- Jeff Dickerson, ESPN Staff Writer
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LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Jay Cutler admitted the chances of targeting Brandon Marshall 15 times every single week are slim, but the quarterback does feel nine catches per game is a realistic goal for the Bears' No. 1 wide receiver.
Marshall hauled in nine balls for 119 yards and one touchdown on 15 targets in the Bears' 41-21 win over the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday.
"Fifteen times a game is not going to happen, it's just not " Cutler said. "There are going to be teams that take him away and we have to go to other guys or run the ball. That game, (the Colts) wanted to play man and they were going to say, 'We want to play man and you are going to have to beat us through the air.' I guess we did.
"But what is 9 times 16? If we're 9 out of 15 to him I'll take that, I guess."
While media members struggled to figure out the math, Marshall yelled from the back of the room that 9 times 16 equals 144, "which would be one more catch than Marvin Harrison's record."
Harrison's record-setting season for the Colts came back in 2002 when he made 143 receptions, a figure that Marshall said he knew off the top of his head.
"Yeah, I knew," Marshall said. "My goal was never just to make it to the NFL. It was to try to be one of the best when I made it. So (dating) back to my rookie year I knew some of the receiver records whether it’s franchise or in the NFL. To achieve that, I think you have to have awareness of where you’re at or what’s already out there. I’m familiar with that.
"I don’t know if that can ever be done. That’s tough with Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison what they were able to do, not only as a tandem that year but as a team. So that’ll be hard to duplicate. But you’ve got to keep it in the back of your head; something to work towards when you’re catching (off) the Juggs (machine) before practice or getting extra work. You think of some of those things to keep you going."
However, Marshall was stumped when asked if he knew the Bears all-time record for catches in a season -- which is held by Marty Booker who caught 100 passes in 2001. Booker also ranks second in franchise history with 97 catches which occurred one year later in 2002.
"I do have some individual goals, but as far as me really sitting down and trying to figure out franchise records and things like that, I’m really not concerned with that," Marshall said. "I wish I was able to start my career here. Then I probably would know. But I’m a little bit behind. So it’s going be tough to do."
Not really. Marshall has already posted three seasons of more than 100 catches over his first six years in the league and his 6,247 receiving yards would also be a Bears' franchise record, surpassing Johnny Morris who finished his decorated career with 5,059 yards.
If Marshall began his career in Chicago, he'd already be the greatest receiver in franchise history, a title he still might eventually end up holding despite waiting six years to join the Bears.