the job 14 months ago when he was slugged in the jaw by IK Enemkpali.

It's an awkward situation.

Marshall tried his best to praise Smith, saying he has matured a lot since the locker-room incident with Enemkpali.

"It's been amazing to see this guy grow and punch adversity in the face," Marshall said with a straight face.

Say what?

It was an odd choice of words, to be sure.

Earlier, Bowles was asked if Smith's teammates respect him. He gave an honest answer, but it came out in a way that suggests Smith isn't beloved in the locker room.

"I’m sure they [respect him]," Bowles said. "You can respect people as a player and not hang out with that person. This is football. They don’t have to be best friends. They don’t hate him. They all get along in the locker room. They respect his ability and he respects their ability."