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Marshall takes leadership role seriously

Posted by Larry Mayer on December 19, 2012 – 5:47 pm

Bears receiver Brandon Marshall isn’t surprised that the statement he made following Sunday’s loss to the Packers that “everyone on offense should be held accountable, even if that means jobs,” was polarizing.

“When you make a comment like that, it’s almost guaranteed you are going to rub some people the wrong way, and then there are some people that might respond to it in a positive way,” Marshall said Wednesday at Halas Hall.

When asked about accountability Wednesday, Marshall spoke solely about how he needs to improve his game in terms of run blocking, route running and technique. The three-time Pro Bowl receiver is encouraged that others are also looking in the mirror to see how they can improve.

“People are responding in a positive way,” Marshall said. “You’re hearing the word accountability being thrown around. You’re hearing guys starting to look at themselves, and that’s what it’s about.”

Marshall sees himself as a team leader for the first time in his seven-year NFL career.

“This is a new role for me as far as leadership,” Marshall said. “I know I am not perfect. Maybe I am approaching it the wrong way. But there are different ways you can lead. You can lead by example. You can lead by encouragement. You can lead by speaking and bringing energy. You can lead by sometimes calling guys out. It depends on the situation.

“I’ve been reading a lot of books on leadership, studying documentaries on some of the greats like ray Lewis and Michael Jordan and their approach to the game and more importantly just leadership.

“This is my first year really being in this role in a positive way. I have always been a guy in the locker room that guys counted on on the field making plays. As far as bringing the group together, that’s different. I just have to be patient and continue to control what I control and if I do that I can sleep good at night.”

Marshall concedes that it isn’t easy being a leader in a team sport.

“It’s definitely tough sometimes when things don’t go the way you expect them to go,” he said. “It gets frustrating, especially when the person that may be in that role is really passionate and really loves this sport.

“This game has done a lot for me. I remember when I first got here I told you guys that the NFL saved my life. I look at where I come from, the environment. I look at my journey these past six years. If it wasn’t for the NFL, I don’t know where I would be.”

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Tice: ‘I have to do a better job’

Posted by Larry Mayer on December 19, 2012 – 4:44 pm

Offensive coordinator Mike Tice knows exactly what the Bears have to accomplish Sunday when they visit the Arizona Cardinals in a must-win game at University of Phoenix Stadium.

“We need to score more points,” Tice said. “We need to execute the game plan, we need to make sure we have a good game plan, we need to make sure I call plays where the players have a chance to make plays; do a better job with that—and then have a great week of practice and go down there with good energy and win the damn game, win the damn football game.”

The Bears have averaged only 14.2 points in losing five of six games after averaging 29.5 points while winning seven of their first eight contests. In last Sunday’s loss to the rival Packers, they were limited to 190 total yards and were 0-of-9 on third down.

Tice was asked Wednesday about receiver Brandon Marshall’s comment after the game that “everyone on offense should be held accountable, even if that means jobs.”

“I didn’t hear it. It kind of filtered back,” Tice said. “We’re all emotional. It’s hard when you lose, not a game but it’s hard when you have a string like this and frustrations mount.

“We’re all accountable. It starts with me. I’m wearing a hat. I have to do a better job, and I’ve been in this league a long time to know how this pecking order works. It falls on my shoulders. It falls on everybody’s shoulder. But like I said, what can I do better to help me get better and help us win? That’s how I’m approaching this week with that kind of energy.”

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Five injured players return to practice

Posted by Larry Mayer on December 19, 2012 – 4:02 pm

As they prepare for Sunday’s must-win game in Arizona, it appears that the Bears are getting healthier.

Five players who sat out last weekend’s loss to the Packers with injuries practiced on a limited basis Wednesday: receiver Earl Bennett (concussion), linebacker Geno Hayes (knee), cornerback Tim Jennings (shoulder) defensive end Shea McClellin (knee) and defensive tackle Henry Melton (chest).

“We’ll need everybody this week,” said coach Lovie Smith. “We know what’s at stake for this game.”

Jennings’ return would be huge; he continues to lead the NFL with a career-high eight interceptions.

“We’re hopeful he’ll be able to go this week,” Smith said. “Having a guy come back with eight interceptions and just the type of play that we’ve gotten from him would give us all a boost, and not only him. There’s a chance we could get a few guys back that all have impressive numbers, like a Henry Melton and guys like that.”

Middle linebacker Brian Urlacher and right tackle Jonathan Scott did not practice due to hamstring injuries.

Asked about Urlacher’s timetable to return, Smith said: “He’s getting better, but with hamstrings it’s just hard to say exactly when you will get back. I just know that he’s here and with some of the things he’s doing it’s better than what it was before. It’s pretty hard to come back from a hamstring injury in a week or so.

“That’s why we need to play good football this week against Arizona and just buy time for him to get back.”

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