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updated: 9/9/2012 7:35 PM

That's one big wide receiver Bears have

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  • Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall celebrates Sunday's season-opening victory as he runs off the field.

      Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall celebrates Sunday's season-opening victory as he runs off the field.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

 
 

Oh, Bears fans, so this is what a big wide receiver looks like.

He looks like a tight end. He looks like a little taller heavyweight boxer. He looks like a little shorter NBA power forward.

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Mostly, a big receiver looks like Brandon Marshall looked Sunday during the Bears' 41-21 victory over the Colts.

"It's safe to say," Bears head coach Lovie Smith said, "Brandon is as good as advertised."

Except the guy looks bigger, actually.

I was in the Bears' locker room last week when Marshall walked past. Like most Chicagoans, I had heard of the job description "big receiver" but couldn't recall ever seeing one.

Marshall is listed at 6-feet-4, 230 pounds, but he appeared to be larger than that. This, friends, is one big human regardless of his position or paper dimensions.

Not only is Marshall tall, he has big shoulders, big butt, big thighs, big calves -- all in a perfectly proportioned package that was left on the Halas Hall doorstep during the off-season.

In the season opener against Indianapolis, quarterback Jay Cutler targeted Marshall 15 times and connected on 9 of them for 119 yards.

The most impressive was a measly 3-yarder when Marshall crossed the goal line, turned around and somehow expanded himself while scrunching up.

Marshall obscured defenders from the ball. They couldn't get around him, over him or through him before Cutler found him for a touchdown.

"He's a playmaker," kick returner/wide receiver Devin Hester said of Marshall. "He's been a playmaker since he stepped into the league."

Marshall is almost unfair the way he outsizes the common NFL defensive back for the ball.

It's about time, though. Bears quarterbacks have needed a wide receiver of ample size for a long time.

Cutler has nothing against the Hesters and Johnny Knoxes of the world, but a bigger window to throw into is greatly appreciated.

It doesn't hurt, either, that Marshall could carry an Indianapolis defender several yards to within inches of a first down.

Marshall has been doing these things since he and Cutler were rookies together in Denver seven seasons ago.

Since then, Cutler was traded here. Then Marshall was, via Miami. Both have experienced considerable life experiences over the years, the latter's including too many brushes with the law and a struggle with an illness called borderline personality disorder.

Now after three years apart, the quarterback again has his Beast, which was Marshall's nickname back in the day.

"Jay definitely takes advantage of mismatches," Marshall said. "Today it was a wheelbarrow for me, next week it might be "

It might be an hourglass or teacup while his presence opens holes, seams and pockets for other Bears weapons.

On this day, running backs Matt Forte and Michael Bush combined for 122 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns. Fellow wide receivers Alshon Jeffery, Earl Bennett and Hester combined for 8 receptions. Three tight ends caught a pass apiece.

The plan is for balance so when Marshall's contributions fit into that hourglass someone else's teacup will become a full wheelbarrow.

"We start with what they give us," Marshall said of the defense. "We definitely left some out there today. Hopefully we can capitalize on that in the future."

The next chance is Thursday night at Green Bay, where the reputedly high-powered Packers offense will be waiting.

Having a larger than life receiver like Brandon Marshall should help the Bears.

mimrem@dailyherald.com

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