Jeff Dickerson | ESPNChicago.com
CHICAGO — Bears quarterback Jay Cutler said he spoke with frustrated wide receiver Brandon Marshall on Monday and that he believes Marshall is “in a great place” after catching only four passes for 30 yards and one touchdown in the team’s 26-18 home loss to the New Orleans Saints.
Marshall was targeted a season-low five times in the loss and expressed his frustration after the game.
“I talked to him today, and he’s in a great place,” Cutler said on ESPN 1000’s “Jay Cutler Show.” “I’m excited for [Marshall] and what the future holds for him. He is frustrated. … I’m frustrated. … I think everyone is frustrated when you lose two games in a row like that. That being said, I’ve known him for a long time and know what kind of ultra-competitor that he is, and when you lose a game, any competitor will think, ‘Hey, what if I’d done more and what if I had more touches? Could I have impacted the game more than I already did?’ I just think he’s kind of feeling that.
“Other than that, he’s been great and is going to continue to be great for us. He knows at the end of the day because he’s a very smart guy that those other guys are getting catches because he is on the field. He’s attracting a lot of attention out there. The way I see it, if those other guys keep making catches, they are going to have to come off Brandon and help on some of these other guys. That will lead to more one-on-ones.”
Marshall opened the regular season with back-to-back 100-yard receiving games but has caught only 16 passes for 171 yards and one touchdown in the past three weeks. Marshall took a backseat in Week 5 to Alshon Jeffery, who hauled in 10 passes for a team-record 218 yards and one touchdown on 13 targets.
“It’s really tough. I’m not going to lie to you,” Marshall said Sunday. “Like I said last week after the game, my No. 1 goal going into the work week was to work on my body language when I’m not in the game. It’s been like that the first few weeks, and I kind of let myself down and the guys around me with my body language. So I got better at that today. They took me out the game, and that’s one positive for myself — just try to keep my head up and keep myself ready for when I’m available for the team whenever they call my number; I just try to be there because if you beat yourself up too much or you get too down or too frustrated at the play calling or coverage, the ball comes your way and you drop it.
“So I’m proud of myself today. Sorry for patting myself on the back, but there’s not too much that I can hang my hat on today. We lost. I got shut out.”
Cutler doesn’t believe Marshall’s frustrations will carry over into the Bears’ important home game Thursday night against the New York Giants. Marshall is still on pace to have 99 receptions for the year, despite his recent modest numbers.
“I think a lot of this has gotten blown out of proportion a bit,” Cutler said. “He’s been working with us really well throughout the weeks, and whether he catches 14 balls or four balls, we expect Brandon to come to work and be our trigger man and lead that group of receivers.
“He’s been All-Pro. … He’s been to Pro Bowls. … He’s caught balls. … He’s done everything under the sun. He wants to go to the playoffs. The only way for that to happen and for us to get to where we want to go is for Alshon, Earl [Bennett], Matt Forte and Martellus Bennett to help us get there. We can’t throw 115 balls to Brandon and expect to be one-dimensional. He understands that better than I do.”