In spite of their recent loss, the Chicago Bears still find themselves primed for a playoff spot. There hasn't been much to rave about on offense this year except for the outstanding chemistry between Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall.
This is Marshall's first season with the Bears after being acquired in the offseason via a trade with the Miami Dolphins. Marshall and Cutler, however, have played with each other in the past. The two were teammates with the Denver Broncos for the first three seasons of their career.
During their time in Denver, Marshall went over 100 receptions two out of the three seasons and both players made the Pro Bowl in 2008. What developed during that time was not only a friendship but a strong comfort level for two brash personalities.
Marshall is now at a place in his life where he is comfortable with who he is and he works hard every day to be a better man. However, as reported by Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun-Times, there was once a point in Marshall's past when he was in a dark place and Cutler was there for him:
We’re very good friends...Cutler, man, he’s an amazing guy. He’s probably got one of the biggest hearts. I played with Cutler at a time when I was very young and immature, and his guidance and leadership helped me not fall off the deep end. So Cutler is a very special person to me.
Cutler and Marshall have each endured criticism during their careers. Cutler has been seen as a cocky and abrasive quarterback who can rub some the wrong way, while Marshall has had his share of off-field issues that have been well-documented in the media.
It's almost like two outcasts came together because they were alienated by others around them. Marshall and Cutler seem to be close because they share the same burdens and are able to confide in each other.
There's a strong trust level between Cutler and Marshall. You see that on the field week after week. Marshall is targeted the most not only because he's the team's best talent at that position, but Cutler trusts Marshall to make the play no matter who's covering him. Often Cutler will pass up an easier completion to another receiver, opting instead to go for a big play to Marshall.
You get the feeling right now these two guys are ecstatic to get another opportunity to play with each other. They not only want to make the most this now, but they also want to make sure the opportunity is available to them in the future.
When asked recently about giving the Bears a hometown discount (via espn.com) on his next contract, Cutler said he has discussed this with Marshall, and both players would be willing to do so if it means they can stay together and win.
We've (Brandon Marshall) talked about it. He's up in two or three years after this. You know you get to a point in your career where it's not even about money, you're secure and you want win Super Bowls and be on a good team.
Marshall is already over 1,000 yards for the season. He's the first Bear since Marty Booker in 2002 to reach that mark. He is also approaching 100 receptions and is on target to have the most prolific season any Bear receiver has ever had.
If the Bears want to win this year and be successful going forward, a great deal of it will rest on the amazing chemistry between Cutler and Marshall.