Less than 10 days from the start of the 2013 season, the centerpiece of the 2012 offense — wide receiver Brandon Marshall — is not up to speed with the new offense and his place in it.
He says he knows where he’s supposed to be. But apparently not entirely what he’s doing there.
“I'm still trying to figure out my role and my place in this offense, trying to get healthy and we'll see where it takes us,” Marshall said.
He also says he is not fully over what was described as minor offseason hip surgery, with a curious implication that he is being driven too hard to get him all the way back.
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“I think it's more of a conditioning thing,” Marshall said. “So it's one of those things where you may be rushed a little bit and some people might think I need to be farther on than where I am.
“So it's a little frustrating not being where I want to be right now and maybe being pushed a little bit.”
Maybe it’s also a case of a diva mad at himself for embarrassing drops against the Oakland Raiders. Maybe is a diva’s worry that a younger talent will slip by him on the “favorites” list, hearing footsteps in his own locker room.
Alshon Jeffery not only caught seven passes against the Raiders. Quarterback Jay Cutler also targeted him eight times – twice the number Cutler aimed at Marshall.
“It’s ‘B,’” Cutler said of his battery mate needing to be talked off a ledge. “He’s going to take it hard for a couple of days and then he’ll snap out of it and he’ll be the guy we need next week. This week we don’t need him, so he can stay on the ledge for a couple more days and then come back next week.”
Marshall’s “preseason” has barely been one. Coaches held him out at Carolina to rest the hip. He played into the second quarter of the San Diego game, a total of only 16 snaps. At Oakland he played 34 of the Bears’ 65 but may have set a personal record for drops in a preseason game.
“I had about 10 drops,” Marshall said (actually it was two or three, depending on perspective). “I think the offense did well. For myself -- mentally, physically, we need to pick it up a little more.”