Chicago Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall this weekend penned an article published in the Chicago Sun Times, discussing the recent passing of Junior Seau and what players can do to help prevent suicide.
As a follow up, Marshall - who said during his initial press conference with the club that his off-the-field goal is to raise awareness about mental health - called in the "Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN 1000.
Yet he also discussed football and what he sees for Chicago's offense next season. He said he's excited about playing alongside Earl Bennett and rookie Alshon Jeffery, but he believes Devin Hester will outshine them all.
"I have never been around a receiver, never seen a receiver, who runs routes like Devin Hester does outside. His hands are soft. He has all the skills to be a great, a Pro Bowl receiver. Not a punt returner, we all know what he can do there, but a Pro Bowl receiver."
Marshall then offered a prediction for next season.
"Honestly, I think he’s going to have a better year than me this year."
WR Devin Hester
Andrew Weber/US Presswire
While that might be a bit of a stretch - Marshall is coming off five straight seasons of 80 or more catches and more than 1,000 yards, while Hester has never topped 57 catches or 757 yards in a single season - Hester should see improved numbers now that former offensive coordinator is gone.
"I just don’t think he’s ever been in a an environment and situation, offensively, that caters to him as a player," said Marshall. "I think with Jeremy Bates and Jay growing and maturing, I think they’ll be able to put him in a better position this year, to where he can probably do damage. I’m excited about everyone else but the person I’m more excited to see is Devin.”
Marshall also feels that, now that he and Jay Cutler are older, they'll be able to top what the two accomplished together in Denver.
"Where I’m at, as far as with football now and my career, I think we’re going to be more dangerous now because of our maturity and the things we know now as far as different defenses and how to sit in different holes and how to run routes. We really picked up where we left off. Since then, we’ve really just been growing at a fast pace. I’m excited to see what we’re going to do and how we’re going to make the guys around us better."
He said the addition of quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates, who called plays for Cutler and Marshall in Denver, has also helped the two quickly regain their rhythm.
"Jeremy Bates was our OC in Denver. We’re installing a lot of the things that we did in Denver. We’re watching a lot of the film from our days in Denver."
Marshall says the chemistry he sees in Chicago's locker room, as well as off the field, is far beyond that which he experienced as a member of the Miami Dolphins.
"I’ve spent more time with my teammates - because in that locker room, those guys hanging together, they are brothers - I’ve spent more time with them in three weeks than I did during my whole two years in Miami.
"That’s what makes a great football team, when the guys get together outside the locker room. These guys do everything together. I’m excited and very blessed and grateful to be a part of this organization and this locker room.”
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Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of Bear Report magazine and BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.