Brandon Marshall likes that Bears are giving Jay Cutler flexibility
BY JOE COWLEY firstname.lastname@example.org August 20, 2012 2:08PM
Bears receiver Brandon Marshall and quarterback Jay Cutler chat on the sidelines in the second quarter of the Chicago Bears-Denver Broncos game Thursday August 9, 2012 in Chicago. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times
Updated: August 20, 2012 2:30PM
Brandon Marshall was doing his best to study the impact of each thought before it became his spoken word.
The last thing the Bears Pro Bowl receiver wanted to be on Monday was a sound bite on the 5 p.m. SportsCenter, throwing all of his former quarterbacks not named Jay Cutler under the bus.
Asked if he had ever been a part of an offense that gave the quarterback as much flexibility as Cutler has in Mike Tice’s offense, Marshall replied “No,’’ with conviction.
Asked to explain?
That’s when it became dicey for the seventh-year receiver.
“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.
The Marshall-Cutler duo has been a major storyline throughout the Bears training camp, but Friday in New York it will have it’s most difficult test, and it’s final test, before games start counting.
So, of course Marshall was still getting pounded with questions about the surgery in which Cutler took the offense down the field against Washington on their first possession of the night, and how that would translate against the Giants.
That included a 41-yard pass to Marshall on the first play, as well as a 20-yard completion on a third-and-6, which set up Michael Bush’s touchdown run.
What Marshall was stressing was that while it looked good for most, 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 was more diplomatic about where this offense is and where it’s capable of going.
“We’ve got a lot of weapons,’’ Cutler said. “We’re going to rotate those guys in. [Rookie Alshon Jeffery’s] a guy who’s coming on, is playing well for us. He’s a different type of receiver from Devin [Hester] and Earl [Bennett], those other guys, and Dane [Sanzenbacher].
“There’s plenty of opportunities and routes for everybody.’’
That may be true, but what has Marshall excited is the fact that he and Cutler put up some impressive numbers together in their three years with Denver from 2006-08, and did so having very little understanding of the game compared to 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 where we’re at understanding the game, our maturity level,’’ Marshall said. “You know what, 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 definitely 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.’’
The self-awareness didn’t end there for Marshall. While he labeled Cutler “a great one,’’ he also knows that Bears fans have been screaming for a quarterback-receiver duo like they potentially have now.
“Yeah, I sense that a little bit around here,’’ Marshall added with a smirk. “It’s exciting time right now, but we definitely have to get better and continue to give them what they want to see. We love the fans here. I know I’m the new guy here, but I feel it when I walk into the stadium or even when I walk outside my front door, so it’s exciting.’’