Brandon Marshall discussed his relationship with Jay Cutler on ESPN's First Take on Thursday and said he was the only person in the Chicago Bears organization to hold Cutler accountable and that his former teammates barely spoke last season.
"There is a culture in the league that you keep everything in-house," said Marshall, a receiver the Bears traded to the New York Jets in the offseason.
"I felt like I was the only one in the organization that had the 'huevos' to hold [Jay Cutler] accountable. It didn't go the way I wanted it to go."Brandon Marshall
"But for me last year, I felt like, when we are going on 10 years, nine, 10 years in the league -- it's time to get it. I felt like I was the only one in the organization that had the 'huevos' to hold [Cutler] accountable. It didn't go the way I wanted it to go."
Marshall and Cutler both entered the league in 2006 with the Denver Broncos and later reunited in Chicago in 2012. The duo clicked almost immediately as Marshall had a pair of 100-reception seasons before Denver traded Cutler to Chicago leading up to the 2009 campaign. Marshall eventually joined Cutler with the Bears and became the first player in franchise history to record multiple 100-catch seasons (2012, '13).
But Cutler and Marshall's on-field chemistry unraveled in 2014 as the Bears tumbled to 5-11. Marshall caught only 61 passes for 721 yards, the second-lowest totals of his career. Cutler posted the second-highest passer rating (88.6) of his career, but the quarterback got benched in Week 16 in favor of Jimmy Clausen.
Marshall said his off-field relationship with Cutler also deteriorated during the season.
"We didn't talk much during the year. We still haven't talked," Marshall said. "That is sad. I don't think there is anybody in the league that had more chemistry than us. If we had a slant route, I was going to go in the hole and he would find me. We saw the game the right way. I felt like that is something we could have built on.
"You throw in Alshon Jeffery, Martellus Bennett, Matt Forte and our offensive line; I just felt the time was now [for the Bears to win]. They got rid of Brian Urlacher and didn't re-sign Brian Urlacher, and they start allocating most of the funds to the offensive side: That is a sign for me it is on us to lead the way. I felt like we didn't do that."
Marshall was asked to evaluate Cutler's play, specifically what the quarterback is missing.
"I don't know if he has been hit too many times," Marshall said. "He is one of the most-hit quarterbacks. That can take a toll on you. I'm 31. He is 32 years old. I felt like our window [in Chicago] was short because we were going to be good and our coaches were going to get taken away [and promoted elsewhere in the league if we won games] and guys were in contract situations and injuries.
"I wanted everybody to come together and try to take advantage of the opportunity. We didn't do it."
Marshall spoke after Jets practice Thursday and said his earlier comments will be the last he talks about his last season with the Bears.
"That was my last time talking about it. So, today is the last day. Moving on," he said, adding that "from here on out is it's [all] about the New York Jets."
ESPN.com's Kieran Darcy contributed to this report.