When Phil Emery took over as general manager of the Chicago Bears, he seemed to understand that the league was becoming more and more dynamic from an offensive standpoint, and that his predecessor, Jerry Angelo, had deeply entrenched the team in a very old-school, traditionally defensive philosophy.
Not to say that Angelo's approach was outdated-- we still know that a dominant defense can win championships, but that ship seemed to have sailed a few years earlier in Chicago, and it seemed that things had simply become stagnant.
So Angelo was replaced by Emery, who quickly went to work on rebuilding the offensive line to help get the offense-- headlined by Jay Cutler and Matt Forte-- get up and running.
Emery also infamously replaced definsive head coach Lovie Smith with an exciting new prospect Marc Trestman, who in turn had a lot of folks excited about turning the offense around. After all, it had been years since the Bears had an offense that could put any points on the board, and one could even say decades.
When Emery and team brought Brandon Marshall into the mix, it seemed like a machine was being built that could potentially be one of the best in the league. Marshall and Cutler had a previously-established relationship, one that was both professional and personal, and their chemistry from their time in Denver was very well-known.
Of course, fast-forward a couple seasons, and the Bears had a complete meltdown under the leadership of Emery and Trestman, and the Cutler-Marshall chemistry seemed to have broken down. We heard of locker room tirades, leaked information regarding Cutler's relationship with the team-- things got publicly ugly, which was something that never really happened when Lovie was running things.
After Marshall got traded to the New York Jets in the offseason, rumors swirled regarding why. Of course, he suffered a significant injury to his ribs in December that cost him the rest of the season, and that could have been some of the reasoning behind him being traded. We don't know how well he was healing, and the team could have seen him as damaged goods.
But the other side to things had to do with the behind-the scenes drama that unfolded, and of course Marshall was right in the middle of it. He could be heard in the locker room after yet another late-season lost screaming loudly, cursing, and having what many described as a frustrated meltdown.
How much of that was geared towards Cutler? We don't know, but recently Marshall was asked about it.
Here's what he had to say:
"There is a culture in the league that you keep everything in-house. But for me last year, I felt like, when we are going on 10 years, nine, 10 years in the league -- it's time to get it. I felt like I was the only one in the organization that had the 'huevos' to hold him accountable. It didn't go the way I wanted it to go.
"We didn't talk much during the year. We still haven't talked. That is sad. I don't think there is anybody in the league that had more chemistry than us. If we had a slant route, I was going to go in the hole and he would find me. We saw the game the right way. I felt like that is something we could have built on.
"You throw in Alshon Jeffery, Martellus Bennett, Matt Forte and our offensive line; I just felt the time was now. They got rid of Brian Urlacher and didn't re-sign Brian Urlacher, and they start allocating most of the funds to the offensive side: That is a sign for me it is on us to lead the way. I felt like we didn't do that."
On his current views of Cutler:
"I don't know if he has been hit too many times, He is one of the most-hit quarterbacks. That can take a toll on you. I'm 31. He is 32 years old. I felt like our window was short because we were going to be good and our coaches were going to get taken away [and promoted elsewhere in the league if we won games and guys were in contract situations and injuries.
"I wanted everybody to come together and try to take advantage of the opportunity. We didn't do it."
Marshall has stated that this will be the last time he speaks on this subject and is ready to focus on the Jets.
What do you think-- did his out-spoken nature against his QB lead to his eventual trade?