By Adam Hoge-
HALAS HALL (CBS) By now, Brandon Marshall’s relationship with Jay Cutler has been well documented and it’s pretty clear: Marshall prefers Cutler to be his quarterback.
But as his friend, the Bears’ wide receiver is in full support of Cutler sitting out Monday’s game against the 49ers.
“Dealing with a concussion, if he wanted to play, I probably wouldn’t try to boycott him playing because I care not only about him but all the guys on offense,” Marshall said. “And concussions are serious so I’m really excited just to see him getting better, and also, with the staff and doctors, they are really taking care of him.”
In a week where the Bears have been thin on smart comments about concussions, Marshall sounded like the most informed Bear on the subject. And yet, when asked if the NFL should require players to sit out a week after a concussion, he said he wasn’t in a position to have an informed opinion.
“There’s life after football — family and raising your children — leaving your legacy there is more important than just a game,” Marshall said. “That being said, I’m not an expert on concussions and the effects. I understand what can happen after a concussion but to sit up here and say the NFL needs to mandate, I’m not in position to say that. I don’t know.”
Marshall continues to sound optimistic about Cutler and the Bears aren’t talking as if Cutler will miss more than one game.
“I think we’ll get Jay back sooner than later,” Marshall said.
The wide receiver also praised the Bears’ medical staff for its handling of all injuries.
“The good thing about being a Chicago Bear is I really love how the doctors and staff really put health first,” he said. “That means a lot as a player who plays a violent sport. I think (Michael) Bush said it the best yesterday. He has a kid now and there’s life after football.”
Jeffery Should Play Monday
At this point, it would be surprising if Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery didn’t play Monday. The rookie wideout was full-go in practice Friday for the first time since injuring his hand in Jacksonville Oct. 7 and head coach Lovie Smith said Jeffery has not had any setbacks.
The loss of the rookie has frankly been understated as he had clearly established himself as the team’s second best wide receiver before he got hurt.
“I mean it will just help period, getting a guy like that back,” Marshall said. “Don’t know if he’s going to go or how long he’s going to go, but he’s a great talent and whenever you have a guy like that on the field it just opens it up for some of the other guys.”
That includes taking the pressure off of Marshall. And Jeffery will also serve as a safe, big bodied option for quarterback Jason Campbell.
Could See Changes At Tight End
With five tight ends on the roster in recent weeks — now four with Brody Eldridge getting waived — its been surprising that Kellen Davis has received such a big leash.
It looks like that might be changing though.
Rookie Evan Rodriguez, drafted as a pass-catching tight end, was moved to fullback before the start of the season and has missed a lot of time because of a knee injury. He is getting healthier though and offensive coordinator Mike Tice hinted that Rodriguez could see more playing time Monday and might even get involved in the passing game.
“We’re encouraged,” Tice said. “He’s been banged up. In defense of him, and defense of him not getting many reps, he’s worked his way back in over the last three weeks. His reps have increased over the last three weeks and I see that as an encouraging sign that they will continue to increase.”
Asked if he would be used as a fullback, Tice responsed: “As a football player.”
In other words, that could involve Rodriguez catching passes.
“Well, we’ll have to find out Monday night,” Tice said. “We got to see if we can get someone else the ball besides Brandon (Marshall) so hopefully he’s one of the guys.”
Besides Jay Cutler and Shea McClellin being ruled out with concussions, defensive tackle Matt Toeaina once again missed practice with a calf injury that has been bothering him for two weeks. Brian Urlacher was held out of practice, but that was a “coaches decision”, which has been standard this season. Henry Melton was a full-participant despite a continuing back issue.
Adam is the Sports Editor for CBSChicago.com and specializes in coverage of the Bears, White Sox and college sports. He was born and raised in Lincoln Park and attended St. Ignatius College Prep before going off to the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he earned a Journalism degree. Follow him on Twitter @AdamHogeCBS and read more of his columns here.