Last year Brandon Marshall came in at #2 in my Ten Most Important Chicago Bears series. It was his first year in Chicago and we needed to see that the rapport between him and Jay Cutler was still strong. We also had to make sure that his latest off season incident, and some of the character questions about him was in the past.
He and Jay still have it, and Marshall tackled his off field concerns head on. It's safe to say that the two 3rd round picks used to pry him from the Dolphins was well spent.
Cutler targeted Marshall a ridiculously high 181 times in 2012. That number has to come down, and it will. He could still flirt with 90-100 catches, but his catch percentage should be better.
The great thing about having a legit #1 receiver on the field is it provides more room for the other receivers on the team. Defenses will occasionally double team Marshall, they will roll coverage to his side of the field, and they will be cognizant of where ever he lines up, be it outside or in the slot.
If a safety cheats over to Marshall's side, new tight end Martellus Bennett will have an even bigger seam to run down field. If Marshall is double teamed, that leaves 6'3" Alshon Jeffery with single coverage. If zones cheat to him, slot WR Earl Bennett will have bigger holes to operate in.
Part of the reason that Marshall and Cutler have such a good bond is obviously their friendship, but Marshall has the talent to snatch the ball from where ever Cutler puts it. (If I were playing QB, I'd befriend the linebacker looking wide out too.)
At 6'4" and 230 pounds, he has a size and strength advantage over most defensive backs in the league. On those occasions where Cutler just has to chuck it up there, he has Marshall to go get it.
Be sure to check out the full Top 10 Most Important Bears Story Stream, and let us know how our list is stacking up against your list.
More from Windy City Gridiron:
- The Bears Den: July 18, 2013 - Offseason news and notes
- From the Archive, 1993 - Brett Favre, Bears Player of the Week
- Could 2013 be Charles Tillman's last year in Chicago?
- The 10 Most Important Bears of 2013 - #6 Lance Briggs
- Jay Cutler had a new deal nixed when the Chicago Bears hired Marc Trestman
- Story Stream - The Top 10 Most Important Chicago Bears of 2013
- Franchise QBs: Stafford, Cutler and the teams they're married to