Considering his emotions, Bears' Marshall worth watching
So much of what Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall says is starting to sound problematic.
All the words were all right Sunday. They just seemed all wrong after being processed. Maybe that's what happens when an NFL team opens the season with 3 straight victories and follows with 2 straight defeats.
Frustrations were inevitable after the New Orleans Saints came into Soldier Field and beat the Bears 26-18 and Marshall expressed them: "It's tough … it's really tough."
For the second straight week the outcome was more decisive than the final score. The Bears had to scramble at the end to make it a one-possession margin.
This couldn't even be considered a moral victory. The only positive right now for the Bears is that their next opponent is the 0-5 Giants on Thursday night.
"We've gotta put this behind us very quickly," Bears head coach Marc Trestman said of the loss.
He might have been referring to Brandon Marshall as much as anyone.
Marshall is accustomed to having the Bears' offense revolve around him. Remember last year when the problem was that quarterback Jay Cutler was throwing to him too much?
Well, now Marshall isn't being targeted enough, only five times against the Saints. He caught four for a measly 30 yards. Meanwhile, Cutler threw toward Alshon Jeffery 13 times, 10 of the passes connected, and the result was 218 yards.
"Alshon Jeffery is coming," Marshall said. "This guy had a career day. It's awesome to see this guy maturing before our very eyes."
You see? Marshall said the right thing at the right time again. But you listen to him and it's difficult not to wonder what's really bubbling up inside him.
Marshall has been known to be a volatile guy whose emotions get the best of him. Sometimes his remarks should be interpreted in that context.
Here this difference-maker and playmaker was, outwardly calm after a second straight loss in which he didn't make many plays or much of a difference. Yet I kept wondering whether his newly stretched breaking point is approaching.
Will it surface during another game in which he averages 7.5 yards per catch? Is that production OK if the Bears win? Or would he go off on the world after catching 15 passes for 200 yards but his team loses a third straight time?
So much of Marshall's postgame interview session was about him. Yes, he is included in the formal interview room after games with Trestman and Cutler. He's a team spokesman, or at least a Brandon Marshall spokesman.
The discussion this time was about his frustrations, about his performance, about him putting him in the offense.
Look, I know, I know. The Bears need Marshall. He's a key component of Trestman's freshly installed offense. But it isn't all about him, is it? It isn't only about whether he's a decoy or an all-pro on any given Sunday, or Thursday night for that matter.
"I've gotta do a better job getting him involved," Trestman said. "It's disappointing that we didn't get him to the flow of the game a little more, obviously."
Trestman also has to get more out of tight end Martellus Bennett, more out of running back Matt Forte and more out of wide receiver Earl Bennett … at least enough out of them to win a game.
If ever there was a team loss it was this one. Yet so much of the talk was about Marshall, much of it emanating from Marshall himself.
Cutler said, "He might be frustrated, but we just have to keep getting better and better, and he understands that."
If Brandon Marshall forgets it, however, he's liable to blow a few arteries and in the process a hole in the Bears.