Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
War of words and otherwise are nothing new in the fierce and historic Bears-Packers rivalry, but Brandon Marshall's Wednesday press conference went beyond that.
As if it wasn't great having Brandon Marshall on the Bears already, it just keeps getting better.
Marshall has almost single-handily re-written the franchise's single-season receiving marks, as well as having himself a career year.
I have already written that Marshall is the Bears MVP but after his Wednesday press conference I have a whole new respect for the guy as a player and as a team leader.
Brandon Marshall has that level of greatness that goes beyond what you might normally find in the average NFL player.
Marshall gets motivation from seemingly mundane things or at least things most fans would dismiss as just some quote from a player. Here is part of what Marshall said when asked about playing the Packers:
Tramon, I heard exactly what he was saying after the game, Woodson, those guys do a lot of talking, so this game is personal for me. We all know about the rivalry. We all know what’s at stake, so I’m going to play like it’s my last game and I’m pretty sure all the guys on the offensive side will do the same.
"We know Jay was looking to go to Marshall. You want to take that away from him early. He stopped looking at him, and at that point he probably didn’t start looking back at him until the end of the game. We got what we wanted out of the scheme."
"(Marshall) wasn’t open. What do you want [Cutler] to do?"
"We don’t need luck, we just need to be in position. Jay will throw us the ball."
Those quotes are hardly shots at Marshall as much as they are shots at quarterback Jay Cutler. Which is part of my point: Marshall is so invested in this team and his quarterback that it becomes personal for him when one of his teammates is criticized. I love that!
Obviously, football is the ultimate team sport but I just love that Marshall has become a leader and gets so motivated off comments directed at a teammate. Marshall has only been shutdown twice this season; once versus San Francisco and once versus the Green Bay Packers. In both contests he was held to only 2 catches and 21 and 24 yards, respectively.
Marshall is out for revenge; he wants to help his quarterback, as well as his team all while sticking it to the haters up north.
Marshall also used some props in his presser to make a point, a point I believe was directed inside the lockerroom as much as it was for the media and fans.
From Sean Jensen:
The Christmas tree looked weathered and withered, a single red ornament hanging from what looked like a struggling branch.
This was Brandon Marshall’s prop at his news conference Wednesday, an apt metaphor for the Bears’ season.
‘‘As a kid, it doesn’t matter how your Christmas tree looks,’’ Marshall said. ‘‘You’re still waiting for Christmas Day. You have hopes and dreams that Santa’s going to bring you those things you ask for.’’
Cheesy? Yes, of course, which is why it was better served to be used in front of the press rather than teammates. However, it can still be effective, he still got his point across. Despite things looking bad, the season on the brink, there is still hope and that is what this Bears team needs to hold on to.
Marshall is almost playing the part of Linus in "Charlie Brown Christmas." But instead of being the shy, quiet, thumb-sucking guy with a security blanket he is the 6'4" physically imposing guy with a reputation for hitting women and having a mental health disorder. But also like Linus, he's much more than that; he has wisdom, leadership, wit and he is more well-spoken than a lot of other players.
In fact, part of what makes Marshall's comments so great is that he really didn't say much that was controversial. He refused to go into specifics when pressed about what Woodson and Williams said.
Here is some more of what Marshall said:
Q: Wouldn’t 1-on-1 coverage be dumb?
BM: I don’t know, but the way some people talk is that they did that. I would love their play to back up their talk. But if they did, this game is not about stats it’s not about any of that, we just want to get the win. It’s personal so I want to impose my will this game and it doesn’t matter if that’s in the passing game or the running game. So whatever the formula is this game I want to get it done. I invite double and triple coverage, I just don’t like the talk afterwards of how great of a job the players did when it’s not man-to-man coverage.
Now, Capers would probably be crazy to allow his guys to take on Marshall one-on-one as Marshall is wishing, because obviously Marshall would have the upper hand. He feels like the Packers took credit for shutting him down one-on-one in the first game when that was not the case; they used safeties, bracket coverage and triple coverage to slow him down.
Marshall also said that the Packers defense aren't physical compared to a defense like Seattle and he might be onto something there. This is what Tramon Willams had to say in November about covering Marshall;
"If there’s anybody who likes to bend and break the rules, it probably would be Brandon Marshall," Williams said. "Obviously as a big receiver, you want to be physical. Some of the things he does he shouldn’t be able to do against press coverage. He’s one of those guys where he wants you to put your hands on him so he’s going to grab you and throw you.
"I’m like, ‘Mr. Ref, he’s not fast enough to get on top of me. How do you think he got on top?’ He has some tricks to him. He’s a physical specimen. For a guy like that to do stuff like that also is kind of hard."
I think Marshall will be hoping to see Tramon Williams on an island against him in the redzone come Sunday. He's got the motivation and all I know is, I'm glad he wears navy and orange.