What convinced Emery to make the Marshall trade?

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What convinced Emery to make the Marshall trade?

It wasnt what Brandon Marshall said to Phil Emery that convinced the Bears general manager Marshall was worth investing two draft choices, a large measure of Emerys own professional stock and the image of a charter franchise in the NFL.

It was what Emery heard and saw Marshall say about himself and his battle, now ongoing, with borderline personality disorder. Marshall has been involved in a string of untoward events involving degrees of violence, the most recent just days before the trade that brought him from the Miami Dolphins to the Bears.

I was a ticking time bomb, Marshall said.

Marshall had gone on national television to speak about the condition. There were videos of him on social media. Emery saw something that convinced him that Marshalls was worth the risk.

Probably the one thing that really stood out to me was the courage he displayed to come forward with the problems which he spoke so well Friday about, Emery said.

Marshall, in his first public appearance since both the incident at a New York nightclub Sunday night and the trade Tuesday to the Bears, was sometimes blunt, sometimes emotional, sometimes seeming almost worried as he spoke of the treatment and therapy he has been undergoing in an attempt to break the grip of a problem Marshall himself has only recently come to grips with.

My No. 1 goal this year, before the trade, was to be mentioned for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award, Marshall said. And how ironic to get traded to the Chicago Bears. Going back the past six years and seeing how things have played out in my life and how devastating things have been, the turmoil, on and off the field, really hit home with me.

Now Im in a position where Im healthy, and I want to be one of the faces and one of the pioneers for breaking the stigma on mental illness and borderline personality disorder.

Pointing a thumb, not a finger

Appearances and utterances can be deceiving; there have been seemingly sincere frauds in the Chicago and every other NFL locker room. But Marshall expressly cited only one cause for his problems: himself.

Things and places have never been a problem, Marshall said. Its been me.

With that attitude, Emery and the Bears were sufficiently satisfied that a troubled 27-year-old was going in the right direction. Additionally, Marshall is unequivocal about him remaining a risk another indication that Marshall does not see himself healed and able to stop addressing the problem.

He understands that he still is a risk, for himself, family and the Bears.

Absolutely, Marshall said. From perception, yes. And from the things I've been through, yes. From the reality of it, yes. Absolutely.

I mean He paused. But the thing about it is one thing I've learned about Phil Emery so far is that he is a guy of details. He's definitely done his due diligence. he understands me, the person. He understands me, the player.

He and the Bears certainly hope so.

Bears establishing smash-mouth core with Jordan Howard

Bears establishing smash-mouth core with Jordan Howard

Eric Kush was in some pain after the Bears win over the San Francisco 49ers. But it was a “good” pain, particularly since part of it was inflicted by a teammate.

The teammate was running back Jordan Howard, and the Bears left guard was learning along with his linemates that when Howard is coming, “he’s a-comin’,” Kush said.

“Oh man, sometimes you’re, ‘[groan-groan-groan], and he’ll hit you right in the back, you fall and try to take your guy down with you and stick him in the snow so you’re not the only one getting soaking wet and cold. But Jordan’s a lot fun and we try to kick some butt for him.”

The rookie running back has become more than simply a draft nugget from the fifth round of this year’s draft. Howard has established himself as an integral part of a winning formula of complimentary football, the concept long favored by John Fox, Lovie Smith and coaches who operate from the foundation of a premier running game, impact defense and solid special teams.

[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]

The Bears’ three wins have come this season in the only games in which Howard has been given 20-plus carries: 23 vs. Detroit, 26 vs. Minnesota, 32 vs. San Francisco. Add to those the 3 pass receptions against the Lions and the 4 against the Vikings and the true centerpiece of the 2016 Bears offense is more than a little apparent.

For obvious reasons beyond simply the rushing numbers.

“Especially pass protection,” said offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains. “I think he's taken a big jump that way. When you're young in this league, those are the things that can get grey for you. You run the football, he's obviously a talented player there, but in pass pro, he's made his biggest growth.”

As a corollary to Howard, San Francisco was only the second game this season in which the Bears called fewer than 30 pass plays (the only other time was at Green Bay, when the Bears only ran a total of 45 plays, 27 of them pass plays). In that respect, the snow was viewed as an ally by some in the locker room who have been unhappy at the run:pass balance, which was just 36-percent-run coming into the 49ers game.

“It was one of these games where, with the weather, we couldn’t pass the ball like we normally do —  30 times — so we had to keep it on the ground,” said one member of the offense.

Howard’s breakout game as an NFL ball carrier came against the Lions (23 carries, 111 rushing yards, 3 receptions). The Bears, looking for a breakout of their own in the form of a first two-game win streak in more than a year, are expected to keep it simple — and in Howard’s hands.

“I always expected a lot out of myself,” Howard said. “I didn’t really think that things would happen maybe this soon or this fast. I’m definitely grateful for it.”

Bears looking into Teryl Austin’s past for clues on how Lions will scheme vs. Matt Barkley

Bears looking into Teryl Austin’s past for clues on how Lions will scheme vs. Matt Barkley

The adage “play the man, not the board” seems somehow appropriate for what the Bears are doing to prepare for the Detroit Lions behind quarterback Matt Barkley.

“The man” is Detroit defensive coordinator Teryl Austin, and the Bears have been scouting him as well as his defenses, beyond just Bears games, beyond this season and last, taking in his 2014 Detroit season when Austin prepared defenses for Jay Cutler and Jimmy Clausen.

How did Austin scheme for rookie Carson Wentz when the Lions played (and beat) the Philadelphia Eagles? How did he structure is defense to stop a rookie Teddy Bridgewater when Detroit played Minnesota? (Not very well, apparently, since the Vikings won both games and scored 54 points combined in the two games).

While the John Fox Bears staff went against Austin’s Lions defense twice last year, Cutler was the Bears quarterback. When the Bears beat Austin and the Lions two months ago, it was with Brian Hoyer.

Now the Bears quarterback is Matt Barkley, who has fewer NFL games played (seven) than Cutler has NFL seasons (11), Hoyer (eight), too, for that matter.

“Different defensive coordinators attack young quarterbacks differently,” said offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains. “Some guys blitz, some guys play a bunch of zone. This group on defense there, they have a really good defensive coordinator, they're really smart, they do a bunch of stuff. On the back end, they run all the coverages.

“As a game, we'll have to make adjustments as the game goes and see what their plan to come out is early.”

Coaches and players may talk about how they prepare for a scheme irrespective of which opposing quarterback, running back, linebacker or whatever they will be facing. But in fact, preparations start with who is orchestrating the opponent’s offense or defense – play the man, not the board.

[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]

A risk can be out-thinking yourself trying to anticipate what a coordinator will do. The first point, Loggains said, is to start with your own strengths.

“We definitely look at that,” Loggains said. “As you go in the league long and longer, you face these guys, you see them in crossover games. We always know how a guy attacks a rookie quarterback or attacks a young quarterback, a veteran, or, in Matt's case, a guy who hasn't played as much.”

Evaluations of Barkley’s performance will broaden, particularly now that he is on tape for defensive coordinators to scheme for and scout. And while they are watching Barkley, the Bears are watching them.