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Thursday, October 10, 2013

Morrissey Must Get a Bonus if he Uses the Phrase "Team Cancer" This Season

A little over a month ago, after preseason game three, Brandon Marshall made some pretty straightforward remarks about not being back in top shape and learning a new offense. If you'll recall, the media flocked to it like kids flock to the house that gives out full-size candy bars on Halloween. I'm pretty sure Bernstein actually uploaded a video of himself having a hands-free orgasm at the thought of Brandon Marshall hitting a woman in a nightclub. Because the guy was feeling a little slow after someone stabbed his leg with tiny knives for a few hours.

This week, a lot of reporters asked Brandon Marshall a bunch of variations of one question: How frustrated are you with your production? Because he had two bad games in a row, one of which was pretty much Jay's fault for playing like dogshit until the Lions went to the prevent. Clearly, he must be ready to explode in a fit of rage and murder everyone in the locker room.

Really, it all comes back to the same thing as the first pointless media feeding frenzy: they want him to slip. They want him to give them something to talk about. They've more or less lost Jay now, he's played their game and kept his head down. Even Morrissey can only talk about him shoving a lineman for so long. But this, Rick can talk about. And talk he does. His article is in italics, my responses are regular text.
It’s not a good thing when more is made of the guy who had 30 receiving yards than the guy who had a franchise-record 218.

Said the man writing a column about the guy who had 30 receiving yards.

And it’s not a good thing when a group of people gathers in the expectation that the frustrated, statistically lesser wide receiver will go off like a nuclear-weapon test in the desert.

It’s not, but again that seems to me to be the fault of the people gathering in that expectation. I highly doubt Brandon Marshall called the reporters and said “Ay come let me go off like a nuclear-weapon test in the desert at you.”

The surprise was that we media members didn’t show up for it in protective sunglasses Sunday.

The bigger surprise was that the Bears’ Brandon Marshall didn’t deliver the mushroom cloud.

I mean I guess that is a bigger surprise, but only the because the first thing was super fucking stupid.

It was a strange scene inside the team’s interview room after the game at Soldier Field, with Marshall saying he was frustrated by his lack of receptions (but understanding why they had dried up), while expressing pride in ridding himself of the bad body language he had displayed in the loss in Detroit the week before.

This is a point that’s going to come up a whole lot throughout this conversation, but that is incredibly positive. “It sucks that I can’t get the ball because they keep double-teaming me, but I’m trying and I think succeeding at staying positive on the sideline,” is a pretty understandable response.

I’m convinced that, somewhere in Halas Hall, the Bears offer MSL classes — Moping as a Second Language.

Really? That doesn’t sound much like moping to me. And, second part, fuck you.

Now, you would be well within your rights to say that the reason Marshall talked so much about himself after the Bears’ loss to the Saints was because reporters kept asking him where his frustration level was over his production.

“Now, you could say that he was talking about it because we asked him, and you’d be right. But I’m going to ignore that and keep making it sound like he’s a regressing diva again.”

But those questions didn’t come out of nowhere.

Well, I mean no they probably didn’t spring forth from the empty air. Was that in doubt?

There’s no “I’’ in team, but there is a “ball’’ in Brandon Marshall.

You’re reading at a fourth-grade level now, Rick! Way to go!

And he has always wanted it.

An elite football player who wants the ball? God, what an asshole.

“It’s tough,’’ he said. “It’s really tough. I’m not going to lie to you. Last week, after the [Detroit] game, my No. 1 goal going into the workweek was to work on my body language when I’m not in the game. It’s been that way the first few weeks. I kind of let myself down and the guys around me with my body language.


“So I got better at that [against New Orleans]. They took me out of the game, and that’s one positive for myself — just try to keep my head up and keep myself ready for when I’m available for the team whenever they call my number.’’

Okay, seriously, this shit is media gold. That is exactly what you want to hear from a guy in his situation.

The Bears are tiptoeing around their star receiver…

Are they? Are they really? It seems to me they’ve allowed him to speak or not speak as he sees fit. It seems to me he’s had a single bad game in which he was bracketed the entire time, allowing another receiver to break a Goddamn franchise record.

… who’s averaging 75.6 yards a game after averaging 94.3 last season.

After five games. One of which was bad. You can’t play that averages game on such a small sample size; even one bad game tanks the numbers immediately.

Alshon Jeffery’s 218-yard effort was quite a feat, but I had the distinct impression that quarterback Jay Cutler was trying to downplay it Monday to soothe Marshall.

I didn’t watch the presser, so I can’t say for sure whether that’s a reasonable interpretation or not. But I’m guessing that it’s not, because Rick Morrissey is the worst.

Cutler said Jeffery’s yards were kind of misleading because they came in big chunks just before halftime and the end of the game.

Is that not the same logic you’ve used to discount big games for every single offensive player on this team? If anything, it’s more applicable in this situation than most of the times the Sun-Times uses it.

