Marshall vents, Cutler brushes it off
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Suddenly, Jay Cutler has too much offensive help?
"He's human," Cutler said. "He wants to be personally successful but he knows for us to get where we want to go, everyone has to contribute.
"There's games where he doesn't get 10 balls, 12 balls. He might have five and a touchdown and if we win, he's going to be happy. If we don't, everyone's going to work to see what we can do to fix it."
The Bears are coming off their second straight loss following a 3-0 start after falling to New Orleans on Sunday. With the Saints double-teaming Marshall, he was targeted just five times and finished with 30 yards and a touchdown on four catches.
Alshon Jeffery stepped up in a big way, though. He set a franchise record with 218 yards on a career-high 10 catches, just what the Bears need if other teams are going to focus on Marshall.
Cutler also had a big game, throwing for 358 yards and two touchdowns, but the Bears came up short again after falling at Detroit the previous week.
Back-to-back losses have taken some of the shine off a 3-0 start, and a loss to the winless New York Giants on Thursday night will really ratchet up the nerves around Chicago.
Marshall already was a bit on edge after Sunday's game, saying he was frustrated with the loss in general and his inability to get open. He said the Bears need to adjust, but he also insisted his feelings had more to do with the result than with his statistics.
"The frustration comes when we're not winning and the offense isn't moving the ball," he said. "It has nothing to do with me. It's about I want to win. I've always said, I have a nice contract, been to Pro Bowls, made All-Pro. I want to win.
"Sometimes the formula may go to me, sometimes it doesn't. Whatever's best for the team to win, that's what we need to do. I'm always going to be frustrated when our offense isn't No. 1 in the league. I'm always going to be frustrated when we're losing. I'm frustrated. We just lost. We lost two in a row."
A day later, coach Marc Trestman came to his defense. He insisted Marshall isn't a distraction and was quick to point out his role in Jeffery's improvement and tight end Martellus Bennett's arrival.
Marshall worked with Jeffery in Florida in the offseason and helped recruit Bennett to Chicago, giving Cutler more options.
If anyone should be thrilled with Jeffery having a breakout game, it's Marshall. It might lead to fewer catches, but it would also mean less wear and tear for a receiver who carried the load last year, but also underwent arthroscopic hip surgery in January.
Marshall had the procedure after setting franchise records for catches (118) and yards receiving (1,508), far more than anyone else on the roster.
No other Bears player had more than 44 receptions, and among wide receivers, Earl Bennett was second with 29.
Marshall also acknowledged last month that he might have rushed back from the procedure, all the more reason why the Bears needed another reliable receiver, someone to step into that No. 2 spot. More to the point, they needed Jeffery to be that guy.
He showed some promise as a rookie last year, but was also limited by hand and knee injuries.
If he continues to make opponents pay for doubling Marshall, then they'll have a choice to make -- ease up on the Pro Bowl receiver or risk having Jeffery make big plays.
The big game against New Orleans came on the heels of a 107-yard performance against Detroit. Jeffery has 15 catches over the past two games, compared to 13 for 104 yards in the first three.
Marshall has gone from 15 catches for 217 yards over the first two games to 16 receptions for 161 yards over the past three. Trestman said the plan is always to get Marshall involved early. It just didn't happen against the Saints.
Instead, Jeffery stepped up. Marshall vented a bit, and the Bears brushed it off.
"(Marshall) has been great," Trestman said. "As far as meetings, on the field he has not been any kind of distraction from my standpoint. The biggest difficulty I've had is seeing him work through a foot and work through the hip during the OTAs."
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Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press
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