Chicago Bears: Brandon Marshall

One day after being discharged from Northwestern Memorial Hospital, injured Bears receiver Brandon Marshall spent time Monday doing “The Brandon Marshall Show” on ESPN 1000.

Here are a few quick-hitting snippets from his hour-long segment:

[+] EnlargeBrandon Marshall
Scott Cunningham/Getty ImagesOn his Monday radio show, Brandon Marshall called this season "one of the most stressful years ever."
You’re out for the season. What are your plans now?

Marshall: I’ve got to really sit back, really think some things through, and really digress a little bit, do some self-assessment because I’m at a loss for what really happened this year. I’m getting older. I want to win. Just got to figure out what the heck is going on here.

Will that involve going back to Halas Hall to sit down with the coaches or general manager Phil Emery?

Marshall: I learned a long time ago they don’t listen to us. So for me, I always sit down with the coaches at the end of the year; just to go through an assessment to see where I was, how I can help the team better. So I’ll do what I normally do. I’m sure that will come up in conversation. But they don’t listen to us. For me, I want to win. I want to win here in Chicago. So I do want to hear like, what the heck are we going to do moving forward because this is unacceptable.

Are you going to do some soul searching?

Marshall: Well, I’m not going to do any soul searching. I just want to hear thoughts from other people, like what is going on? What happened? Even like for me, besides three games, 2 games I can really say I really wasn’t in it because of my ankle. But as far as production, my production is at a career low, and that’s unacceptable. I just don’t get it. I don’t understand it. I want to be able to do more for the team. So I want to figure out moving forward how can I do more? How can I help? That’s ridiculous. I’m used to catching 100 balls and really leaving a fingerprint on the game, each game, like dominating. I just didn’t feel like I was a part of that this year. So that sucks.

What have you looked at?

Marshall: You look at our offense on paper and how we’re built, we shouldn’t be in this situation. But we are. And it’s been that way for a long time. I can’t see myself going through another year like that. This is one of the most stressful years ever. So I think we have everybody we need to turn it around. But I want to hear from the other guys, like how can we do that?

What will you do from now until the end of the season?

Marshall: The reason I’m out today is if I’m at home, I’m sitting down. So this gives me an opportunity to walk around. [Doctors] told me every time I get an opportunity to walk around and just move a little bit, that’s why I’m doing it. So I’m going to do that when I need to, but pretty much throughout the day, I’m just going to sit at home and rest. I’m sure I’ll make it in [to Halas Hall] a couple times before the year is over.

What is the time frame for recovery?

Marshall: The doctors said it’s four to six weeks, maybe eight weeks. They said that about my ankle. I was supposed to be out four to six weeks and I played the next week. I’m really intrigued by the human body and what it’s capable of doing. I’m really a fan of that mind-over-matter thing. So even though I’m on the IR, I’m going to push myself this week to see if this were the Super Bowl or something this week, would I be able to make it out there on the field? I want to see how my body responds to this whole procedure and this whole deal as if I was still going out there to play. I’m going to take some notes.

Well, isn’t a collapsed lung a little different than an ankle sprain?

Marshall: Well, the lung, it recovers faster than the break. There are reports out there that Tony Romo is playing with some ribs and things like that. There are other guys who have played with it. So I guess what we’re waiting on is the lung. But the ribs are all about pain tolerance.
Folks bill the upcoming matchup between the Chicago Bears and New Orleans Saints on "Monday Night Football" as the Underachiever Bowl, and receiver Brandon Marshall doesn't disagree with that description of these two disappointing clubs.

In fact, Marshall believes the Bears and Saints don't deserve the national stage of ESPN's "Monday Night Football."

Marshall
"Yeah, they should take us both off 'Monday Night Football' right now," Marshall said Monday during "The Brandon Marshall Show" on ESPN 1000.

