Keeping Score: The Marshall Ratio that failed

Keeping Score: The Marshall Ratio that failed
December 27, 2012, 5:11 pm
Share This Post

Danny Mac and Matt were off but The McNeil & Spiegel Show was still in session Thursday at 10 a.m. on WSCR-AM 670 The Score, this time with Ben Finfer and old buddy and Daily Herald colleague Barry Rozner sitting in.
MORE: Listen to Moon's segment from Thursday morning
Really nice of Ben to recall my early season thought that if Brandon Marshall caught 100 passes, the Bears playoff chances and offense would be in some trouble. But no, as I told Ben, Im not taking any bows; if you have seen some of my picks over the past 6-8 weeks, you dont ever gloat.
But the other reason was that the reality was there to see if anyone wanted to follow the breadcrumbs. Some teams flourish with a 100-catch receiver; New England has (although the Patriots havent won a Super Bowl with Wes Welker catching 100 passes), but that is a different scheme and the Patriots have multiple receivers with big numbers. And they were ranking in the top 10 rushing a lot of this season.
Finding Forte
But the Bears were successful with balance, the element that Mike Tice brought to Mike Martzs program the past two years. And if Marshall was getting that much of the offense, it quite likely meant that other receivers were not producing and, more important, the Bears had gotten away from Matt Forte, which they have, to no ones benefit.
Jay Cutler doesnt like to check down, so you wonder if at some psychological level he figures, why go short when he can pat the ball a second longer and Marshall should be gaining an advantage somewhere?
Safety concerns
On the other side of the ball Barry raised a concern over how the Bears fare against Detroit wideout Calvin Johnson with Chris Conte now down. Definitely a worry...Johnson is a worry even with Conte.
But anytime you dramatically alter what you do best, its you who are now in the position of needing to make the tough shot. So to start blitzing Matthew Stafford, even though the Detroit quarterback does not handle that well, is to potentially leave a safety newbie like Anthony Walters dealing with more of the field to worry about.
Johnson getting his yards and catches is not necessarily the problem; if you think the Bears offense is unsuccessful with the Marshall Ratio, Detroits with Johnson setting records is downright dysfunctional. Just do what you do best. Its usually been good enough to beat the Lions anyway.