Wide receiver Brandon Marshall signs autographs during Bears training camp Thursday at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais. | Nam Y. Huh~AP
Updated: August 28, 2012 6:22AM
BOURBONNAIS — This is the new and improved Brandon Marshall.
He publicly has admitted that he’s flawed.
So there was no chance of him lying to the media Thursday when he was asked if, at least on paper, the Bears’ offense had the most weapons he could remember playing with.
“No, not even close,” Marshall said on the team’s first day of practice at training camp. “Like I said, 1994, my little league [football] team, the Kingsley Knights. No, I’m being honest. We were scoring at will. It was amazing.
“Kareem was amazing. He was the two-back, I was the three-back. We probably had 20 touchdowns apiece. Our quarterback, Al, was pretty good. He was the coach’s son, so you know he got the ball a lot.”
The bar is set. You hear that, Jay Cutler? You have to match Al, the coach’s son. Matt Forte, you try to keep up with what Kareem did on any given Saturday morning.
Bears fans are hoping Marshall can take care of the rest.
Though there were way too many drops and miscommunications on Day 1 of Marshall law, it didn’t diminish the possibility that he easily can become one of the most prolific receivers in the anemic receiving history of the franchise.
Then again, when Marty Booker (100 receptions in 2001) and Dick Gordon (13 touchdown receptions in 1970) are the standard in Bears receiving records, it’s not exactly a mountain to climb.
Just don’t judge Marshall on his showing Thursday, when he looked serviceable in 7-on-7 and not so good in 11-on-11.
“We can’t drop the football,” receivers coach Darryl Drake said of Marshall’s afternoon. “I expect him to make the non-routine catches, and he expects to make them. I’m going to be tough on him when he doesn’t, and he wants that, he welcomes that. One thing about him is he’s competing against one of the best corners in the National Football League in Charles ‘Peanut’ Tillman, and Peanut is making him work.”
Unfortunately for Marshall, he also is competing against himself off the field. He can break press coverage with the best of them, but he hasn’t always been able to escape the guy in the mirror.
His treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder in the last year appears to have made him a new man. Coming to the Bears in an offseason trade with the Miami Dolphins seemingly has given him a clean slate.
But there’s a reason that Marshall won’t be seen walking by himself often. He has been given a shadow, and Cutler has played that role to perfection.
“It’s always been that way,” Marshall said. “And it’s not always fun, not always good.
“In any relationship, when you take two different people from two different places and then you put them together, you butt heads because sometimes you try and impose your own wills on each other. Once you understand there is no right or wrong, it’s just two different people, that’s when the relationship gets better. With Jay and I, it’s always some work.”
It was in Denver, where they spent three seasons together (2006-08), and it likely will be now. The hope is both men have grown and now share one focus: a Super Bowl trophy.
“You can put a good quarterback and a good receiver together, and it’s not always going to mesh because sometimes you don’t see things on the field the same way or off the field the same way,” Marshall said. “Jay and I, I don’t know why, we see things the same way.”