Both teams enter the upcoming clash at Soldier Field with 5-8 records. The only difference is the Saints are still vying for a postseason spot, while the Bears were officially eliminated from contention on Sunday by virtue of Detroit's victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

"It does shock me, but this story is old," Marshall said. "We've been dealing with this story for weeks now."

Here's today's spin around the Chicago Bears beat:

-- ESPNChicago.com's Jeff Dickerson brings us his stock report. In it, he's got the stock of Bears ownership falling.
Dickerson writes: The Bears have now missed the playoffs seven times in the past eight seasons. When a charter franchise of the National Football League reaches the postseason as infrequently as teams such as the Jacksonville Jaguars (also one postseason berth in eight years), the problems run deep. Since the Bears fired [Mike] Ditka as coach at the end of the 1992 season, the club that resides in the NFL's second largest media market has qualified for the playoffs a grand total of five times. And people wonder why the 1985 Bears are treated like rock stars to this day. At this rate, Chicago will be celebrating the 40th anniversary of Super Bowl XX before the Vince Lombardi Trophy returns to Halas Hall. The Bears are going backward. This is easily the worst season of Bears football since Lovie Smith's first year in 2004 (5-11). The difference is Smith's team 10 years ago had zero expectations. The 2014 Bears were supposed to be contenders. Instead, fans are forced to watch the club simply play out the string. Blame whomever you want, but the real problems originate at the very top. What else needs to be said?

Can't say I disagree one bit with Dickerson's assessment here. Chicago's fans deserve better.

-- Dan Wiederer of the Chicago Tribune writes that Bears coach Marc Trestman remained firm in his support of quarterback Jay Cutler. With three games remaining, it will be difficult for the Bears to maintain a working environment conducive to success given all the criticism and speculation.

-- Shuffling along the offensive line continues. Ryan Groy is expected to start at left guard against the Saints.

-- Adam L. Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times leads off his notebook with a nice item about recently-signed kicker Jay Feely.

-- Rick Morrissey at the Chicago Sun-Times wants fans to adopt Cleveland's quarterback Johnny Manziel as an escape from the disappointment of Bears quarterback Jay Cutler.
Morrissey writes: I'm not suggesting that the Bears trade for Manziel. Johnny Football and George "What's a Football?" McCaskey together in marriage? It would never happen. What I am suggesting is that we here in Chicago adopt the Cleveland Browns quarterback, purely for escape purposes.

Thirteen games into a miserable Bears season and six seasons into Cutler's erratic career in Chicago, the mind looks for ways to stop the pain. Mine has landed on Manziel, the athletic, hard-partying, polarizing rookie whose career probably will end in a spectacular ball of flame. That's pain-killing entertainment, folks.
Brandon Marshall believes Jay Cutler is "more than capable of getting it done," but he also agreed with notion the Chicago Bears are experiencing buyer's remorse, after signing the quarterback last January to a seven-year contract worth $126.7 million.

Asked about a report Dec. 7 on NFL Network's NFL GameDay Morning in which Chicago was described as grappling with buyer's remorse regarding Cutler, Marshall mentioned that all the club's issues aren't the quarterback's fault, but also said he understands the situation.

"That's tough, man," Marshall said Monday during "The Brandon Marshall Show" on ESPN 1000. "It doesn't always fall on him. I guess that's why those guys are the highest paid players out there because when you win and everything is going good, they get all the glory. When it's bad, they take more than what they should take. But I can understand that. As far as a business man, I would have buyer's remorse, too."

Cutler, 31, leads the league in turnovers (a league-high 15 interceptions and six fumbles), but currently owns the highest passer rating (91.7) of his nine-year NFL career. Bears coach Marc Trestman on Monday remained committed to Cutler as the club's starting quarterback.

"Jay and I talk daily," Trestman said. "I think he has a very good understanding of how we feel about him. There's a lot of noise out there. We're all aware of that. Jay Cutler as long as he's been healthy has been the guy we've had in there and wanted to play. There's been no [indecision] there whatsoever."