Perhaps, but you can bet they’re not misleading to Marshall.

What exactly are they supposed to be leading anyone to? Brandon loves Alshon, and specifically congratulated him on his accomplishment after the game. Is he upset that Alshon got more yards? Maybe, but he’s not upset at Alshon, or Jay, or anyone on the team. He’s upset that defenders bracketed him all day. Anyone would be.

“He is the prototypical great receiver who wants the football and should want it,’’ coach Marc Trestman said. “But I think he’s handled himself in a very professional manner. He’s been a little bit frustrated, but not outwardly. But you just sense that, knowing that he wants the ball, and we’re going to try to get him that.’’

Couldn’t have said it better myself. You know who else gets frustrated when they have a bad game? Calvin Johnson. Tom Brady. Peyton Manning. Any player who is among the best in the world at his job is going to be frustrated when he can’t perform.

Everybody seems to be taking Marshall’s emotional temperature these days.

Who is doing that? Who exactly do you think is trying to figure this riddle out? You are the one asking the questions.

Is he happy with his production? How will he be Thursday against the Giants? What about afterward? What if he has, say, four straight games in which he doesn’t get as many receptions as he’d like?

I don’t understand how you can’t see that this is not a criticism of Brandon Marshall in any way. You are talking about the people asking him questions. People like you. You are criticizing yourself and do not even seem to realize.

Lots of energy is being expended on Marshall, and not just by opponents.

Thankfully, it doesn’t make a lick of difference to this team’s performance whether or not reporters spend their time thinking about Brandon Marshall or not.

Trestman said Marshall “has done as much for this team over the last seven months as any single player has.’’ Marshall invited Jeffery to work out with him in south Florida in the offseason. He helped the Bears recruit free-agent tight end Martellus Bennett and linebacker D.J. Williams.

That’s because he wants to be on a good team. He wants to give his team the best chance he can to succeed.

But five games into the season, it’s as if Marshall is surprised at the shifting landscape.

Is it? Is it really? Because other than one time he said he was figuring out his role (a time, it should be noted, that everyone was saying that), he’s seemed pretty comfortable doing what he’s asked. Did you see how happy he was when he landed an excellent block that sprang Forte on a long run? The guy’s a team player, even if he would rather have the ball.

Abstractly, he’s all for the idea of wealth sharing. Practically, he seems to be asking, “How did these guys get on my football field?’’

Once again, I have to ask: when? If you ask a guy “do you wish you had the ball more?” and he says yes, that is not him asking how all these guys got on his football field!

Opponents are double-teaming him. It’s a fact of life. It’s also a sign of respect. It’s one of the reasons Jeffery has done so well. Marshall seems genuinely happy for him.

Opponents took him out of one game. Jay took him out of another. I know you’re incapable of reacting to more than one thing at a time, but even you have to be able to see how stupid you sound.

But No. 1 receivers are like temperamental chefs, and they think the key ingredients to a victory are 10 catches for 150 yards. And for some of these guys, the victory part isn’t all that important.

Maybe so, maybe not. But you cannot say that anything Brandon has done up to this point has called into question his willingness to take double teams if it’s what the Bears need.

I think now is a good time to point out that you have been waiting with bated breath for the “reversion to form” you all think is coming. That you all believe it’s only a matter of time until Brandon lets you use the phrase “team cancer.” You called him a diva for having a doctor’s appointment, and you mocked his mental illness when he said he was trying to figure out the offense he’d run a total of two times.

Complicating matters is that Marshall thinks he’s open even when two defensive backs are draped on him.

How does that complicate matters? He hasn’t complained. He hasn’t even brought it up. You brought it up. I know you wish you could make things true just by asking questions about them, but that just isn’t the way it works here in the real world.

So it’s hard to win here for the Bears.

What exactly do they need to win? Marshall acknowledged that he could’ve handled his situation better, even though he handled it pretty Goddamn well by any measure. And then he said he was proud to have improved in the last week. What have the Bears lost?

The question football coaches never want to confront is whether a player is disrupting the locker room to the detriment of the team.

Whoa whoa whoa. Okay. Even if everything you’ve said is right, even if Brandon really is frustrated and the Bears are hiding it… how do you get “disrupting the locker room to the detriment of the team” out of  “I was frustrated, but I’m trying to handle it better and I think I’m doing well.”? It's like you want him to be a detriment to the team so you ca- oh.

Marshall says he wants to win, and the Bears say they believe him. It’ll have to do.

But that’s not really what you believe, Rick. You’ve made no secret of your desire to cover a media circus over a stable, boring team. And now you’re making mountains out of molehills with Brandon because you’ve finally given up on Jay. And it’s embarrassing.

1 comment:

Keith said...

Chicago's media coverage of Brandon Marshall is disgusting. They really can't wait to unload on him.