When the Chicago Bears acquired former Miami Dolphins wide receiver Brandon Marshall last year, the widespread belief was that the Bears got themselves one heck of a deal. In fact, the best opinion I heard it compared to was that of a highway robbery.
Just two third-round picks is all it took for the Dolphins to surrender the All-Pro wideout. Looking back at the deal just a year later, it still flabbergasts me to think that an organization would be that ignorant to what type of player they were giving up.
The 29-year old wide receiver has had six straight seasons with over 1,000 yards receiving, with his career-best coming in his most recent season in Chicago where he caught 118 passes for 1,508 yards and 11 touchdowns.
In 2013, Marshall will be counted on more than ever for several reasons.
Not only will he continue to be the go-to guy on offense, but he takes on the role of a mentor more than ever before as the Bears are under a new coaching staff and have to learn a brand new playbook.
New head coach Marc Trestman is implementing completely new terminology and a fresh style of practice. So far the team has done a great job at picking it up, but Marshall has been a huge asset in the youth learning it as well.
Some of the newer and younger faces include rookies Marquess Wilson and Josh Lenz, as well as second year pros Alshon Jeffery and Joe Anderson. Veteran wideout Devin Aromashodu is also in camp and still has much to learn.
Marshall has been extremely vocal so far during training camp, getting all the guys where they need to be during drills and helping them learn new techniques every day. He’s aided in the improvement of a lot of the guys’ footwork, ball security and route-running as well.
The eight year veteran being such a vocal leader for the Bears is going to pay enormous dividends for quarterback Jay Cutler, as the pressure will not be on him as much to do what Marshall is already doing daily.
For the Bears to succeed in putting points on the board this season, lots of things need to go right. Along with protecting the quarterback, the wideouts understanding the offense and executing it will be just as key. Fortunately for Chicago, they have one of the best in the game on their side not only on the field, but helping coach the younger talent in doing just that.