The Bears acquired Cutler from the Denver Broncos in a 2009 trade, and since the quarterback's arrival in Chicago, the team has advanced to the postseason only once (2010). In five-plus seasons with the Bears, Cutler has played in four offensive systems for four coordinators.

Change could be on the horizon again at the conclusion of the season, but Marshall hopes the front office keeps the current offensive personnel together.

"It's not all Jay's fault. It's not all the coaches' faults. It's not all the offensive line or the wide receivers. It's a group thing," Marshall said. "We have everything. We have a quarterback that's more than capable. We have some stud wide receivers, the best tight end in the league. We have a great offensive line. We the best all-around back. We have great coaches. I would love to get it right with the guys we have. That's myself, Alshon [Jeffery], Coach Trestman, Jay Cutler, Matt Forte, all of our offensive line. I would love another opportunity to get it right with our guys."
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Rah-rah leadership makes minimal impact, but when a player speaks with deeds on the field, it galvanizes teams, especially sputtering ones such as the Chicago Bears.

[+] Enlarge Brandon Marshal
AP Photo/Nam Y. HuhThe lung and rib injuries Brandon Marshall suffered Thursday seem likely to sideline him for the rest of the season.
That's what the club will miss without Brandon Marshall in the lineup the last three games of what's been a forgettable season. He was still in a hospital Friday receiving treatment for a lung injury that accompanied a pair of fractured ribs suffered Thursday night in Chicago's loss to the Dallas Cowboys in front of a national audience.

"You could see it last night," Bears coach Marc Trestman said of Marshall's impact. "He lifted our football team. He's certainly one of the best communicators and charismatic guys we have on our football team. He brings life to everything we do."

It's sorely needed for this Bears team fast on the way to flatline.

Just after halftime of a 41-28 thumping, an ambulance drove away from Soldier Field with Marshall sitting in the back, the result of the receiver taking a knee into the lower right side of his back and midsection, after hauling in a 15-yard reception on fourth down to move the chains and breathe life back into the offense.

Two plays later, Jay Cutler hit Martellus Bennett for a 12-yard touchdown to tie the score at 7 after the extra-point kick.

"It's a big loss. Guys have got to step up in his place and play," running back Matt Forte said. "You can't replace a guy like Brandon. He was having a good game, too; had a big fourth-down catch and got hit in the ribs. Tough break."

Officially, the Bears ruled out Marshall for next Monday night's game against the New Orleans Saints and plan to make a determination on the best course of action for the receiver once more information is obtained regarding his condition. But sources told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter that Marshall is out for the remainder of the season. That certainly makes sense with the team sitting at 5-8 with nothing left to play for other than pride, especially when also considering broken bones typically take several weeks to heal.

Marshall caught three passes for 61 yards prior to suffering the injury, and the case could be made that Chicago's offense never recovered from the receiver leaving the game.

On the team's first drive coming out of the half, Forte fumbled after making a 21-yard reception and Dallas converted the turnover into a touchdown three plays later.

The Bears didn't put points on the board again until the first play of the fourth quarter. By then, they trailed 35-7.

Instead of the Michael Jackson "Thriller" season Marshall often discussed producing in 2014, it's been a year in which he's fought through multiple injuries. The rib and lung injuries marked the third time this season Marshall suffered an injury that would force him to miss time. A high right ankle sprain in the season-opening loss to Buffalo slowed Marshall earlier on. Then in a Nov. 9 loss to the Green Bay Packers, Marshall sprained his left ankle.

"It's been a tough year for everybody," center Roberto Garza said. "Him especially, and he's been battling through it week in and week out. It shows what kind of character he has."
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Here are five quick questions with Chicago Bears receiver Brandon Marshall:

What’s your mindset going into this week's game?

Marshall: Beat Dallas. Yeah, we’ve got a big game, prime time (Thursday night). So we’ve definitely got to put our best game forward, if that makes any sense.

Marshall
Is the team’s current situation more difficult for the younger players?

