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updated: 10/7/2013 9:08 PM

NYG on short rest just what Bears docs ordered

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  • Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall makes a touchdown reception during the second half of Sunday's loss to the Saints.

      Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall makes a touchdown reception during the second half of Sunday's loss to the Saints.
    Associated Press

 
 

Brandon Marshall will always make the story about Brandon Marshall, never more so than when he's double covered and the offense doesn't revolve around Brandon Marshall.

But buried within his postgame comments -- something of a public-therapy session as he thought through his Sunday -- Marshall also offered some insight into where the Bears are after five games, including Sunday's loss to New Orleans.

Are they who we thought they were, an 8-8 team suffering the growing pains of new coaches, systems and personnel, with an aging defense and an invisible Devin Hester?

Are they the 12-4 team that started 3-1? Or are they something in between?

"It's a new offense. The defense has been playing together for some years. It's going to take some time for us to really put this thing together," Marshall said. "We want to look like the New Orleans Saints offense. You can see those guys are machines out there.

"It's going to take some time to get there, but I think we've got the guys in the room to get the job done. There's going to be some growing pains with that."

Yes, growing pains, as in missed assignments and failure to read the defense.

"We did exactly what we told the team we were going to do at halftime. We were going to run the ball against this defense. We knew we could," Marc Trestman said Monday. "We just had to know where to get lined up. We didn't get lined up in the right place a couple times. That was really disappointing to us, particularly early on, with plays we had told them we were gonna start with.

"Our guys have to get in the (play) book."

Yeah, knowing the plays helps a bit, as does getting the ball to Marshall, because a happy Marshall is a productive Marshall. An unhappy Marshall is a nightmare, which anyone in Miami or Denver can tell you will occur sooner than later if Marshall doesn't get his touches.

"He has been great in meetings and on the field," Trestman said. "He hasn't been any kind of distraction from my standpoint."

Trestman also praised Marshall for coaching Alshon Jeffery into the player he is today, and for recruiting free agents.

"Brandon has done as much for this team over the last seven months than any single player has. He's shown extremely unusual leadership," Trestman said. "But he's the prototypical great receiver who wants the football -- and should want the ball.

"I think he's handled himself in a very professional manner. But I do sense that he's frustrated."

Asked Sunday if the offense was better with him as a decoy, Marshall said, "I don't know. We've been struggling the past few weeks. In the games we've won, the defense is scoring and they played lights out.

"You take away some of those plays and we might not be in those games."

So when the Bears were 3-0, even the players knew they were a bounce or three away from being 1-2 or even 0-3, something Trestman was keenly aware of at the time, and why he didn't go overboard in his enthusiasm for the quick start.

Now, it's tempting after 2 straight losses to consider the Bears' opening 3 wins something of a mirage, more gift than gain from teams willing to hand the Bears footballs and victories.

That is, at least, partially true, but it's also worth noting the team that handed the Bears their second straight defeat is the best team in the NFC, and if the Saints' defense continues along this path, they might just be the best team in the NFL.

They came in ranked sixth in defense and fourth in offense, and they are more aggressive than any team in football when you combine both sides of the ball.

So the Bears are 3-2, but they have as much right to be 1-4 at the moment, and things could be quite a bit worse.

They also receive the horrific Giants on short rest -- the best possible team to play on a Thursday -- and then the Redskins off an extended rest before the bye week.

They have every reason to think they'll be 5-2 heading into a week off with extra time to prepare for the Packers on Monday night.

Add it all up and that's not bad in a rebuilding year. Not bad at all.

brozner@dailyherald.com

•Hear Barry Rozner on WSCR 670-AM and follow him @BarryRozner on Twitter.

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