Marshall math resembles ‘Randy Ratio’ under Bears’ Mike Tice
BY SEAN JENSEN email@example.com November 17, 2012 1:14AM
Bears receiver Brandon Marshall races to the sidelines with the ball after catching a touchdown pass in the second quarter of the Chicago Bears 41-21 win over the Indianapolis Colts Sunday September 9, 2012 at Soldier Field. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times
A look at Randy Moss in 2002 and Brandon Marshall in 2012 through nine games.
9 Games 9
103 Targets 102
67 Catches 56
904 Yards 649
13.5 Average 11.6
45 Long 48
7 Touchdowns 3
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Updated: December 19, 2012 1:33PM
Offensive coordinator Mike Tice, the Bears’ most candid and colorful coach, doesn’t shy away from discussing much.
But one of the taboo topics is the ‘‘Randy Ratio,’’ a plan he hatched before the 2002 season after he was named the Minnesota Vikings’ coach. Determined to keep his star receiver engaged and interested, Tice announced that 40 percent of the team’s passes would be directed toward Randy Moss.
The formula didn’t yield positive results, as the Vikings started 2-7 and Moss, despite catching a then-career-high 106 passes, finished with a career-low 12.7 yards per catch and only seven touchdowns.
After reviving his career with the New England Patriots, Moss has 15 catches for 254 yards and two touchdowns for the San Francisco 49ers this season.
In his first season as an offensive coordinator, Tice has an inordinate number of passes aimed at Brandon Marshall, but he shuddered at the mention of the Randy Ratio.
‘‘No, no,’’ he said. ‘‘We don’t talk about that.’’
The eerie numbers, however, are hard to ignore.
Through nine games, the Bears’ 28th-ranked offense has attempted 275 passes, and 103 of them have been targeted at Marshall.
That’s 37.5 percent.
Through nine games in 2002, Moss was the intended target on 102 of the Vikings’ 315 passes, a 32.4 percent clip, far off the team’s stated intention. But Moss had a modest 56 catches for 649 yards and three touchdowns.
Marshall has 67 catches for 904 yards and seven touchdowns, accounting for 41 percent of the Bears’ catches, 47 percent of their passing yards and 58 percent of their receiving touchdowns.
Leading up to the game against the Houston Texans, Marshall insisted he wanted other receivers to get more involved in the offense. But none did in a 13-6 loss. Earl Bennett finished second with a woeful nine receiving yards to Marshall’s 107.
To Marshall’s credit, he didn’t duck his role Friday.
‘‘The truth is, I am the No. 1 receiver here. They brought me here to be the No. 1 guy,” he said. ‘‘But with that being said, we’ve got players who can make plays that are more than capable of having big games like I’ve been having.’’
Except no one else even has come close.
In the season opener, rookie Alshon Jeffery had three catches for 80 yards, including a 42-yard touchdown. Otherwise, the highest single-game output from a receiver not named Marshall is three catches for 62 yards by tight end Kellen Davis.
After missing four games with a broken bone in his hand, Jeffery is expected to be active Monday night against the 49ers.
Interestingly, when explaining Marshall’s role within the offense, Tice mentioned another Minnesota star, NBA veteran Kevin Garnett, who was the longtime focal point of the Timberwolves’ offense.
Asked how many of the passes actually attempted to Marshall are intended for him, Tice said: ‘‘I would say a large majority of those are supposed to go to Brandon.
‘‘We’re going to run a lot of plays through him. What I look for is consistency, and when you’re afforded an opportunity to make a play, do you make the play? And he’s making the plays.”
With starting quarterback Jay Cutler sidelined for the game Monday, veteran Jason Campbell will get the start for the Bears.
Will Marshall and Campbell be as productive as Marshall and Cutler?
‘‘I can’t make up for four years that they’ve been together,’’ Campbell said. ‘‘We’re not going to be trying to push the envelope on things that are just not there. But at the same time, I have all the confidence in the world in B. He’s a great receiver. There are other guys on this team, too, that can make plays.’’
The Bears are waiting for them to emerge.