Marshall: I think it’s easier for young players because they’re so green. Some of these guys probably don’t understand or probably don’t even know who’s in our division. I know when I first got into the league, I was just out there running around and it was Kansas City, Oakland, San Diego. I think I figured out Kansas City was in our division probably like Week 9. So when you get older, it hurts a little more. I’m not saying it doesn’t hurt those younger guys. But you look at the game a little differently as you grow.

Personally, what can you get out of these last few games?

Marshall: Well, mathematically, we’re not out of it. It’s a long shot, may even take a miracle. We’ve still got to continue to play. It is our job. For me, and just like everyone else in Chicago, we want to win. It’s just tough right now for us to be in the position we’re in right now: maybe or maybe not playing for something. I don’t know. The season’s almost over. We’re just not very good right now. We’ve just got to continue to work.

What do you see out of Dallas’ defense?

Marshall: Those guys are playing. I know there were a lot of questions before this season. You look at where they ended last year, even where they started this year, and coach got those guys really playing, man. It reminds me of a really good defense, man. They’re just playing really good, and it seems they’re all doing their part. It’s fun to watch, and it’s going to be hard to play against this Thursday. It’s a new team. Look at us. We were a top-10 offense and now we’re not. So every year it changes. At the beginning of the season, they were a totally different defense. Now, they’re one of the best defenses out there. You just can’t look at the Philadelphia game and be tricked, because those guys are really good.

Is there a cumulative effect with all the losses the Bears have experienced?

Marshall: It’s definitely tough, but all I’m focused on is Dallas this week. If you continue to think about those things, it’ll definitely affect you in a negative way. So I’m onto Dallas, and that’s where my focus is.
Hopefully, your Thanksgiving turkey went down smoother than the Chicago Bears' 34-17 loss Thursday to the Detroit Lions.

Let’s take a quick spin around the Chicago Bears beat:

-- ESPNChicago.com’s Jon Greenberg captures a scene of disappointment in the locker room after Chicago’s loss to the Detroit Lions. The Bears simply aren’t receiving return on their investment on the offensive side of the ball.
Greenberg writes: The future is going to be a hot debate over the next month, as the 5-7 Bears face three playoff contenders at home, including the Lions again, before finishing the season in what should be a frigid, unwatchable game at Minnesota.

Changes will be made for 2015, that's for sure. What they will be might depend on how the team comes down the stretch.

But the present is clear: The highly touted individual talent on offense doesn't equal team success. It sure doesn't add up to points. The Bears are averaging 21 points per game. That's truly embarrassing, considering the money allocated to that side of the ball and the hire of Marc Trestman.

"The talent we have on the team, we're definitely underachieving right now," Matt Forte said. "Some guys got to do some soul-searching for the rest of the season to plan on how they're going to play the rest of these games."

-- ESPNChicago.com’s Jeff Dickerson runs down the five things we learned in Chicago’s loss to the Lions.

--Matt Forte wasn’t happy about his role in the offense, and understandably so considering he carried just five times in the loss to the Lions.

-- Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune takes a look at the team’s continued ineptitude on offense.
Biggs writes: That gets us back to what has troubled the Bears most all season. Sure, Matthew Stafford sliced apart the secondary for 390 yards — 146 to Calvin Johnson — and the Lions rolled up 474 yards of offense but the most confounding and problematic aspect of the Bears remains rooted on the offensive side.

The Bears were supposed to win games with offense, not defense. Before you say the defense isn't keeping them in games, realize blowout losses have been just as much the result of offensive incompetence.

-- Rick Morrissey of the Chicago Sun-Times might be on to something here.
Morrissey writes: A fiction has risen up around the Bears. It says they are too talented to be flailing the way they have flailed most of this season. Subscribing to that fiction allows you to believe they should be better than they are. And once you believe that, you’re free to think they’re not that far from being competitive.

So why make changes, the thinking goes. Stay the course. Trust me, the Bears will, heading nowhere.

