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Brandon Marshall says Bears’ offense can be ‘scary’

Chicago Bears wide receiver BrandMarshall makes 41-yard receptifrom quarterback Jay Cutler (6) first half an NFL preseasfootball game against WashingtRedskins

Chicago Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall makes a 41-yard reception from quarterback Jay Cutler (6) in the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Washington Redskins in Chicago, Saturday, Aug. 18, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

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Updated: September 22, 2012 6:36AM



Receiver Brandon Marshall did his best to ponder the impact of each thought before it became his spoken word.

The last thing Marshall wanted to be Monday was a sound bite on ‘‘SportsCenter’’ for criticizing all of his former quarterbacks except Jay Cutler.

Asked if he ever had been a part of an offense that gave the quarterback as much flexibility as Cutler has under coordinator Mike Tice, Marshall replied with conviction.

‘‘No,’’ he said.

Things became dicey when
Marshall was asked to elaborate on his answer.

‘‘You have a quarterback that . . . let me rephrase that, let me retract that,’’ Marshall said. ‘‘I don’t want to start something, and then it will be all over. You know what? It’s just another system. Jay has the ability that great quarterbacks have, recognizing coverages. He has the ability to put us in the right situation.

‘‘I played with some great quarterbacks — not just Jay — but I’m really excited to be in this system again.’’

Translation: It’s good to be
reunited with a quarterback who knows what he’s doing and is
allowed to take advantage of that.

The Marshall-Cutler combination has been a major story line throughout camp, but it will face its most difficult test — its final test, really — before games start counting when the Bears visit the New York Giants on Friday.

So, of course, Marshall was pounded with questions about the precise way in which Cutler took the offense down the field on the Bears’ first possession Saturday against the Washington Redskins — and about how that will translate against the Giants.

Against the Redskins, Cutler
and Marshall hooked up for a
41-yard completion on the Bears’ first offensive play, then connected for a 20-yard completion on third-and-six to set up Michael Bush’s first touchdown run.

What Marshall was stressing was that while things might have looked good to most observers, there was still a long way to go. And if the offense can make those strides . . . well, good luck to opposing defensive coordinators.

‘‘The thing that was great about this last game was seeing everyone make plays, and Jay had the chemistry with everyone,’’ Marshall said. ‘‘If we can continue to do that, it will be really hard for any defensive coordinator to stop us. We’re definitely going to respect teams, but we’ve got to call it what it is. When you’ve got four, five, six guys making plays, it’s scary.’’

Cutler and his ability to make adjustments to what he sees from the defense is an essential factor
in that.

‘‘We’re trying to be a smart
offense,’’ Tice said. ‘‘We’re trying not to put ourselves or our players in bad counts, bad angles or bad matchups, if you will. We’re trying to give the quarterback an opportunity at the line of scrimmage.’’

Just don’t ask Cutler about his freedom to adlib.

‘‘There’s plenty of opportunities and routes for everybody,’’ he insisted.

That might be true, but what has Marshall excited is that he and Cutler put up some impressive numbers together in their three seasons with the Denver Broncos (2006-08) with far less understanding of the game than they have now.

‘‘If you look at our history, we definitely have some chemistry there, and I think it’s going to be more special this time around because of where we’re at understanding the game, our maturity level,’’ Marshall said. ‘‘Honestly, when we look at film from a few years ago, I don’t think it was
really good. But we have another opportunity to fix those mistakes and put ourselves and our teammates in better positions on the field. We’re excited about that.

‘‘I’m just one of the Indians; I’m just following suit. Jay’s our leader, and I think we have a great one. Now, Jay knows how to manipulate defenses with snap count, body language and hand signals, so it’s exciting to see him work.’’



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