Brandon Marshall keeps trying to get under Byron Maxwell’s skin.
The latest salvo:
Marshall, the ex-Dolphin and current Jets receiver, told New York reporters Thursday that he will bring his own penalty flag to Saturday night’s AFC East clash and toss it when the officials miss a call on Maxwell.
“I will help the refs out, but I thought they did a tremendous job the last time we played them,” Marshall said, according to ESPN.
Marshall’s intent is the same as it was when he called out Maxwell ahead of the teams’ Nov. 6 meeting: to both rattle the Dolphins’ top corner and prod the officials into making favorable calls when the players match up.
But here’s the problem: Maxwell doesn’t seem to care what comes out of Marshall’s mouth.
“I don’t know what he’s been doing,” Maxwell said. “I haven’t been keeping tabs up on him, except just watching him on tape.”
Maxwell actually did a good job on Marshall in their first meeting, keeping the receiver out of the end zone and limiting him to 46 yards on five catches. But Maxwell was flagged twice for pass interference, which has only emboldened Marshall.
This bad blood stretches back to 2015, when Maxwell, then a member of the Eagles, covered Marshall too closely for the receiver’s liking.
Ahead of their first meeting this year, Marshall said this:
“I played against him last year [versus] Philly, and he just held every singly play. Every single play he held. That was tough.”
Marshall doubled down on that criticism Thursday, saying Maxwell remains the same guy he’s always been.
And then he delivered this backhanded compliment: “He’s made progress. … He’s done a better job of [holding on] every play to every other play.”
Marshall can expect to see plenty of his least-favorite corner Saturday. Dolphins defensive coordinator Vance Joseph confirmed Wednesday that Maxwell will shadow Marshall at the Meadowlands.
“It’s a matchup league,” Joseph said. “Obviously, Maxwell’s our most experienced corner, and he’s probably our strongest corner between [Tony] Lippett and Bobby [McCain] and those guys. So when you’re playing a guy like Brandon Marshall, who’s a big, physical target, it’s good to have a guy who can match that kind of strength, and that’s Byron for us.”
Maxwell was Marshall’s shadow the last time around and heard a steady stream of trash talk.
At times, the banter was friendly — until it wasn’t.
“For the most part it was lighthearted, and then he turned back up,” Maxwell said. “It don’t bother me. This is a business. I think this is a business transaction. I’m out there to do a job. He’s in the way. It really don’t matter to me, as long as I do what I’ve got to do.”
Marshall “said a lot of crazy things” last month, Maxwell added, but nothing too out of bounds. Mostly it was “don’t hold me.” He also worked the officials for flags.
“I don’t really talk during the game. It’s all right here,” Maxwell said, pointing in front of his face. “Focused, so whatever you say to be, it don’t matter. I’m going to be right here. I’m not going anywhere. You’re really just talking to hear yourself out there. It’s fine, it’s cool.”
Maxwell continued: “I don’t think about it. Like when you’re talking to me, it’s like, ‘Whatever.’ ”
The two men did more than talk that day. Maxwell and Marshall played a physical game from basically the first snap, and their back and forth often extended beyond the whistle.
Of course, Maxwell got the final word that afternoon. The Dolphins won the game 27-23, and Marshall was largely a non-factor.
There will be a different Jets quarterback this time around. Bryce Petty will make his third career start Saturday, fresh off his first NFL victory. Maxwell praised the second-year passer’s deep-ball touch and courage.
As for Marshall, he had absolutely nothing nice to say about the Dolphins, or their best corner.