My Bears Marshall Plan: Less Marshall

Brandon Marshall is expected to start the Bears’ scrimmage against the San Diego Chargers on Thursday, and man, do the Bears ever need him on the field.

So Jay Cutler can throw to someone else.

As the Bears broke training camp in Bourbonnais, Cutler said it’s “hard to pinpoint exactly where we’re at,’’ but the truth is, it’s impossible to know where the offense is until Cutler doesn’t throw to Marshall.

It might seem strange to say that, seeing as how Marshall caught 118 passes and went to the Pro Bowl last season. But the Bears offense stunk last season. It ranked 28th and often seemed worse.

So here comes Marc Trestman with his version of the West Coast offense. It seems like a great offense for the Bears because it stresses -- no, demands -- spreading around the ball. But it won’t matter unless Cutler actually spreads around the ball.

In other words, the Bears offense becomes more dangerous if Marshall gets the ball less. That’s the Bears’ new math.

We saw a dose of that in the Bears’ exhibition opener in Carolina when Cutler completed 6 of 8 passes to five different targets. Michael Bush caught two, while Alshon Jeffery, Matt Forte, Joe Anderson and Eric Weems caught one each. That’s three to the running backs and three to receivers. That’s the idea.

However, that kind of equal-opportunity offense came without Marshall on the field, and nothing about spreading around the ball matters unless Marshall is on the field.

Marshall is Cutler’s bailout. He’s Cutler’s addiction. He’s the receiver Cutler trusts most, and who wouldn’t trust 118 catches for 1,508 yards and 11 touchdowns last season?

Opponents know it. That’s why Marshall got triple-teamed -- and Cutler still targeted him, putting up the ball and letting Marshall try to win the fight.

But the full measure of the Bears offense’s spreading around the ball comes when Marshall is on the field getting extra attention and Cutler throws to open targets elsewhere.

And the Bears would seem to have a load of weapons capable of getting open against single coverage created by opponents game-planning for Marshall. Geez, those weapons had better be there, or the Bears will be the Cleveland Browns for a decade.

But we know that Forte and Bush can catch and run. We believe Martellus Bennett gives the Bears an actual tight end. Jeffery is a force when he’s healthy. Anderson looks like a something, and I’d like to see Marquess Wilson get some snaps with the adults.

Marshall’s presence should make all of them more dangerous but only if Cutler makes Marshall less of a crutch.

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
Related Content
  • Grateful Dead drummer dishes dirt, drug dependency in new book

    Grateful Dead drummer dishes dirt, drug dependency in new book

    As a founding member of the Grateful Dead, Bill Kreutzmann watched the world change from behind his drum kit, shoveling coal in the wildly tribal rhythm section as the Dead went from San Francisco underground curio to ground-breaking indie outfit, then progenitor of the improvisation-based rock...

  • Book comes out ahead of Grateful Dead farewell concerts in Chicago this weekend

    Book comes out ahead of Grateful Dead farewell concerts in Chicago this weekend

    The cliché that colors every good rock star story is “sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll." For the Grateful Dead, the trailblazing rock band known for its improvisational style, revelatory live shows and dedicated fanbase, there was that and so much more.

  • 10 best movies of 2015 so far

    10 best movies of 2015 so far

    The year’s half over! How did that happen? No idea. With six months of a good year of movies in the books, let’s see how the Top 10 list is looking, with a quote from each respective review. Note: There are a few I’ve seen that I really like that haven’t yet opened in Chicago, and those aren’t...

  • If you make less than $50,440, proposal could increase overtime pay

    If you make less than $50,440, proposal could increase overtime pay

    Nearly 5 million more Americans would qualify for overtime pay under new rules proposed Tuesday by the Obama administration, a long-anticipated move expected to affect a broad swath of salaried employees from store managers to social workers to restaurant shift supervisors.

  • Chicago's minimum wage increase attracting workers to city

    Chicago's minimum wage increase attracting workers to city

    Unlike previous summers, UniStaff is experiencing a spike in job applicants at its Little Village location, a trend the branch manager says is tied to the city's minimum wage increase to $10 per hour beginning Wednesday.

  • 'The Bachelorette' episode 7 recap: How many meltdowns can Shawn have in one week?

    'The Bachelorette' episode 7 recap: How many meltdowns can Shawn have in one week?

    Welcome to RedEye’s coverage of “The Bachelorette,” arguably the most misogynistic show on television! The format is pretty simple: Five women of RedEye each drafted five of the 25 competing men. Everyone gets one point for every man who gets through each week. If you ever want your daughter to...

Comments
Loading