10 for 10 with Ian: Week 17 Top Plays on FantasyAces - Brandon Marshall Edition
Brandon Marshall may be the most successful NFL journeyman to ever play the game. This, like many Marshall statistics or characteristics, is a bit of a backhanded compliment.
Earlier this month Marshall became the first wide receiver to gain over 1,000 yards receiving with four different teams. This stat is good in that it is very difficult for a wide receiver to switch teams, quarterbacks (except when his ex-BFF Jay Cutler joined Marshall in Chicago), and offensive systems and still be successful. This stat is bad in that three teams had a successful Marshall, only to get rid of him for one reason or another.
The reasons that have surrounded Marshall’s three trades have been interesting to say the least. Marshall has been an ambassador of sorts for mental illness in the NFL, as Marshall and his borderline personality disorder have made headlines over the years. Personally, I couldn’t be happier for Marshall and his quest to make mental illness more understood and accepted in the NFL and elsewhere, but it appears as though Marshall’s mental illness (which he has sought help for since 2011) has still contributed to his short stays with the Broncos, Dolphins and Bears.
Let’s take a look at the so called “distractions” that led to Marshall, the best Bears wide receiver ever (take a look for yourself, sorry Johnny Morris and Harlon Hill) was traded this past offseason for just a fifth round pick.
The first distraction suggested by this Chicago Tribune column is Marshall’s “bizarre” news conference where he dove into his past history with domestic violence. Domestic violence is a very uncomfortable subject to discuss in today’s NFL, but here Marshall simply used his news conference as a way to stick up for himself when six year old allegations were resurfaced by ESPN. Marshall explained that he was sick with a mental illness at that time, and in addition to seeking help for himself to ensure that never happens again, Marshall has become a huge advocate for mental health awareness.
The rest of the distractions involved: Marshall yelling at Robbie Gould after a game, challenging a Lions fan and Lions center to fights on Twitter, and a jab at Cutler’s contract. Not to say these are inexcusable, but certainly there have been more damaging mistakes by wide receivers in the past.
My reasoning for bringing all of this up has to do with the current AFC playoff picture. The 10-5 Jets have a chance at locking up their first playoff berth since the Mark Sanchez “era” this Sunday, and Brandon Marshall is a huge reason why. One hundred and one receptions, 1,376 yards, and 13 touchdowns is an awful lot of production to trade away for a fifth-round pick, but for Bears’ head coach John Fox it was simple: “I was looking for Super-Bowlers, not Pro-Bowlers.” Never mind that Super Bowl teams typically have more Pro-Bowlers than non-Super Bowl teams, but I’m sure Fox and his 6-9 Bears would make the same decision again, which is what saddens me.
QB Jay Cutler $5,850 vs. Detroit
It wouldn’t be a Brandon Marshall edition 10for10 without Smokin’ Jay himself! Lost in the news due to much more important story lines is the fact that Jay Cutler and the 6-9 Bears have been surprisingly competent this year. Despite the wrong kind of early season expectations established by Vegas, Cutler has thrown the least interceptions in his entire career (when he’s played at least 11 games). Yes, his 3,400 passing yards and 19 passing touchdowns don’t exactly jump off the page, but for Cutler it’s always been about him not making the dumb play, and he’s done that this year to a large extent. The 25th ranked Lions defense in QB aFPA awaits.