Earlier this week, Adam Schein over at NFL.com released his list of the most indispensable offensive players throughout the entire league. Which teams could not survive if they did not have a specific player plugged in on offense? Quarterbacks were not considered for the list.
No. 1 on the list was Adrian Peterson. That’s probably the most obvious no. 1 choice in the world. He might be the best player in the league at any position. But the no. 2 player on the list hails from the Windy City, as the Chicago Bears had the second most indispensable player on the list.
That player was Brandon Marshall. Just a year into his tenure with the Bears, it’s already pretty clear by everyone, whether inside or out of the organization, that this offense could very well live and die with the wide receiver. Marshall simply makes everybody better.
The Bears have something of a “big three” on offense. They have Marshall, Matt Forte, and Jay Cutler. Without Marshall, though, the production for each of the other two has the potential to dip dramatically. Cutler’s production goes down, which means a heavier, and ultimately tougher, workload for Forte, which we’ve seen isn’t always something he can handle.
We haven’t seen a Bears offense without Brandon Marshall since he was acquired, but we do know what it looked like before. No go-to target for Cutler and really no gamebreaker of any sort in the passing game, outside of Forte. You don’t need fancy stats to show how important Brandon Marshall is to the offense. Watch about 10 minutes of a ballgame in order to determine that.
Marshall has had his best seasons with Cutler throwing the ball to him. Cutler has had his best seasons throwing the ball to Marshall. Brandon Marshall on the Bears gives them the potential for an offense that has not been seen in the history of this franchise, since the Bears have never had a receiver with the ability of Marshall.
Schein got this one absolutely right in naming Brandon Marshall the second most indispensable offensive player in the National Football League. Even more accurate is the fact that he described Marshall as Cutler’s “Linus blanket”. If Brandon Marshall were taken out of the equation, this Bears offense is sputtering again in the way that it has in years past, even with Forte in the mix.
While this praise might seem a bit overdone, it’s also completely warranted. Despite those initial character concerns, the reviews of Marshall have been nothing but outstanding since he first laced up his cleats for the Bears. He is the most important player on this Bears offense.