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Winning trumps everything for Marshall

Posted by Larry Mayer on October 4, 2012 – 4:45 pm

In seven NFL seasons, Bears receiver Brandon Marshall has smashed records and been voted to three Pro Bowls. But for someone who has never been part of a team that has qualified for the playoffs, winning trumps all individual accomplishments.

“I want the ball all the time,” Marshall said. “I want the ball every single play. But I’m wiser now. I know there are going to be weeks where a team is just going to take me out of the game. There may be weeks where Alshon [Jeffery] may be hot. There may be one-on-one coverage all around the board, but it may be Alshon’s day or Devin [Hester's] day.

“As long as we’re winning games, I’m happy. I have a nice contract. I’m on a nice team. I’m pretty secure. The only thing I don’t have is wins. That’s what checks my ego at the door is being in this position and knowing that we have a chance to win and do big things.

“At the end of the day, whether I put up 100 catches or 80, as long as we’re winning that’s all that matters. Now I do know the NFL is all about production-what have you done for me lately-so I’ve got to keep myself in position to make those plays when it comes to me.”

With 23 receptions for 352 yards through four games, Marshall is on pace for 1,408 yards, which would eclipse Marcus Robinson’s Bears record of 1,400 yards set in 1999.

While Marshall understands that quarterback Jay Cutler isn’t going to regularly throw the ball into double and triple coverage, the 6-4, 230-pound receiver is confident that he can consistently win one-on-one battles with cornerbacks.

Marshall has done just that in the last two games, snatching jump balls away from the Rams’ Cortland Finnegan and the Cowboys’ Brandon Carr for receptions of 34 and 30 yards, respectively.

“God blessed me with a big frame,” Marshall said. “Since I’ve been in the league I’ve never been a guy who has three and four yards separation. That’s not my game.

“My game is putting myself in position where I’m between the ball and the defensive back so when a ball is in the air I pride myself on just making that play almost like a rebounder on the basketball court. I don’t expect to get huge separation. I’m not Devin Hester. I’m not fast. But I do try to take advantage of what I do have, and that’s my size.”

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Peppers, Urlacher sit out practice

Posted by Larry Mayer on October 4, 2012 – 3:13 pm

Bears defensive end Julius Peppers (ankle), middle linebacker Brian Urlacher (coach’s decision) and rookie fullback Evan Rodriguez (knee) did not practice Thursday in advance of Sunday’s road game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Receiver Earl Bennett (hand) and running back Matt Forte (ankle) were limited.

For the Jaguars, receiver Laurent Robinson (concussion) and linebacker Daryl Smith (groin) did not practice; and defensive end George Selvie (knee) was limited.

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Spaeth doesn’t get credit he deserves

Posted by Larry Mayer on October 4, 2012 – 2:42 pm

Matt Spaeth doesn’t garner the same amount of attention as stars Jay Cutler, Brandon Marshall and Matt Forte. But that doesn’t mean the tight end isn’t a valuable member of the Bears offense.

“He doesn’t get the credit he deserves,” Cutler said. “Week-in and week-out he’s a guy you can count on no matter what we ask him to do. He’s a grinder. He’s a hard worker and I really appreciate what he does out there for us.”

A sixth-year pro who spent four seasons with the Steelers before joining the Bears in 2011, Spaeth is an accomplished blocker. In Monday night’s win over the Cowboys, his pass-blocking helped render Cowboys Pro Bowl outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware a virtual non-factor.

“Matt is a role tight end, similar to what I was when I played,” said offensive coordinator Mike Tice. “He’s never going to go out and catch 12 balls. But he’s going to have a very important part in our run game, a very important part in our protection game.

“Every once in a while he’ll catch a crumb, and that’s just his role. But he’s very important in what we’re doing. We’re running the ball a lot with him in there. We’re play-actioning a lot with him in there, and then we utilized him a bunch in the chip game.

“His technique was better all week in practice last week. I thought he had his best practice, and he is one of the players that carried that over to the game, so we were pleased with his performance.”

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