There’s no point anymore in calling for heads that aren’t going to roll. Not Phil Emery’s. Not Marc Trestman’s. Not Jay Cutler’s. The Bears have anesthetized everyone into surrender. Their fans might as well sleep the sleep of the dead, like their team. Ownership is not going to make significant changes.
DETROIT -- Observed and heard in the locker room after Chicago's 34-17 loss to Detroit at Ford Field:

Young
Inconsistency on defense played a major role in the Bears' loss to the Detroit Lions, and despite the club's 5-7 record, the players in the locker room seemed even-keeled, but that's a product of professionalism according to defensive end Willie Young.

"No frustration, no frustration," Young said. "I'm not frustrated one bit. You have to be a professional. If you get frustrated, to me that's like being a wimp."

Quick conversation: Cornerback Tim Jennings and defensive end Jared Allen stood in one corner of the locker room discussing different aspects of the game. The conversation wasn't animated, and it appeared the two were talking strategy.

Marshall cuts it short: Receiver Brandon Marshall spent less than two minutes addressing the media at his locker in the aftermath of the game, and the tenor of his remarks were of extreme disappointment as opposed to anger. Marshall caught six passes for 42 yards.
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- The Chicago Bears officially listed receivers Alshon Jeffery (hamstring) and Brandon Marshall (ankle) as probable for Sunday’s matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Soldier Field.

The club ruled out defensive end Trevor Scott (knee), receiver Chris Williams (hamstring) and linebacker Darryl Sharpton (hamstring), while listing right tackle Jordan Mills (ribs), guard Eben Britton (illness), and cornerback Demontre Hurst (knee) as questionable.

Rookie defensive tackle Ego Ferguson (illness) is also probable.

Williams’ absence against the Bucs will set the stage for Marc Mariani to take over as the club’s primary kickoff and punt returner.

“He’s worked hard this week and he’ll be returning for us, both punts and kickoffs,” Bears coach Marc Trestman said. “He’s had a reliable week, picked up things he needed to pick up to get us going in the return, and we’re all feeling good about that.”

Mills’ availability, meanwhile, remains in question. If Mills can’t play against the Bucs, Michael Ola will replace him at right tackle. Mills has missed two of the team’s last three games, including last week’s win over the Minnesota Vikings.

“Right now we’re just going to see where he’s at,” Trestman said of Mills. “We’re not going to get into that point right now, just see where he is and make that determination over the next 48 hours.”

Buccaneers will beat Bears

November, 21, 2014
Nov 21
1:00
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The Chicago Bears finally captured a victory last week, but they did it in a game Jay Cutler turned over the ball multiple times, which marks the first time that’s happened all year. Can the Bears escape the Buccaneers and former coach Lovie Smith in the same fashion, because surely he knows Cutler’s weaknesses enough to force him into turnovers?

During his tenure in Chicago, Smith gained a reputation for being able to motivate his players to play for him. The same should be expected of Smith in Tampa Bay. So the Bucs’ 2-8 record shouldn’t be a major consideration in this game.

The Bucs are coming off a road win at Washington and are just two wins out of first place in the NFC South.

The Bears, meanwhile, are allowing a league-worst 29 points per game, and let’s remember this team hasn’t allowed fewer than 20 points in consecutive games since 2012. With Cutler targeting Brandon Marshall 78.9 percent of the time over the last two games, look for Smith to take away the receiver.

Defensively, Chicago’s secondary will struggle to match up against Tampa Bay’s big receivers Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson.

Prediction: Buccaneers 20, Bears 17.

When: 1 p.m. ET, Sunday Where: Soldier Field, Chicago TV: Fox

The records scrub away some of the shine for Sunday's matchup at Soldier Field between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Chicago Bears, but the storylines involved remain interesting for what should be a competitive contest.

First off, there's the obvious with Lovie Smith coming to town to coach against his former team, which is led by former Bears backup quarterback Josh McCown. But even with the Bucs owning a 2-8 record, they're just two games out of first place in the NFC South.

