The Bears' Brandon Marshall once again had a pretty productive season as he totaled 1,295 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns (most in his career). The season still ended the same way as each of his NFL seasons have: Out of the playoffs. It's a shame, too. Although the Bears may not have beaten the Seahawks if they faced each other in playoffs, at least it's possible Marshall would've had another big game. The offensive threat earned 165 receiving yards on 10 catches when the Bears faced the Legion of the Boom in 2012.
But regardless of what could've been, Marshall has to again face the awkward transition to the offseason. It doesn't come with an overwhelming sense of disappointment despite it ending with a 54-11 breakdown by the Eagles and a season-ending 33-28 blow at the hands of Aaron Rodgers and the rivaling Packers. He's finding new areas of focus during his time off and has been in a more positive mindset. Before his appearance at Saturday's DIRECTV's Celebrity Beach Bowl, Marshall spoke to us about his time against the Bears and why exactly he wouldn't be afraid to face the Seahawks (Hint: It has a lot to do with the fact he's Brandon Marshall).
How’s life been these past couple of weeks?
The past couple of weeks have been good. It’s always a weird transition to the offseason for a couple of months. For a little over six, you’re doing the same thing every single day to a lot of downtime and figuring out what you need to do next throughout the year. It’s a little overwhelming.
So is your mind focused on next season or on relaxing right now?
Where I’m at in my career you have to get away from the game. Even during the season, you have to find a way to get away from the game to stay sane. But I really believe I’m at a season of my life where you got to start preparing for it: Life after football.
I hear this weekend you’re going to be at DIRECTV’s Beach Bowl.
Are you excited for that?
The exciting part for me is that I get to coach these legends. I got the best tandem ever in football with Joe Montana and Tony Gonzalez. That’s probably going to be a beast of a tandem. Probably even bigger than that, I get to mess with Deion [Sanders] a little bit. I was a little back and forth. I didn’t go where I wanted to go in the draft and Deion has to pay for that.* So now that I’m coaching him, I’m going to have to cut his playing time. I’m a teach him a lesson: What goes around comes around.
Who are you most excited to meet? I hear LaDainian Tomlinson is supposed to be there as well.
I’ve met LT. I would have to say Tracy Morgan. I’m a play it cool when we’re competing to keep the integrity of the ball. Tracy Morgan is a guy who after I have to see what’s going on with him
One of the more interesting things for this Super Bowl is that it’s the No. 1 ranked offense against the No. 1 ranked defense. If you are against the Seahawks passing defense, what strategy would you try to use?
For me, it would be my type of game, my type of matchup. I love the one-on-one opportunity. Everyone would do exactly what they’ve done all year. They’re a cover 1, cover 3 team. Everyone just lines up and play their football. I would be put in the same position to be successful. A lot of comebacks, a lot of stop routes, a lot of go routes and just a lot of one-on-one football and just let my guys win. A lot of times a coach would try to outscheme another coach, but sometimes you got to let your guys go out there and win the game for you. This is where plenty of football players earn their dollars.
It goes without saying you’re one of the best wide receivers in football, but against a guy like Richard Sherman, is it more of a physical game or psychological?
My approach to the game doesn’t change. Those are the matchups I look forward to, so I have some success as an individual against those guys. Last year, I think I had 160 yards (in a game the Bears lost, 23-17). For me, that’s my type of game. I know my guys are going to wear them out in a cover 1, cover 3 scheme where it’s man-to-man outside. I excel in situations like that.
I’d imagine it must be rough missing the playoffs after losing those last couple of games. How has it been like dealing with that? Is being able to function with those team injuries an achievement in itself?
We ran our race. That was our race for the year and we came up short. The quicker you can get over it and get back into your offseason...because that’s where you win your games. That’s where you win your individual matchups. Hopefully next year is better, and we’re in a situation where we can compete and be in the Super Bowl festivities as participants.
Are there any particular missing pieces you guys need to take that next step?
There are always players or coaches you can add to the equation to make it better, so I’m sure coach [Marc] Trestman and [general manager] Phil Emery and management will do the best that they can this offseason and give us the pieces we need.
You seem like you enjoy yourself with the Bears more than any other team. There was a Thursday Night Football interview where you especially seemed in good spirits. What was it about the organization that put you in that head space?
I found faith in what we’re doing in the mental health community. It’s a feeling when you’re walking your purpose. It’s one of those things that gets you joy. So where we’re at in our lives—giving and serving and everything we do to try to make our community better—that’s the smile you see being in the city of Chicago given the opportunity to really feel a purpose. It’s an exciting time for us.
*Deion Sanders passed up on Brandon Marshall for A.J. Green, Dez Bryant, and Antonio Brown for the Pro Bowl Draft.