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Marshall a short-term solution for Bears

Sports Editor

Published: Saturday, March 17, 2012

Updated: Sunday, March 18, 2012 20:03

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Bill Koester, Sports Editor

With the Bulls and Blackhawks fighting for playoff positions and the start of a new baseball season just weeks away, football seemed off the radar for Chicago sports fans lately.  That changed, however, when the Bears made an out-of-nowhere move last week.

That move saw the team sign Brandon Marshall, Pro Bowl wide receiver and Jay Cutler’s former target on the Denver Broncos.  Fans hailed this as a move that could finally change the fortunes of the franchise overnight.

This Bears fan, however, did not immediately take to this pickup.  And the reason had nothing to do with Marshall’s off-field issues (though there are those).

I bought into the same hysteria when the Bears first signed Cutler.  When he actually played his first season in 2009, a lack of receivers and a porous offensive line caused him to throw just one less interception than he threw touchdowns (a 27-26 ratio), and that was when he wasn’t on the ground after getting sacked (35 times).

Cutler was the first of several big name pickups the team has made in the offseason without really addressing the team’s weaknesses as a whole. This was followed by Julius Peppers in 2010, Roy Williams in 2011 and now Marshall this offseason.

True, Peppers proved to be a great signing, and the team made it to the NFC title game in 2010 and looked tough into mid-November last season.  Then, Cutler and Matt Forte went down, and the season collapsed with them.  It really showed that the Bears, despite what success they had, hang by a thread.  As far as team depth goes, they rank at about the level of a small kiddie pool. 

Marshall might still do well for the Bears.  He should definitely be an improvement over the receivers the Bears have given Cutler thus far.

Sometime soon, though, the Bears are going to have to make changes across the board, instead of just adding one more big name each offseason.  The defense is getting old, and the offensive line still has not much improved, even when the team was doing well (Cutler was sacked 52 times in 2010 and 23 times in 9 games last year).  Just putting another band-aid over a broken team is not going to help much longer.

I hope I am wrong in my concerns.  I would love to see Marshall flourish with Culter, and defensive stalwarts like Brian Urlacher, Israel Idonije, and Lance Briggs have one more good year.   But until they prove otherwise on the field, I can’t help but think time might be up for this incarnation of the team. 

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