The Bears, meanwhile, are looking to win back-to-back contests for the first time this season since Weeks 2 and 3.

Remember, the Bears fired Smith after a 2012 season in which he led the team to a 10-6 record. The club hasn't recorded a double-digit win season since, and doesn't appear to be on the way to doing it this year, either.

Bears reporter Michael C. Wright takes a look at the matchup with Buccaneers reporter Pat Yasinkas:

Wright: Pat, the Buccaneers are coming off a big road win at Washington, and I've long thought they were a much more talented team than the record indicated. Obviously, it's probably too late to save the season. But how's the atmosphere out there coming off this win, and what's the next step for the Bucs?

Yasinkas: The atmosphere is a lot better than you would expect from a 2-8 team. That's mainly due to the fact the Bucs are only two games behind Atlanta and New Orleans in the NFC South. And, you're right, this is a talented team. If the Bucs can put that talent together down the stretch, they could end up being a playoff team. It may sound crazy, but they're not far off the pace in the NFC South.

I thought last year's strong finish by Chicago would carry over into this season. But it hasn't. What's gone wrong for the Bears?

Wright: Where do I start? I think people put too much faith in the offense, expecting it to perform at the same level or better than it did in 2013. But what folks don't understand is the Bears sort of caught teams by surprise last season because opponents didn't know exactly what to expect out of a Marc Trestman offense. Opponents adjusted in 2014 to what the Bears put on film in 2013, and they've had trouble coming up with a sufficient counterpunch. On the other side of the ball, the Bears revamped the front four, but haven't received the production commensurate with the investment. The Bears miscalculated what the staff would be able to get out of the linebacking corps, which has struggled, not to mention the secondary.

Surely, there's quite a bit of disappointment about Tampa Bay's record, especially when considering how the Bucs have squandered fourth-quarter leads five times this season. Why haven't the Bucs been able to hold leads, and overall, what's the thought out there regarding the job done so far by former Bears coach Lovie Smith?

Yasinkas: The Bucs have had their share of disappointing losses. They've blown five fourth-quarter leads and the reasons for that are collapses by the defense and an inability by the offense to protect a lead. That has been very disappointing and you can make a strong case that the Bucs should have a much better record than they do. Fans aren't very pleased with what Lovie Smith has done so far. He has been stubborn, sticking to a Tampa 2 defense that may be antiquated and an offense that's conservative. But the Washington game was a good example of what "Lovie Ball" can be when it works properly. Smith's record isn't very good, but he's not on the hot seat. Ownership believes he can show some promise down the stretch and turn things around with another offseason.

There has been a lot of talk about Jay Cutler's future in Chicago. Does he have one?

Wright: Boy, that's a good question that I'm not sure I can answer at this point. Obviously with the contract, Cutler is sort of handcuffed to the team for the next couple of seasons. But if Cutler doesn't improve down the stretch, I could see the Bears looking for ways to cut ties (a trade perhaps?). The Bears gave Cutler a $126.7 million contract, and he certainly hasn't produced at the level you'd expect a player making that type of money. So if the arrow isn't pointing up for Cutler at the conclusion of the season, it certainly wouldn't surprise me if the Bears entered 2015 with an open competition at the position or looked to trade him in the offseason.

Speaking of quarterbacks, when Josh McCown left Chicago to sign with the Buccaneers, it seemed like an ideal match, especially when considering how he performed in 2013 as the fill-in for Cutler. Can you give me a rundown as to why has McCown struggled this season?

Yasinkas: McCown admitted recently that he was pressing too much in the first three games. He was trying to make something happen out of nothing and that led to some mistakes. But McCown got five games to sit back and watch while he dealt with a thumb injury. In the past two games, he has been much more efficient. The Washington game was similar to what he did in Chicago last year. If he can continue to do that the rest of the season, the Bucs will be very happy.

I know it's only Year 2, but this league doesn't have much patience anymore. Is Marc Trestman on the hot seat?

