Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Chicago Bears [Print without images]

Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Marshall: Can't keep making same mistakes

By Michael C. Wright

Brandon Marshall
Brandon Marshall's call for accountability on offense drew plenty of reaction within Halas Hall.
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Chicago Bears receiver Brandon Marshall expounded Wednesday on comments made Sunday in the aftermath of a 21-13 loss to Green Bay after which he said "everybody in this offense should be held accountable, even if that means jobs."

Marshall admitted those words may have "rub(bed) some people the wrong way," but he received both positive and negative reaction to them inside Halas Hall, with the club preparing to face the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday needing to win each of its last two outings for a shot at the playoffs.

"We can't keep making the same mistakes," Marshall said. "Not everyone's going to be perfect. Even in that game I made some bone-headed mistakes. It's just making the same mistakes over and over -- we can't do that. I think people are responding in a positive way. You hear the word accountability being thrown around, you see guys starting to look at themselves, and that's what it's about, especially this time of the season when you're sitting where we're sitting."

Marshall declined to specify where he initially directed his comments Sunday after the loss. Quarterback Jay Cutler defended Marshall on Monday during "The Jay Cutler Show" on ESPN 1000, saying "I think he was talking more (about) players" than coaches.

But when asked specifically, Marshall joked that he was referring to reporters before speaking about the need to hold himself accountable.

"You take a look in the mirror and you figure what you need to do to get better. So for me, I need to do a better job of being consistent in the run game, and I have to do a better job of running routes," he said. "I can't just go out there and get the 10 yards. It has to be crisp, it has to be fast, it has to be technically sound. There are a lot of things that I'm looking at as an individual that I need to improve."

Some thought Marshall's accountability message may have been intended for coaches as well as players. Offensive coordinator Mike Tice understands the process.

"I didn't hear it. It's kind of filtered back (to me)," Tice said Wednesday. "We're all emotional. It's hard when you lose; not a game, it's hard when you have a string like this. Frustrations mount, and we're all accountable. It starts with me. I'm wearing the hat.

"I have to do a better job. I've been in this league a long time to know how that pecking order works. It falls on my shoulders. It falls on everybody's shoulders. Like I said, what can I do better to help me get better to help us win? That's how I'm approaching this week, with that kind of energy."

Marshall caught six passes in the loss to the Packers, but finished with fewer than 71 yards receiving for just the third time all season. Marshall criticized his blocking effort in the run game, and said "there (were) some things I could have done better technique wise" as a route runner.

Marshall was the only member of the receiving corps to catch a pass against the Packers. Cutler targeted rookie Alshon Jeffery four times, but he didn't record a single reception as two potential grabs were nullified by penalties. Cutler threw Devin Hester's way only once, but the receiver didn't make the catch.

Cutler never threw a pass in the direction of the tight ends.

So although Marshall seemed to backtrack somewhat on comments made after the game, it's clear the team needs more contributions from other players on offense for the Bears to be successful. Marshall admitted to being thrust into a leadership role for the first time in his career upon joining the Bears, and "maybe I'm approaching it the wrong way."

He also pointed to different methods of leadership he's studied, and indicated a need to find what works best.

"You can lead by example. You can lead by encouragement. You can lead by speaking, creative energy," Marshall said. "You can lead sometimes by calling guys out. That depends on the situation. I've been reading a lot of books on leadership, studying documentaries on some of the greats like Ray Lewis and Michael Jordan. I've always been a guy in the locker room that guys counted on on the field making plays. But as far as bringing a group together, having a common goal and all of us work toward that, it's different. I just have to be patient and continue to learn, and continue to control what I can control. If I do that, I could sleep at night."

Initially, Marshall pondered whether he should have refrained from uttering Sunday's critical comments, before reversing course and placing the burden of accountability on himself. Still, Marshall's words led to speculation about whether he was referring to the coaching staff.

After declining to specify, Marshall was asked what the coaching staff could do to help the team improve over the next two games.

"I can't really speak on it from a coaching standpoint," Marshall said. "But from a player's standpoint, there are so many things. But it's different for each guy. Sometimes, I may need a guy to get in my face or challenge me. It depends on the guy. I think that's what some of our coaches do well: they know how to approach different guys in different ways because it's not the same for everyone.

"The coaches who get that are really successful. That's one thing I love about (quarterbacks coach) Jeremy (Bates) and Tice. They really understand how to massage different guys' egos."

But somehow that needs to equate to victories Sunday at Arizona and the following week at Detroit for this team to receive any type of opportunity to advance to the postseason.

Marshall declined to reveal whether his postgame comments Sunday drew the ire of coach Lovie Smith or general manager Phil Emery.

"Any response I got from anybody in the organization, I'll keep that private," he said. "Anything that goes on around here everybody knows of. We're so close it doesn't matter if it's players, scouts, equipment staff…It doesn't matter what it is."