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redeyechicago.com

Marshall drops passes, picks up diva act

Steve Rosenbloom

The RosenBlog

9:34 AM CDT, August 28, 2013

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Brandon Marshall said he’s still trying to figure out “my role and my place in this offense.’’

Um, catch passes when they’re thrown to you?

I’m not an actual football coach or even a fantasy league owner, but that would be my guess.

Sorry, but Marshall’s drama king show Tuesday struck me as more entertaining than season-threatening. Right from the start, too.

Marshall was asked if this was the right offense for Jay Cutler and Marshall promptly made it about himself -- his health, his conditioning, his being pushed to come back or maybe not, and of course wondering about his role in the offense.

That last one was the most laughable to me. I mean, did he forget that Cutler is his quarterback?

Marshall said he’s not in condition as he comes back from hip surgery after being forced to catch about 10,000 passes last season, give or take. Marshall was the only receiver who was healthy or had a clue how that catching thing works. There wasn’t much left from the previous administration, which wouldn’t know a receiver if Jerry Rice came down the chimney on Christmas.

Marshall apparently isn’t as far along as he wants to be. Or maybe he’s not as far along as his coaches want him to be. See, it was hard to tell by Marshall’s comments. It was hard to tell if someone was trying to rush him back or maybe not or, well, just forget it.

You can panic that Marshall won’t be healthy enough to put the rest of the receiving corps in its proper roles. He’s the key, of course. He’s the player opponents would triple-team, because there’s no other player worth even double-teaming. Alshon Jeffery is a big deal opposite Marshall, but he’s completely out of order trying to replace Marshall.

Or you can get angry that Marshall is pulling a diva act after a couple of dropped passes in a meaningless practice game. Geez, pal, do you have to try to out-T.O. that noisy and needy wide receiver who set maturity back a couple generations?

You also could fear that Marshall’s borderline personality disorder is fully engaged. Little things become big deals to a person who suffers from the disorder. In this case, for example, Marshall might not think it’s such a small thing that other players are catching more passes, getting more attention and are just healthier.

Give him a moment. Give him his moment. It’s his pity party, and he can whine if he wants to.

That’s what his quarterback seems to be saying, and that’s a good lead to follow. Cutler said Marshall “could stay on the ledge’’ the rest of the week because Marshall isn’t needed in Thursday night’s regular-season-priced scrimmage against Cleveland. Cutler said Marshall could “then come back next week’’ when it matters.

The problem isn’t Marshall venting and whining and having an identity crisis now. No, the problem is Marshall using training camp to get into venting-whining-identity-crisis shape for the regular season.

You can play Chicken Little right now if you want. It takes up blog space and dominates sports talk radio. It’s good for business. I mean, look how far down you’ve read. (Don’t worry, your secret is safe with me.)

But it just doesn’t sound like a team-changing issue now. In fact, it might be a sign that things are working the way they’re supposed to. If Marshall is still whining next month it might be because Cutler is spreading the ball around the way he’s supposed to.

The real fear, then, might be a quiet and happy Marshall because if past is prologue Cutler will get into games and ignore the equality-opportunity scheme in favor of targeting only Marshall.

But worry about all of that when it actually matters. In the meantime, enjoy the latest episode of “Dropped Pass Diva.’’