One of the things that fans of the Chicago Bears have gotten used to over the years is that they will never have an elite wide receiver on their roster. Drafting players like David Terrell and bringing in over-the-hill free agents like Mushin Muhammad did little to dispel that notion, but then GM Phil Emery turned conventional wisdom on its head, and traded for Brandon Marshall.
Here’s how our Peggy Kusinski described Marshall’s 2012 season with the Bears:
“He rewrote the record books in 2012 with single season records in receptions and receiving yards with a career high eleven touchdown catches.”
It was quite the achievement for a guy who is perhaps best known for wearing out his welcome with both the Denver Broncos (where he shone along with Jay Cutler) and the Miami Dolphins, but the feel good fest hit a bit of a speed bump on Tuesday, when Marshall made some interesting comments to the media.
Here’s what Michael C. Wright of ESPNChicago.com had to say:
“Marhsall indicated that the Bears might be pushing a little harder than he’d like as Chicago attempts to prep its star wideout for the Sept. 8 regular-season opener against Cincinnati.
“‘It’s one of those things where you may be rushed a little bit, and some people might think I need to be farther on than where I am,” Marshall said. “So it’s a little frustrating not being where I want to be right now, and maybe pushed a little bit. So we’ll see.’”
Marshall went on to discuss how he’s still getting a feel for head coach Marc Trestman’s offense, and he also admitted that he hadn’t gotten enough repetitions during the offseason to be fully ready for the regular season.
These comments may appear to some fans that Marshall is stewing a bit about the Bears’ treatment of him during the offseason, but the facts don’t really back that up. The team has been very careful with him, allowing him to sit out a good number of practices at training camp in Bourbonnais, and also holding him out of the team’s first preseason game against the Carolina Panthers.
Rather than being frustrated that he is being pushed, the odds are that Marshall was simply expressing his own frustrations in his performance in the preseason. Even though he was the target of every pass that Cutler threw in the Bears’ victory over the San Diego Chargers at Soldier Field, Marshall took a step backward against the Oakland Raiders, dropping several passes and ending up as the only player who really didn’t contribute to the team’s offensive outburst in that contest.
Trestman himself seemed to hint at the self-frustration theory in his press conference Tuesday, telling the media that “he (Marshall) feels a sense of urgency because the season is 10 days away. He’s a highly competitive man, an elite player. He can only comment on how he feels.”
The odds are that Marshall won’t be on the field when the Bears take on the Cleveland Browns in the preseason finale on Thursday, but the extra reps that he would get in the game really wouldn’t do much at this point to help prepare him for the season. He is a player who is known to be a fiery competitor, and while wide receivers are often portrayed as divas in the media, Marshall has shown an ability in his Bears career to keep things at a dull roar in that regard.
So should Bears fans be worried about Marshall’s comments about not feeling ready for the season? The answer, simply put, is no. Marshall is an all-pro receiver that is going to get plenty of opportunities to catch the ball next Sunday against the Bengals, and even if he struggles against them, then the Bears’ offense still has players like Matt Forte, Alshon Jeffrey, and Martellus Bennett to fall back on.
It’s no longer the Brandon Marshall show for the Bears this season, and that fact should give Marshall the time he needs to get back on track without hurting the team in the process.