They set team records and developed into Pro Bowlers together in Denver. But receiver Brandon Marshall believes that both he and quarterback Jay Cutler can be even more potent with the Bears. “In 2008 we finished No. 2 in offense and everyone says we were really successful and even we walk around sometimes saying it,” Marshall said. “But when I look at film now, I think we were terrible, and I say that humbly.
“We were just young and immature out there on the field, not understanding the big picture of the offense and the game itself. To see where we’re at now, where our football mind is now, it’s going to be really dangerous.
I’m excited to really fall into this offense with a new mind.”
In 2008, Cutler set Broncos single-season passing records with 384 completions, 616 attempts, 4,526 yards and eight 300-yard games. Marshall was his primary receiver, catching a career-high 104 passes for 1,265 yards and six touchdowns. Both players were voted to the Pro Bowl.
“We made plays,” Marshall said. “But 4,000 yards, that’s on paper and compared to everyone else around the league that’s good. But when you look back on it, we left so much on the field, so it’s hard for me to say that things worked. … I’m excited to see where we’re going to go with more maturity.”
Part of that excitement stems from Marshall and Cutler reuniting with first-year Bears quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates, who worked with the dynamic duo in Denver as an offensive assistant in 2006, wide receivers/quarterbacks coach in 2007 and quarterbacks coach in 2008.
“If you’re staying the same, then you’re pretty much getting worse,” Marshall said. “I think in life in general no matter what we’re doing, you always want to get better. When you get content, that’s usually when someone passes you up.
“I think we all share the same type of mind, talking about coach Bates and Jay. We strive for greatness. Even in warm-ups and in routes on air, we get upset when we drop balls or miss throws or call the wrong plays. We know what we expect out of each other and we know what we expect of guys around us, so we’re excited.”
One of the main reasons that Marshall was thrilled to be traded to the Bears March 13 is the special bond he enjoys with Cutler. Their cohesiveness has been evident on the field during the first few days of OTA workouts.
“We’re two guys who are really passionate about the game, who grew up playing ball their whole life, and we really truly love the game,” Marshall said.
“But I think the most important thing is I think we see the field the same. And what I mean by that is a lot of times you have to wing it out there sometimes and we seem to be on the same page when we do that, and that’s what the great ones do, see the field the same way."