Marshall winning over teammates' hearts and minds

"In Denver, you didn't know … what you were going to get in practice or what you were going to get during the games," Cutler said. "You knew he would usually show up for games but getting him to the game was challenging. He's a lot easier to work with (now)."

Marshall is more prepared to succeed on a week-in, week-out basis than he ever has been.

Marshall is more physically prepared because he takes better care of his body, and more mentally prepared because he studies the game more.

"Behind the scenes, I don't think people realize how smart and gifted he is mentally within the game of football," Cutler said. "He knows my reads. He can call the plays in the huddle. He knows where everybody lines up. He could play Y. He could play F for us. He can play Z. He is extremely smart and his ability to adjust in the middle of routes depending on coverages is extraordinary."

He didn't get this way via happenstance. He did it the old-fashioned way — working hard.

At 28, it seemingly has all come together for Marshall. Beast plus sage equals all pro.

Will he eventually revert to old Brandon? Nobody knows. And for now, nobody cares.

We caught another glimpse of him as a team builder Wednesday. He was soliciting media help to try to give Cutler a nickname. "Closer," or "Ace," he suggested.

"Jay's one of those guys who has that clutch gene," Marshall said. "You hear guys talking about it and some believe in it, some don't. But Jay has it."

Marshall makes the Bears believe in themselves both because of how he plays and what he says.

dpompei@tribune.com

Twitter @danpompei

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