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May 23, 2012; Lake Forest, IL, USA; Chicago Bears receiver Brandon Marshall (15) catches a pass against defensive back Jonathan Wilhite (27) during organized team activities at Halas Hall. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-US PRESSWIRE

Setting the Bar for the 2012 Chicago Bears: Brandon Marshall

In the second of our series of Setting the Bar for the 2012 Chicago Bears, we’re focusing on the Bears’ biggest offseason acquisition, wide receiver Brandon Marshall.  In probably the biggest surprise since Jerry Angelo pulled off the Jay Cutler trade, new GM Phil Emery pulled off a trade with the Miami Dolphins at the start of Free Agency to bring in the most talented wide receiver that Chicago has ever seen in the Orange and Blue.
I know that Marshall hasn’t played a down for the Bears yet, but his resume on the field is unquestioned.  He’s a legitimate #1 wide receiver who will be able to go make plays on the ball and command double teams.  What makes this deal even better for the Bears is that Marshall already has chemistry with Cutler from their days together in Denver.   To get a better idea of where Marshall’s going, let’s see where he’s been:

It’s clear Marshall is a catch machine.  When he and Cutler were last together in Denver in 2008, they hooked up for 104 catches and 1265 yards and 6 TD’s.  That 2008 season was sandwiched around 100+ catch seasons in 2007 and 2009.  In fact, in 2009, Marshall was catching passes from none other than Kyle Orton and managed to haul in 101 balls and a career high 10 TD’s.

After leaving Denver, Marshall still managed 80+ catch seasons with the Miami Dolphins.  Can you name their QB’s there the last couple of seasons?  Me neither.

Now that Marshall is reunited with his old buddy Jay Cutler, with former Broncos QB’s coach Jeremy Bates along for the ride, expectations are sky high in Chicago.  Let’s settle down a bit folks.  I think Marshall will have the best season a Bears pass catcher has ever had, but that’s not saying much.  Marshall will haul in a ton of balls and rack up the yardage, but I don’t foresee him getting a ton of TD’s.  Randy Moss’ TD record of 23 should be safe.

Besides the on the field stuff, the biggest question with Marshall might be the off the field stuff.  He comes to town with some baggage.  Could some extra curricular activities limit his ability to produce on the field?  The Commish has a short fuse with previous offenders, so you have to factor that in.

For Brandon Marshall I’m setting the bar at 95 catches for 1200 yards and 8 TD’s in 15 games.  He’ll miss a game because he’s dinged up, not because of any suspensions.  I think those days are behind him.

What do you think?  Are my projections too high?  Too low?  Can Marshall keep his nose clean off the field and put up monster numbers on it?



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