Jets coach Todd Bowles: Brandon Marshall has chance to enjoy 'breakout year'

PHOENIX -- New York Jets coach Todd Bowles doesn't need to get to know Brandon Marshall. The two were together with the Miami Dolphins in 2010 and 2011, so the Jets' new head coach and their new star wide receiver won't need much of a get-acquainted period this spring.

Bowles said Tuesday at the NFL owners meetings that he thinks Marshall gets misunderstood and that he's looking forward to having him on his team again.

"Me and Brandon go back," Bowles said. "We have real conversations. The guy is so much more than what I think everybody's trying to paint him as. Everybody, if you look at their past, is going to have some shaky things going through it. But Brandon's come a long way, and I think he's in a great spot in his career to have a breakout year."

Marshall has a long history of off-field incidents. The Jets acquired him in a trade with the Chicago Bears, and there have been rumblings that the Bears weren't happy with Marshall's weekly appearances on Showtime's NFL show. But Bowles doesn't anticipate having a problem with Marshall's off-day schedule, as that show tapes on Tuesdays.

"If it doesn't interfere with his practice time -- and we'll talk about it -- his days off are his days off, and I think he can do whatever he wants to do," Bowles said. "Brandon's smart enough to handle it professionally. So we'll have a talk about that, but I have no problem with it."

Marshall, 31, is on his fourth different NFL team and has now been traded three times since 2009 -- an oddly checkered resume for a player who has five 100-catch seasons and has been among the best at his position since entering the league. But the Jets have high hopes that he has a lot left in the tank and will enjoy himself in New York.

"We think Brandon's still a top-flight receiver," Bowles said. "He's not just a big body. His presence and the way he runs routes, he understands the game. He's a student of the game. He understands when he has small guys on him, he can get vertical when he needs to get vertical. He's a sharp route-runner. He has great hands. He knows how to block. He brings a work ethic and he brings a fire to us that we need on that side of the ball."