Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Less than elite 'unacceptable' to Marshall
By Michael C. Wright
Brandon Marshall and his agent, Kennard McGuire, summed up my suspicions about the receiver’s recent revelations of frustration with his recovery process and the indication the organization might be rushing him back from offseason hip surgery before he’s fully ready.
“Brandon is accustomed to executing and playing at a high level, and being the perfectionist that he is, his expectations of himself are very high,” McGuire told ESPN. “Anything less than elite is unacceptable to him.”
A day after Marshall expressed concern that he “may be [being] rushed a little bit, and some people might think I need to be farther on than where I am,” the receiver missed practice to attend to a personal matter, which according to a source was an examination on the hip that was scheduled in January just after the surgery was performed.
Marshall explained the situation Wednesday to ESPN.com as “just that eight years in the NFL coming off these surgeries, and it’s been frustrating trying to get back to 100 percent,” adding “I woke up a couple days really sore when camp first started. I’m really much better now, but it’s not where you want to be at this time, which has been a little frustrating. From an ability standpoint, I’m right where I need to be. I’m not at midseason form, but that’s OK.”
But really for Marshall, it isn’t.
As one of the game’s elite players, Marshall wants to replicate his record-setting production of 2012 (118 catches for 1,508 yards) in 2013 or surpass it. At this point, his body isn’t in the right place physically for him to do that. A lack of conditioning from all the days off given by the coaching staff is a part of it. The truth of the matter, however, is that Marshall probably wants even more time off for his hip to sufficiently heal.
New Bears coach Marc Trestman isn’t like former coach Lovie Smith, who routinely gave veteran players days off to keep their bodies fresh. Trestman wants all his players constantly working. But such an approach might not be conducive to Marshall’s healing process. Remember, he's coming off his third hip surgery.
Although Marshall looked perfectly fine throughout training camp and in preseason games, he often said how he felt physically belied the appearance on the field. At the time, it seemed Marshall might have been overexaggerating, but it’s apparent now that he wasn’t.
Does Marshall feel better than he did at the start of camp? Yes. Is this a major issue that will keep him out of the regular-season opener against the Cincinnati Bengals? Absolutely not.
That’s why quarterback Jay Cutler brushed off any suggestion of that by saying Marshall will “snap out of it, and he’ll be the guy we need next week. He knows where he needs to be.” Which for Marshall is as the elite receiver he’s been for the majority of his NFL career.
Since 2006, Marshall ranks No. 4 in the NFL in receptions (612) and is one of just two receivers to catch 80 balls or more in each of the past six seasons. You don’t put up those numbers unless you’re elite.
Right now, because of the hip, Marshall doesn’t feel that way, but he told ESPN.com, “My hip’s gonna be great," because eventually, he'll get there.
“As far as him not being there [at practice Wednesday], this has been planned with the Bears and Brandon long before yesterday,” McGuire said. “Any other suggestion, thought or implication are all unfair to Brandon and the Bears organization.”