Brandon Marshall defends Jay Cutler

Updated: September 20, 2012, 2:24 PM ET
By Michael C. Wright | ESPNChicago.com

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Chicago Bears receiver Brandon Marshall adamantly voiced support for Jay Cutler on Wednesday, saying he wouldn't want to play with him if the quarterback didn't possess a fiery demeanor.

"What people need to understand is everyone's different," Marshall said. "Jay's who he is. Whenever you get outside of yourself, I think that's when you create problems. You have to be who you are. So when Jay is not fiery, that's when I'm gonna have a problem. I'm gonna want to play with a different quarterback."

Marshall's comments come in the aftermath of widespread criticism aimed at Cutler for his behavior in the team's loss Thursday to the Green Bay Packers. During a heated exchange with left tackle J'Marcus Webb near the team's sideline, Cutler bumped into the offensive tackle, triggering nationwide criticism from analysts and even teammate D.J. Moore.

On "The Jay Cutler Show" Tuesday, Cutler admitted he shouldn't have bumped into Webb. On Wednesday, Cutler said, "Everything's fine. It's a dead issue. We're moving forward."

"That's the guy I want to play for," Marshall said of Cutler. "We have to be productive. We have to make sure we're communicating the right way. I think Jay is learning how to communicate with different guys. The things that go on in our locker room, we try to keep in house."

Marshall, meanwhile, took responsibility for his own play in the team's loss at Green Bay. On the field for all of the Bears' 63 offensive plays, Marshall caught two passes for 24 yards. The sixth-most targeted receiver in the NFL, Marshall is tied for second in the NFL in drops (3) according to ESPN Stats & Information, and is second-to-last (83rd, just above Atlanta's Julio Jones) in catch percentage (78.6 percent).

"Jay can be one of the best to have ever done it, and it's on us to be better around him. One of the things that I want to be known is I've got to make better plays. I've got to make more plays," Marshall said. "Given the opportunities, I've got to come down with the ball. So if I can do my part and the guys around me can do their parts, I think we'll be able to move in the right direction."

Asked why Cutler receives so much commentary for seemingly every move made, Marshall explained it's "because of how he approaches a game," which makes the quarterback different from other highly regarded signal-callers around the league.

Having spent three seasons playing alongside Cutler in Denver, Marshall possesses plenty of insight into the quarterback's psyche.

"Even in our personal lives when we go out, Jay doesn't love the attention," Marshall said. "He doesn't want to be the guy up front. He just wants to come to work and do his job. He really loves this game.

"I think the media has a picture of what a quarterback is supposed to look like. In our sport now, it may be Tom Brady. It may be the great Peyton Manning; now Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees. They do things totally different."

Marshall said "there's no doubt in my mind" teammates continue to support Cutler, adding that "Jay is a guy that everyone wants to play for."

"A quarterback has a special way of getting guys going. When I look at Jay and having the time in Denver with Jay, and the time so far in Chicago, that's why I made the statement: 'That's the guy I want to play for,'" Marshall said. "Jay knows, he can just say -- I don't want to share it with you -- but he can just make a statement before practice and it'll get me going, because he knows my drive and where I'm at mentally.

"At the end of the practice I'm like, 'Man, I just went maybe too hard,' and it was all because of what Jay said to me before. It's truly a blessing to be back in this, be back with him and (quarterbacks) coach (Jeremy) Bates, be with (coach) Lovie (Smith), coach (Mike) Tice. This is a dream job for me. I think we're going to take advantage of it. Hopefully we can come together as a team and win some games."

Michael C. Wright

ESPN Chicago Bears reporter

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