By Adam Hoge-
HALAS HALL (CBS) — Brandon Marshall easily could have lashed out at Brandon Meriweather after what the Redskins safety said about him Monday.
“He feel like I need to be kicked out of the league? I feel like people who beat their girlfriends should be kicked out, too,” Meriweather said in response to Marshall taking exception to two illegal hits the safety had against the Bears, which resulted in a one-game suspension.
Instead though, Marshall took the high road and brushed off Meriweather’s comments, which earned him respect from his teammates Tuesday.
“We’ve all made mistakes. I’ve made mistakes. Every guy on this team has made a mistake,” Jay Cutler said. “So I think Brandon is looking towards the future. He’s learned from everything he’s done in his past. And he took the high road. That’s just the guy he is these days. He’s a high character guy. So I applaud him for that. And everyone on this team supports Brandon on and off the field.”
Tight end Martellus Bennett, who has formed a tight friendship with Marshall since joining the Bears in the offseason, was not surprised by the wide receiver’s ability to brush the comments aside.
“Brandon is a great guy,” the tight end said. “In life, we all work to become better people. Life is all about growth, whether it’s becoming a better brother, a better father, a better friend, a better husband. We all try to grow in some area of life every day and I think yesterday, he added a little bit of growth with his inner-me.
“I think it’s a good thing for him because we’re constantly trying to grow even as we get older. It’s just like trees, they never stop growing. You can’t see how much growth they have sometimes, but they’re always growing. He got a little sunshine on his leaves yesterday so it’s pretty good for him.”
More From The Running Game
With Jay Cutler likely to miss at least one game with his groin injury, there’s speculation that the Bears might rely on the running game more. That speculation might be off base, however, as the team insists the game plan won’t change much with Josh McCown under center.
That said, running back Matt Forte does expect to get the ball at little more going forward, but for different reasons.
“It’s average right now,” Forte said about the running game. “We’ve been doing well. We haven’t really run the ball a whole lot like probably we’re going to when we get at home when the weather changes. I expect the second half of the season that—we are being efficient on first down gaining positive yards.”
The Bears are clearly more of a pass-first team now and they haven’t always been committed to the run this season despite getting some big runs from Forte, including his 50-yard touchdown against the Redskins. He hasn’t received more than 20 carries in a single game and has not run for more than 95 yards in a game despite a solid 4.6 yards per carry average.
“We have gotten a lot of big plays out of the running game. We’ve got three 50-yard runs, or something like that. I think we can continue to do that, continue to get those chunks of yardage in the running game as we go down the stretch,” Forte said.
– Special teams will play a role in the decision on who will fill in for Lance Briggs at weak side linebacker, which is another reason why rookie Khaseem Greene appears to have a leg up on the job. Greene, Blake Costanzo and Jerry Franklin are all special teamers, but Costanzo is a leader on the unit so it appears unlikely he would be taken off the unit. The starting linebackers typically don’t participate on special teams as well.
– The Bears’ nickel unit will also have to be adjusted with Briggs out as Jon Bostic will likely join James Anderson on the unit. It still hasn’t been decided which of those two linebackers will handle the calls on the field.
– Charles Tillman (knee) did not practice again Tuesday. Wednesday is an off day before the official game-week starts Thursday, so concern about Tillman’s status against the Packers should not start until Thursday at the earliest.
Adam Hoge covers the Bears for CBSChicago.com and is a frequent contributor to 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter at @AdamHoge.