Brandon Marshall keeps breaking NFL and Chicago Bears records, but he isn't satisfied with his play as of late.
The 29-year-old Central Florida product compiled 100 catches for 1,295 yards and 12 touchdowns this season. The 12 touchdowns were a career-high for him and the most by a Bear since Curtis Conway (12) in 1995.
"I really believe I had a down year," Marshall said on the Around the League podcast on Tuesday. "I didn't have a chance to really work. I had a surgery, so that put me back, and I didn't really like the way my game was last year."
The touchdown mark ranks as the third-highest in franchise history behind only Ken Kavanaugh (1947) and Dick Gordon (1970), who both reeled in 13 during the respective seasons listed.
Named to the Pro Bowl this season for the fifth time in his career and second straight time with the Bears, Marshall will head to Honolulu, HI alongside running back Matt Forte.
This off-season Marshall underwent his third hip surgery in eight seasons, so you have to believe that the hip was problematic to him, even though it didn't appear that way one bit during the season.
Since coming to the Bears via Miami in 2012 in exchange for two third-round picks, Marshall has appeared in all 32 games, reeling in 218 grabs for 2,803 yards and 23 touchdowns.
In two seasons in the windy city, he's averaged 12.9 yards per catch, 6.8 receptions per game and 87.6 receiving yards per game, which all rank as career-highs.
Marshall believes he didn't truly hit his stride until Week Nine or 10, despite 540 receiving yards and five touchdowns through the first seven games of the year. That includes back-to-back 100-yard, one touchdown performances against Cincinnati and Minnesota to start the season.
"I'm going hard and I'm really going to revamp my whole game and come back a totally different player, something you guys never seen before," he said.
Marshall hauled in touchdown receptions in all but six games this year. He was held to four catches for 42 yards in Week 11 against Baltimore and four catches for 45 yards in Week 13 against Minnesota, which ranked as his weakest performances.
His 100 receptions in 2013 placed him alongside some elite receivers in the NFL record books. It was Marshall's fifth season with 100 or more receptions, which tied him with Wes Welker and Andre Johnson for the most in league history.
Also, Marshall is the only Bears player to record multiple 100-reception seasons.
For Marshall to say he had a down year is ridiculous, the guy has been a beast for the Bears since coming to town. The Bears' offense has a chance to be among one of the more special groups for seasons to come with him starring in it.
Promising receiver Alshon Jeffery, freak-athlete Martellus Bennett and Forte surround Marshall, so the sky is the limit for this offense in 2014.
Don't forget about Earl Bennett, who has been the most effective third-down option since his arrival in Chicago in 2008. Also, 6'3" Marquess Wilson will be entering his second season and will only get better with time.
Marshall is set to make $9.1 million in the final year of a five-year, $44.7 deal that he signed with Miami in 2011. Expect the Bears to try to wrap him up with a long-term deal this off-season.
He deserves the lucrative contract, especially with his buddy Jay Cutler here for a while.
Personally, I think it's great that Marshall believes that his 2013 campaign was a down year, it just shows how much he loves the game and how great he wants to be.
Do I think he is crazy for saying that?
But like I said, the guy is passionate about the game of football. He fits the bill as a Chicago Bear, a hard worker, who will do anything it takes to help the team win.
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