Chicago Bears Can't Afford to Deal with an Injured, Angry Brandon Marshall

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Chicago Bears Can't Afford to Deal with an Injured, Angry Brandon Marshall

Brandon Marshall quietly had a career year in 2012, but the Chicago Bears have reasons to be concerned about his 2013 campaign.

The occasionally mercurial, 29-year-old wideout recently voiced irritation regarding how his hip was feeling as he prepares for the season opener against the Cincinnati Bengals on September 8.

Marshall said "I’m not where I want to be right now. It’s a little frustrating. But we’ll see. Some people might think I need to be farther on than where I am, so it’s a little frustrating not being where I want to be right now and maybe being pushed a little bit," per Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun-Times.

After that, Marshall was given a four-day break from practice for "personal reasons," according to Adam L. Jahns of the Sun-Times. Head coach Marc Trestman stated the rest was "planned out." Quarterback Jay Cutler also added that Marshall is behind as far as conditioning is concerned. 

Undoubtedly, any hindrances to Marshall's recovery from hip surgery should be worrisome for Chicago's coaching staff and Bears fans alike. 

Mike Wright, who covers the Bears for ESPN, sent out a series of tweets which quoted Marshall's agent, Kennard McGuire, about his client's hip injury, rehab and recent time off from practice:

However, ESPN's Adam Schefter posted this as a follow-up to the comparable comments given by Trestman and McGuire:

The Bears certainly don't want Marshall to go into the regular season less than 100 percent, and they don't want him angry, either. While he's been calmer over the past few seasons, we can't totally dismiss his rather volatile past.

NFL.com's Ian Rapoport confirmed why Marshall is getting an extended rest so close to Week 1:

At this point, the Bears should take a cautious approach with their "perfectionist" star to make sure he feels ready when the games actually count. Thus far, it appears as though they're doing the right thing by giving the 6'4'', 235-pound physical specimen necessary rest, which won't make him feel prematurely "forced" onto the field.

While second-year pro Alshon Jeffery has the physical makeup to emerge as a fine complement to Marshall this season, he still has a lot to prove.

Based on the pass-catching production from last year, Chicago desperately needs a few players to improve so Marshall isn't blanketed by double and triple coverage as often.

Here's how the the Bears' targets were dispersed in 2012:

Bears 2012 Target Dispersion
Targets % of Cutler/Campbell's Attempts Receptions Yards
Alshon Jeffery 48 9.8 24 367
Earl Bennett 49 10 29 375
Matt Forte 60 12.3 44 340
Devin Hester 40 8 23 242
Kellen Davis 44 9 19 229
Brandon Marshall 194 40 118 1,508

ESPN

Pretty incredible, right?

For perspective, this is how Marshall's 2012 target percentage compared to some of the NFL's most prominent wideouts:

Brandon Marshall's Target Percentage Comparison
% of total team targets
Brandon Marshall 40
Calvin Johnson 27.7
A.J. Green 30.3
Andre Johnson 29.6
Vincent Jackson 25.9
Reggie Wayne 30

ESPN

While Trestman likely wants to be more balanced this season, there aren't a lot of established pass-catching options on the roster outside of Marshall. Hopefully for Chicago, tight end Martellus Bennett and seventh-round pick Marquess Wilson can contribute on a consistent basis.

There's no reason the 2012 All-Pro needs to see the field before September 8. Chicago does not want to deal with an injured or ticked off Brandon Marshall. 

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