9:29 AM CDT, September 4, 2013
Phil Emery went on and on about Brandon Marshall on Labor Day, and I believe he’s still talking.
The Bears general manager said his Pro Bowl wide receiver is a better player than he was during his record-setting 2012. More dynamic, Emery said. Great physical shape. Impressive in and out of breaks. Like Emery was his agent or something.
But Emery should’ve turned down the volume, and here’s why:
As diva wide receivers are wont to do, Marshall will expect to exceed his 118 catches and 1,500-plus yards and could easily voice frustration if that isn’t the case, but Marc Trestman’s West Coast offense is designed to reduce Jay Cutler’s addiction to Marshall.
Marshall went diva on the Bears last week after he dropped some passes while Alshon Jeffery caught seven passes in a practice game in Oakland, and that was before Emery recited what might be mistaken for a Canton induction speech.
Marshall claimed his hip wasn’t right, but part of the reason he made a scene was the way the Bears offense has moved away from Marshall monovision. Trestman’s offense is about sharing. The open guy gets the ball, if Cutler is doing it right, even though that’s more of a hope than a guarantee.
What Emery should’ve told Marshall is that the Bears offense will be better if Marshall’s numbers are worse. As Marshall made the Pro Bowl, the Bears dropped from 24thto 28thin NFL rankings and missed the playoffs. Connect the dots, Brandon.
It’s not Marshall’s fault he was the only reliable offensive weapon last season. It is, however, Marshall’s fault that he talks like he’s melting down when one of the other offensive weapons does what other offensive weapons are supposed to do.
The Marshall contradiction is that he could understand adding offensive weapons in the offseason but then not be able to stand it in real life.
In fact, Marshall lauded new offensive weapons and approaches so he wouldn’t be triple-teamed and face more hip surgeries, and presumably so the Bears would have a greater chance to win.
But Marshall’s history suggests he likely will later complain he isn’t getting the ball enough, and remember, he already has questioned his role in the offense. That’s why Emery’s version of TLC could create more exasperation than kumbaya.
One of the things about diva wide receivers is they stop talking about themselves usually only so other people can talk about them. They are the furthest players from the ball, yet they are the loudest and the neediest. Diva wideouts need to be the stars.
So, that’s the thing to watch: Is Marshall good to his word that winning matters more than personal stats?
Marshall showed up at Halas Hall on Monday in a happier place, nothing like last week’s meltdown. He said “amazing’’ things are happening in Lake Forest, and presumably he meant winning, and he wanted to be a part of that. What he didn’t clarify was whether he would happily be a part of it on the Bears’ terms, not his own terms, which starts with “I’m open every time.’’
Marshall brought a note from the doctor saying his hip was structurally sound. Marshall’s mental and emotional state seemed to be sound, too. For the time being. For that day. But let’s see what happens when someone else gets targeted in games that matter.
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