Over the last five years Brandon Marshall has caught more passes than anyone in the NFL besides Wes Welker in New England. He did it fueled by an anger that burned hot on the field and too often off it as well.He acquired and relished the nickname The Beast, as well as a rap sheet and suspension by the league that he now says he is committing much of his life to correcting.The problem (although not really a problem in the big picture) is that as Marshall dials back some of the anger, does he also dial back some of the results that he admits were achieved in some part because of that very anger?That was the old me, Marshall said Friday. That was me a year ago. To me, I call it my gift and my curse. Because without that passion, without that intense approach to the game, which comes from a lot of my pain, a lot of my anger, I wouldnt be here today.There it is. Is passion for the game the same thing as rage when you play it, which so many players insist you need to be great?The dilemma for the Bears is hopingtrusting that Marshall will control the rage off the field without losing what it got him on it.To his credit and perhaps a sign that Marshall is well aware of the dilemma within himself Marshall admits that he doesnt have as much of the fury now.What you saw -- The Beast, where I catch a ball and then I'll be banging myself in the head, intense, screaming, yelling after I block someone -- that's what made me good, Marshall said. It was the anger. It was the pain that was inside of me.Going through treatment and actually working through that stuff, going back to stuff, working through things when I was six years old, going through my childhood, the psychotherapy behind it, it made me a softer person.So it definitely took away from some of the intensity. But I still have the same passion for the game. I still approach it the same way. But off the field, it just made me so much softer and so much lighter, so much healthier and I'm excited about it.
Brian Hedger (nhl.com), Teddy Greenstein (Chicago Tribune) and Rich Campbell (Chicago Tribune) join Chuck Garfien on the panel.
The Bears reluctantly go back to Jay Cutler as the starter. Meanwhile, can the Bears actually trade Alshon Jeffery?
The guys give their predictions for the Bulls season, Hedger dissects the Blackhawks penalty kill problems and Teddy explains why Michigan will win the Big Ten.
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The Bears have a fantasy football conundrum. Which of their running backs do they go with?
Jeremy Langford is listed as the starter. Then Ka’Deem Carey. Then Jordan Howard. Joique Bell was waived Monday, a clear statement that Langford is sufficiently back from the sprained ankle he suffered against the Dallas Cowboys.
The Bears have had three different leading rushers through seven games, which might be considered promising, except that none has established any sort of consistent identity with the opportunities.
The problem: in a production-based business, the depth chart is in inverse order of results. Howard is averaging 4.8 yards on his 73 carries and has a receiving and rushing touchdown. Carey is netting 4.7 on his 23, of which 10 came against the Green Bay Packers. Langford is rushing at the 3.7-yard average of his rookie season, but with two rushing touchdowns. Howard’s 14 pass receptions are nearly double the combined by Langford (5) and Carey (3).
And Howard has played 265 snaps, vs. 100 for Langford and 65 for Carey.
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But Howard was muzzled by the Packers and Langford is coming off a month’s worth of inactivity. And after averaging 116 rushing yards per game last season, the offense that was being committed to the run is down to 88 ground yards per game.
So who’s the Bears’ choice, because “committee” hasn’t exactly been the way, either. With the exception against the Jacksonville Jaguars when fullback Paul Lasike got a fourth-down rush for a first down, only once (Philadelphia Eagles) have the Bears had carries by all three running backs.
“When you look around the league, I don’t think many people are running it very effectively in general,” Bears head coach John Fox said. “I think in our division I think it’s maybe a little bit more important than it is league-wide. Again, to me the essence of football is still being able to stop the run and being able to run the ball. So we emphasize it quite a bit.”
If it’s being emphasized, that’s perhaps even more concerning. Better if the failed run game was due to neglect rather than an area of emphasis. And the reality is that it needs to succeed if the Bears are going to.
“We’ve got to keep running the ball well,” quarterback Jay Cutler said. “I don’t think we’re running the ball well the last couple of weeks as we wanted to. That three-game span we were doing OK [4.4 ypc. combined vs. Detroit-Indianapolis-Jacksonville].”