Wright: Similar to Cutler's situation, I think it all depends on how the team performs down the stretch. At this point, I don't think general manager Phil Emery is inclined to fire Trestman in part because of the investment in Cutler. Prior to Trestman's arrival, Cutler had played for three different offensive coordinators in three different systems over four seasons. So for Emery, gaining some level of stability for Cutler was important, which is what the GM believed he did in bringing aboard Trestman and offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer. Remember, the Bears signed Cutler to a seven-year contract, and Emery doesn't want his quarterback playing in yet another system for another coach. So unless the Bears totally nose dive over the last six games, Trestman's job is safe. Certainly, there will be scapegoats let go at the conclusion of the season regardless of what happens. But I don't think Trestman is on the hot seat. He'll get another season unless things go totally awry.
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Chicago Bears receivers Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery returned to the practice field inside the Walter Payton Center on Thursday, a day after the club held them out because of ankle and hamstring ailments.

Marshall and Jeffery participated in a limited capacity, but neither is expected to miss Sunday’s matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Soldier Field.

Other limited participants included right tackle Jordan Mills (ribs) and guard Eben Britton (illness). In other injury news, the Bears held out cornerback Demontre Hurst (knee), defensive end Trevor Scott (knee), receiver Chris Williams (hamstring) and Darryl Sharpton (hamstring).

The Bears also held out veteran defensive end Jared Allen, but his absence wasn’t injury related.

Rookie defensive end Ego Ferguson (illness) returned to the practice field Thursday after being held out Wednesday, and receiver Josh Morgan (shoulder) participated fully Thursday after working Wednesday in a limited capacity.
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler acknowledged Thursday it "was tough to see" former coach Lovie Smith fired by the organization in 2012, after the team posted a 10-6 record.

Smith
Cutler
"We won 10 games that year and he got fired," Cutler said. "And a lot of the blame was on the offense like I said when he got fired. At this point, you just have to wish him well and move on."

Cutler and Smith meet again Sunday when the Bears host the Smith-led Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Soldier Field.

Cutler was complimentary regarding his relationship with Smith.

"I think anytime you’re with a head coach as long as Lovie was here and I was here, there’s definitely a relationship," Cutler said.

The team’s struggles to field a consistent offense during Smith’s nine-year tenure played a role in the team’s decision to fire him. Despite having a Pro Bowl receiver in Brandon Marshall and other strong supporting cast members such as Cutler and running back Matt Forte, the Bears finished 2012 ranked No. 28 in total offense.

Despite the organization firing him, Smith spoke highly of the Bears and Cutler.

"Jay’s been a great quarterback in the league for a long time," Smith said. "Things that bother you as a defense: a quarterback that can make all his throws with mobility that can move around in the pocket, of course, Jay has all that. When he looks to throw the ball, he has some great targets. I think every opposing team that comes in will say the same thing."
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- The Chicago Bears kicked off preparation Wednesday to host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers without the services of receivers Brandon Marshall (ankle) and Alshon Jeffery (hamstring), as both were held out of the club’s practice inside the Walter Payton Center.

The Bears also held out defensive tackle Ego Ferguson (illness), defensive end Trevor Scott (knee), linebacker Darryl Sharpton (hamstring) and receiver Chris Williams (hamstring).

Right tackle Jordan Mills (ribs), guard Eben Britton (illness) and receiver Josh Morgan (shoulder) practiced in a limited capacity.

Linebacker Lance Briggs, running back Matt Forte and defensive lineman Jeremiah Ratliff were non-participants on Wednesday, but their inactivity was not injury related.
In today’s spin around the Chicago Bears beat, several reporters noted the testiness coach Marc Trestman is now showing in press conferences.

Perhaps a 4-6 start after lofty expectations to start the season makes you a tad salty.

Let’s get started:

-- ESPNChicago.com’s Jeff Dickerson reports the Bears are downplaying Sunday’s reunion with former coach Lovie Smith.

