In yesterday's game notes, I may have made a couple comments that sounded like I wasn't on board with throwing to Brandon Marshall on all five of Jay Cutler's pass attempts. Not the case at all.
Now, I have to say that being able to get whatever receivers you can involved in the game is a good thing; spreading the ball around means the opponent has that many more players to pay attention to, which might open up more opportunities for the game breaking targets (like Marshall).
But that doesn't mean you don't throw to that game-breaker when it's there.
Let's say your team picks up a guy with these kinds of numbers...
Does that look like a fairly useful player to you? In the slightest? Just a bit? Someone you might want to get the ball to multiple times a game?
That's what Brandon Marshall's done in the last six years - two of them with barely a quarterback in Miami and three of them with the Bears' current signal caller, Jay Cutler. Brandon Marshall makes those big statistics because he makes some really damn good plays, and many of them in less than ideal circumstances, because he's good enough to do so.
You'd be crazy to not want Marshall to get the ball frequently. The theory behind a great receiver is that having him provides a threat to open up the passing game not just for himself, but for the other players on the team benefiting from the attention he gets. But if that receiver puts up monster stats with consistency, that's a positive outcome as well.
Does Cutler lock on to a receiver too quickly? On occasion, it looks like he does - but does that mean he shouldn't throw to Marshall? Not at all, because Marshall's a big scary receiver that makes big scary plays and helps puts points on the board. And when Marshall does get covered, ideally, somebody else needs to be open to make a play. Alshon Jeffery. Martellus Bennett. Matt Forte. Earl Bennett. Joe Anderson. Marquess Wilson. Eric Weems. Terrence Toliver. Brittan Golden. Josh Lenz. Guys that have to find ways to get open in single coverage when Marshall gets extra attention.
So I may have made it sound like Cutler throwing to Marshall is a bad thing. Absolutely not. Brandon Marshall gets the throws he gets because he's good enough to get them and more often than not to do something with them. But the important thing for Cutler is to not forget that he has other options when they're available.
Something tells me, though, that if Marshall has to catch another hundred balls for the offense to go, he's up for it. And please do.