Coming into the 2014 NFL season, few teams were expected to be as explosive on offense as the Chicago Bears. Their skill positions were well manned, with QB Jay Cutler, wideouts Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffrey, RB Matte Forte and TE Martellus Bennett. Unfortunately, after a 55-14 drubbing by the Green Bay Packers, Chicago is now facing the reality of missing the playoffs for another year.
They are 3-6, four games behind the NFC North-leading Detroit Lions. And many Bears players are pretty dejected, including star wideout Brandon Marshall. In fact, he admits that the team just isn’t “very good” in the following statement made after the Packers game:
Before the season it seemed like we had everyone we needed and at 3-6 the reality of it is we’re not very good. I’m confused. I think before the bye it was one of those things that was shocking. Then you look at this game and the reality of it is this is the team we have. We have to accept it. We’re just not very good right now. It’s a shame to have to say that. It’s very, very disappointing.
The defense has definitely struggled throughout the season, despite having big names like Jared Allen, Lance Briggs, Tim Jennings and D.J. Williams. However, the offense, with two Pro Bowl receivers (Marshall, Jeffrey), a Pro Bowl running back in Forte and franchise QB Jay Cutler were supposed to carry this team into the postseason. Instead, points per game have dipped from 22.5 last year to 21.6 in the 2014 season.
But Marshall hasn’t totally lost faith in himself or the team’s ability to win. “Confidence is everything as a player as a team when you lose confidence you have no chance,” he said. “Even the great teams, great players, they go through seasons where it’s a struggle and right now we’re in a struggle. If you lose your confidence there’s nothing you can do.”
One couldn’t blame Marshall for giving up hope, seeing as how he’s on pace for his worst season since 2006, his rookie year where he caught just 20 passes for 309 yards and two touchdowns. Through nine games this year, he has 42 catches for 498 yards and 6 touchdowns, putting him on pace for his first non-1,000-yard season in eight years.
It doesn’t appear that Marshall is dwelling too much on his own numbers or the team’s record this season, though. He did a good job of putting everything into perspective with the following:
The Bears face Minnesota at home this week in what looks like a winnable game. The Vikings are a game better at 4-5, however, Chicago has the more-dynamic and experienced offense. But if the 2014 season has taught us anything about the Bears, nothing is guaranteed.