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Brandon Marshall frustrated with role in Bears’ offense

Updated: December 6, 2013 2:36AM



Brandon Marshall was focused on his own demeanor. He was judging himself by how he handled himself on the sideline Sunday against the New Orleans Saints.

And Marshall said he felt proud about how he composed himself during the Bears’ 26-18 loss at Soldier Field.

‘‘Sorry for patting myself on the back,’’ Marshall said. ‘‘There’s not too much that I can hang my hat on today.’’

Why not? The Saints doubled him, bracketed him and did everything they could to him to hold him to five targets. Take out his two-yard touchdown catch with 2:11 left, and Marshall had three catches for 28 yards. Not exactly star-receiver numbers.

It’s obvious the Jay Cutler-to-Marshall connection is going through an early-season test of its resolve. The Saints simply schemed Marshall out of the equation, which turned his postgame news conference into a frustration-centered diatribe.

After surpassing 100 yards receiving in each of the Bears’ first two games, Marshall has 16 catches for 161 yards in their last three.

‘‘I have to do a better job of putting myself in position to beat double coverage and try to make myself more quarterback-friendly, so I can make a play for our offense,’’ Marshall said. ‘‘So the past few weeks have been frustrating.”

Coach Marc Trestman sees it as his problem, which could fester into a big one if it isn’t fixed.

‘‘I’ve got to do a better job of getting him involved,’’ Trestman said. ‘‘He’s always designated to get involved early. When he doesn’t, it’s not by design. Things happen. They take him away, and we’ve got to throw the ball to somebody else.’’

Trestman pointed to Earl Bennett’s drop on fourth-and-two in the fourth quarter as an example.

‘‘They played over the top of Brandon,’’ Trestman said.

Alshon Jeffery benefitted from the Saints’ game plan, making 10 catches for a team-record 218 yards and a touchdown. But the Saints still won.

‘‘I don’t know, man,’’ Marshall said of being a decoy. ‘‘We’ve been struggling the past few weeks. Honestly, even the games that we won, the defense is scoring. They played lights-out. You take away some of those plays, we may not be in those games.

‘‘As a receiver, you always want the ball. Your mentality is that you think it’s always better when you’re getting it. But coach Trestman is an offensive guru, Jay is a good quarterback and we’re going to do what’s best for the team.’’

Cutler was 24-for-33 for 358 yards, two touchdowns and a 128.1 passer rating. It was only the second time the Bears had lost when Cutler had a 100-plus rating. Cutler even ran for a first down on a read-option play. But three sacks and a first-quarter fumble will overshadow his solid performance.

And, apparently, so will Marshall’s lack of production.

Cutler said the Bears have mixed it up, ‘‘especially with Brandon getting so much double coverage so early on in the season.’’

‘‘It’s really tough,’’ Marshall said. ‘‘I’m not going to lie to you. My
No. 1 goal going into the workweek was to work on my body language when I’m not in the game. It’s been like that the first few weeks. I kind of let myself and the guys around me down with my body language. I got better at that today.’’

Marshall said he offered suggestions the first couple of weeks, but that ‘‘got me out of my game’’ and drops happened.

‘‘Mentally, it was too much for me,’’ Marshall said. ‘‘Moving forward, I’m going to do my job and be a wide receiver. I believe in coach Trestman, Jay, the offensive line and the guys around me to make the plays and do what’s best for the team.’’

Email: ajahns@suntimes.com

Twitter: @adamjahns



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