Here’s what Bears Trestman said when asked about Smith’s influence on the organization.

“I’m not going to go through a dissertation like that,” Trestman said. “The thing I can tell you about Lovie is that I’ve watched him for years and played against him for years and I know him as a person and I have tremendous respect for him as a person in all areas. That’s the only thing I can speak of at this point and I truly mean that.”

Brandon Marshall also sidestepped questions about his former coach.

“It’s just another Sunday,” Marshall said. “I won’t get into it throughout this week. I won’t get into it with you now.”

-- Here’s Dickerson’s stock watch coming off Sunday’s win over the Minnesota Vikings.

What’s interesting here is Dickerson notes how Trestman is now conducting press conferences compared to when he first took over the Chicago Bears. There’s definitely a change, and not a good one.
Dickerson writes: This is what happens when a guy is blasted from coast to coast. Can you truly blame Trestman for shutting it down with the media? Say what want about Trestman’s coaching style, I used to enjoy his press conferences. Trestman gave insightful and sincere answers, even if you disagreed with the message. Trestman never backed down from a tough question, unlike his predecessor, who acted insulted when a reporter asked about a sensitive issue. That’s all over now. Trestman isn’t giving much anymore -- another casualty of this wasted season.

-- Rich Campbell and Dan Wiederer of the Chicago Tribune discuss Trestman’s new guarded demeanor at press conferences.

-- Mark Potash of the Chicago Sun-Times gives you 10 points regarding the Bears. Is there a chance the Bears are better than we all think? Probably not, but Potash makes some interesting points in this piece.

-- Here’s the Sun-Times’ weekly exclusive video with Bears kicker Robbie Gould.

 
Finally, the Bears secured a victory at Soldier Field on Sunday, topping the Minnesota Vikings 21-13.

Let’s take a quick look around the Chicago Bears beat:
  • ESPNChicago.com’s Jon Greenberg says everything is OK for now.
    Greenberg writes: The victory ended a three-game Bears losing streak that lasted more than a month, a season-long home losing streak -- which also concluded at three games -- and the Bears' modern era-record two-game streak of giving up more than 50 points.

    So, save your throaty protestations, angry Bears fan, because quarterback Jay Cutler isn't getting benched anytime soon. Coach Marc Trestman isn't getting fired this week, and neither is defensive coordinator Mel Tucker. General manager Phil Emery can keep grinding tape of disruptors and playmakers at Halas Hall.

    While I'm sure this team, which now sits at 4-6, will cower in the face of adversity again this season, on this night, the Bears go to sleep winners.
  • Here’s ESPNChicago.com’s Jeff Dickerson’s report card from Sunday’s game.
  • Dickerson runs down five things we learned about the Bears from their victory over the Vikings.
  • In case you missed it, ESPN colleague Adam Schefter writes the Bears could trade Jay Cutler after the season and save $12.5 million against the salary cap. That’s really no secret. Cutler’s $15.5 million salary for 2015 is guaranteed, so another team would have to be willing to take on that contract for the Bears to be able move him. That’s the problem: finding a willing trade partner.


    According to Schefter, a few teams around the league would be interested in trading for Cutler. But you have to think options would be limited to the most quarterback-desperate teams around the league.
  • David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune writes that Chicago’s win against the Minnesota Vikings was nothing special. He’s correct, but given the circumstances the Bears just needed to get a victory period, regardless of opponent.

    Haugh writes: It was a good win over a bad team, solid enough to stop a three-game losing streak but not to start playoff talk. It was what the Bears should have done to a rookie quarterback on the road in November and a first-year head coach who stubbornly stuck to a defensive game plan that invited danger.

    It was a brief but welcome diversion for the Bears in a season fraught with dysfunction, even if it did little but help decide who will stay out of the NFC North cellar.
  • Brandon Marshall finishes with two touchdown receptions, but skips out on speaking to the media after Sunday’s win.
  • Here is Hub Arkush’s take on the game.

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