You knew when the Chicago Bears went out and added a top tier receiver in Brandon Marshall, a former teammate of quarterback Jay Cutler, that he would probably be among the most targeted players in the league. To this point, that is certainly coming to fruition.
Through three games, Marshall is one of the 10 most targeted players in the league. Cutler has sent 31 passes in his direction, good for ninth in the league. However, the results haven’t really followed, as Marshall has just 16 catches on the year, including three drops, one of which directly led to an interception in Week 3.
The ratio of targets to catches for Marshall is pretty unimpressive, considering players around the league that have caught a much higher percentage of balls, with more targets. There’s also a good chunk of players that have less targets than Marshall, but more catches.
Not all of that is on him, though. A lot of the responsibility is on Jay Cutler. Having a no. 1 receiver is something new to him, since he hasn’t had one since he joined the Bears, but he isn’t always making the right decision when the ball heads in Marshall’s direction. We’ve seen it multiple times in the early going this season.
Too often has Cutler forced the ball into tight coverage, or double coverage. Many of the targets that Marshall has seen are balls that he has no chance of catching. Cutler has other receivers to throw the ball to, particularly Earl Bennett and Alshon Jeffery. He’d be wise to start looking in their direction a bit more, though he’d probably be the last person to admit that.
Don’t expect Cutler to cut down on the Marshall targets. The Bears brought him in for a reason, and Cutler is going to take every opportunity to try and get him the ball. Even if it’s into triple coverage.