Still, Marshall maintained faith that coach Marc Trestman is doing what’s best for the team.
“The frustration comes from when we’re not winning and the offense isn’t moving the ball. It has nothing to do [with] me. It’s about I want to win,” Marshall said. “I’ve got a nice contract. I’ve been to Pro Bowls. I’ve made all-Pro. I want to win. Sometimes, the formula may go to me. But sometimes, whatever is best for the team, that’s what we need to do. So I’m always gonna be frustrated when our offense isn’t No. 1 in the league. I’m always gonna be frustrated when we’re losing. So yeah, I’m frustrated. We just lost two in a row.”
Marshall caught four passes for 30 yards and a touchdown in the loss, but quarterback Jay Cutler targeted him just five times, while throwing 13 balls in the direction of Alshon Jeffery, and six to Matt Forte.
Jeffery caught 10 passes for a franchise single-game record 218 yards, which Marshall said was “one of the only positives” of the club’s outing against the Saints.
Marshall faced double coverage for the majority of Sunday’s game, and said what New Orleans did defensively didn’t come as a surprise. Marshall admitted, “I’ve got to do a better job of putting myself in position to beat double coverage,” but there were times the receiver wasn’t even on the field and others where he served as a decoy or an extra blocker.
“They weren’t going to let him have a good day,” Cutler said of New Orleans’ defense. “They decided, ‘Hey, it’s not going to happen.’ They were going to take him out of the ball game. He still made some plays for us. He might be frustrated, but we just have to keep getting better and better, and he understands that.”
Asked for an explanation behind the way the club deployed him against the Saints, Marshall said, “You’ve got to ask Coach Trestman that.
“I try to just focus on what I can control. There’s times where it might be third down where I might be doing some chip blocking to help out the offensive line. I’ve just got to hang my hat on [the idea] that we’re doing what’s best for the team. There’s some times where I’m running some routes to pull the coverage.”
Marshall started the season catching 15 passes for 217 yards and two touchdowns in the first two games, but has since hauled in 16 passes for 171 yards and one TD in the last three contests.
“It’s really tough. I’m not going to lie to you,” Marshall said. “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.”
That wasn’t the plan for the Bears offensively, according to Trestman, who said Marshall is “always designated to get involved early” in the club’s passing game.
“I want to get Brandon the ball. We want to get Brandon the ball,” Trestman said. “There were a couple of shots early. Jay looked back and he was open a couple of times, then protection got in his face and he was forced to move, which was disappointing. That starts with me. I’ve got to do a better job of getting him involved.”
Can Chicago’s offense be successful with Marshall as a decoy?
“I don’t know, man,” Marshall said. “We’ve been struggling the past few weeks. Even the games we’ve won, the defense is scoring and they’ve played lights out. So you take away some of those plays we may not be in those games. As a receiver, you always want the ball. Your mentality is it’s always better when you’re getting it. But Coach Trestman is an offensive guru and Jay’s a good quarterback, and we’re gonna do what’s best for the team.”
In the past, Marshall made suggestions during games to Trestman and Cutler about how to better get the ball into his hands. According to Marshall, that has stopped because it takes him “out of my game.”
“Mentally, it was too much for me,” Marshall said. “So moving forward, I’m just gonna do my job and be a wide receiver. I believe in Coach Trestman and Jay and the offensive linemen and the guys around us will make the plays and do what’s best for the team. Sometimes, you communicate too much. I was too frustrated. There were times the ball came my way and I dropped it because I was so frustrated. So I think what’s best for me is to just stay where I’m supposed to be and that’s wide receiver. If I try to be a coach or try to discuss things, I may get us in trouble.”
Cutler, meanwhile, just hopes Marshall maintains faith in the system.
“It’s going to come,” Cutler said. “You can’t keep doubling him and letting another receiver go for 200 yards. It’s silly to keep doing that. He’s going to get his. He’s going to have to keep trusting us.”
- Joined ESPN in 2010
- Previously covered Jaguars and Redskins
- Played college football at West Texas A&M