It’s never officially football season in Chicago until some form of drama occurs that fans and the media can overreact to. Well, welcome back! This time it’s star wide receiver Brandon Marshall’s comments about his hip and his overall demeanor. But, warranted or not, I suppose the issue is worth exploring.
Marshall is a guy who has never really had to share the workload and has the second most 100-catch seasons in NFL history with four. Last year he was the talk of the town, and now he’s in an offense with a ton of talent and a tendency to spread the ball around.
Matt Forte is an offensive threat, and he will without a doubt take away some targets from Marshall this season. Not to mention the absence of the famous falling down tight ends. Martellus Bennett is a legit, or supposedly legit, tight end. I say supposedly because he has yet to showcase in this offense, but it is expected that he will.
Second-year receiver Alshon Jeffery had one of the best offseasons on the team, and he looks poised to make a big leap in 2013. He’s in much better shape and caught everything in sight against the Raiders in the preseason. His hand use at the line looks better and route running seems tight, too.
There are a number of real passing options for Jay Cutler now, and while Marshall will undoubtedly see his share of looks, the fact is he’s poised to have a drop—no pun intended—in production, statistically. What will happen if he’s not getting all the attention? It may seem superficial to think that will be an issue, but receivers go through it all the time.
And Jay Cutler is capable of splitting the attention …
In 2008, with both Cutler and Marshall in Denver, Eddie Royal had 91 receptions, 980 yards and five touchdowns. Tony Sheffler that same season had 40 receptions 645 yards and 3 touchdowns. Cutler was productive with two wide receivers, but he also had 616 pass attempts and 384 completions.
It’s quite possible the Bears end up throwing that much in 2013. Under Marc Trestman, Rich Gannon threw the ball 618 times in 2002. So while it seemed like something to be worried about initially, there shouldn’t be much concern. The first time Marshall goes out and grabs eight passes for say, 115 yards and a touchdown in week one, all will be forgotten.
Brandon Marshall is a wide receiver and this … well, this is what they do. But hey, at least he's not Keashawn Johnson. Besides, it’s pretty clear who Cutler’s number one guy is and will always be. If Alshon goes off this season, and if Bennett is all he’s cracked up to be, it only frees Marshall up even more for the big play. Who do you cover?
No. 15 will get his touches and continue to destroy opposing corners as per usual. Whatever panic may be out there can stop. You guys know full well that #CuttyDoesIt.
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