Mike Shanahan: Brandon Marshall will be a hit in Chicago
By Sean Jensen firstname.lastname@example.org March 27, 2012 9:24PM
Denver Broncos wide receiver Brandon Marshall, left, confers with head coach Mike Shanahan before the quarterback camp on Friday, May 30, 2008, at the team's headquarters in Denver. The Broncos will continue to work with players when a rookies' camp is convened next week before the team's actual minicamp, scheduled for mid-June. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Updated: April 29, 2012 8:21AM
PALM BEACH, Fla. — During his illustrious coaching career, Mike Shanahan can think of few players he’s liked more than Brandon Marshall.
“He’s one of my favorite guys,” Shanahan told the Sun-Times Tuesday. “He was just fun to be around.”
The party has shifted from Denver to Chicago.
Shanahan, the former Broncos coach who drafted both Marshall and quarterback Jay Cutler, is now the head coach of the Washington Redskins. But, Marshall, Cutler and quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates are now with the Bears.
‘‘It’s big for the organization,” Shanahan said of the Bears. ‘‘It’s Jay’s confidence in Marshall, because they really tore it up when they were together.
‘‘[Marshall] makes big plays, and he’ll continue to make big plays, and they have a guy Jay knows and Jay needs, too. He’ll be his go-to guy, because he can make all the catches.”
Shanahan highlighted Marshall’s charisma, his intelligence, his ability and his versatility. But he also acknowledged Marshall’s off-the- field issues in Denver.
‘‘He had a couple of situations, outside of football, but he dealt with them,” Shanahan said. ‘‘He just has to stay out of trouble, and he understands that and that’s why he got some help.
‘‘I’m just hoping that he’s smart enough to stay out of trouble, and I think he will.”
Shanahan said he’s personally pleased with Marshall’s mind-set since being diagnosed with borderline personality disorder last July.
‘‘Once you realize you have a problem, you address it, and you’re hoping that he can overcome it,” Shanahan said.
During his introductory news conference, Marshall admitted that ‘‘The Beast” — his nickname — was hard to control on and off the field.
‘‘I call it my gift and my curse,” he said. ‘‘I wanted better for myself, on and off the field.”
Former Broncos receivers coach and current University of Miami offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch also counts Marshall among his favorite players, noting how his wife and children were drawn to him because of his playful personality.
‘‘Not being an expert, or in the psychological field, it wasn’t something that stood out to me,” Fisch said of Marshall’s diagnosis last year. ‘‘But whatever is in his best interests is what we hope for.
‘‘We want what’s best for him. If having this diagnosis is a positive in his life, then I’m thrilled about it.”
That the Bears added a receiver of Marshall’s caliber was crucial for Cutler, Shahanan said.
‘‘I just know how good he is. And once he has the supporting cast, to go with the [Matt Forte], then you’re going to see him just break out,” Shanahan said. ‘‘Everybody needs a supporting cast, and once he has the supporting cast, he’ll do the rest.”
As for Cutler, Shanahan said they still stay in touch.
The coach was both disgusted and amused when Cutler’s toughness was questioned after not finishing the NFC title game during the 2010 season because of a torn medial collateral ligament.
‘‘The thing that really made me mad, this guy never missed a practice in high school, never missed a practice in college, and he had diabetes and didn’t know it,” Shanahan said.
Shanahan noted that Cutler went from benching 225 pounds 27 times to three times before he was diagnosed with diabetes.
‘‘He lost 30 pounds, Shanahan said, “but he never missed a practice or game, and he never complained. So when I hear people question his toughness, I just laugh. People have no idea what type of toughness this guy has, how he plays with pain. They just don’t know.”
Shanahan isn’t worried about Cutler’s confidence, either.
‘‘Jay has enough self-confidence,” Shanahan said. ‘‘He doesn’t care what people say. He knows what he is.’’