By Adam Hoge-
(CBS) Much was made of Brandon Marshall’s comments Tuesday and I guess that’s fair when a No. 1 receiver says he feels rushed coming off hip surgery and is still trying to figure out his role in the offense.
But I really don’t think anything Marshall said is worth worrying about in the next 11 days before the season starts.
To me, there’s three components to what Marshall said Tuesday and all three can be explained.
1. Questioning his role on the offense.
Marshall was asked about the offense being suited for Jay Cutler and this was his response: “I mean, we’ll see. It’s still early. I’m still trying to figure out my role and my place in this offense, trying to get healthy and we’ll see where it takes us.”
It’s an odd answer considering Marshall was given an opportunity to gloat about his quarterback, which he usually doesn’t hesitate to do. But instead of taking the bait, he gave a vague response about his own role in the offense. To be honest though, I didn’t even catch the part about his role until I went back and listened to his comments again, and even after listening to it twice, I just feel like Marshall was going to the cliche bucket and maybe pulled out the wrong one. To me, he was really just saying he’s still getting used to the offense. No big deal.
As for why he chose to answer the question the way he did instead of talking about how well everything is going — which he usually does even when it isn’t — I think that’s pretty obvious. He had arguably his worst game as a Bear in Oakland last week and isn’t happy about it. I think it’s really as simple as that.
2. The hip is still an issue.
Here’s what Marshall said when asked if he’s received enough reps in the preseason:
“No I haven’t. It’s one of those things where I’m just trying to get healthy for Week 1. So you’ve got to have a game plan coming off surgery, a third hip surgery. So yeah, I’m not where I want to be right now. It’s a little frustrating. But we’ll see.”
This is significant, but I think it’s more a longterm problem than it is an issue this year. Marshall went on to say that conditioning is the biggest factor right now and Jay Cutler admitted his No. 1 wide receiver is “a little behind” conditioning-wise.
But we knew the hip injury was going to linger into the season as soon as Marshall showed up to training camp and said it was something he was going to have to monitor. Unless it’s re-injured, Marshall will play through the hip and still put up big numbers this season.
Of greater concern is the longterm impact. Hip surgeries are tricky and he’s now had three of them. It’s something that could limit the 29-year-old’s career and right now he has two years left on his deal with the Bears (including this season).
3. He feels rushed.
“It’s one of those things where you may be rushed a little bit and some people might think I need to be farther on than where I am. So it’s a little frustrating not being where I want to be right now and maybe being pushed a little bit.”
It’s a little unclear here if he’s saying he feels rushed by the Bears or simply rushed by the fact that the season is about to start. Either way, the reality is that he is rushed — the season is just 11 days away.
The important thing here is that he was talking about his conditioning and not specifically the current state of his hip. And when it comes to conditioning, it’s perfectly OK for the coaching/conditioning staff to rush him. It’s their job to get him in shape for Sept. 8. We’ve seen enough from Marshall in the preseason to show that he’s healthy enough to play and now he just needs to be ready to play a full game. He should feel rushed.
The bottom-line? While Marshall’s comments Tuesday were interesting and a little odd, they’re not that big of a deal.
– Jay Cutler’s and Marc Trestman’s reaction to Marshall’s comments, plus a good indication that Marquess Wilson will make the team.
– There are only a handful of players who can determine their fate Thursday night against the Browns, but Brandon Hardin thinks he’s one of them.
– Jeff Joniak is impressed by Alshon Jeffery, as well as the blitzes the defense has shown.
The Bears will have a shortened practice at 10:45 a.m. at Halas Hall, with those playing against the Browns going through their usual walk-thrus the day before a game. The rest of the team — mainly your Week 1 starters — will continue to prepare for the start of the regular season.
Adam Hoge covers the Bears for CBSChicago.com and is a frequent contributor to 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter at @AdamHoge.