Brandon Marshall (left) and Jay Cutler (US Presswire )
They're not peanut butter and chocolate. They're more like sauerkraut and Thousand Island dressing on a Reuben.
Jay Cutler. Brandon Marshall. A bona fide quarterback-wide receiver tandem. Chicago fans have heard of this before, but never witnessed it close up.
Here's the recipe for the Bears:
Take one embattled quarterback. Vigorously question toughness. Season with accusations of cockiness, petulance and detachment. Lightly chide pocket footwork. Infuse arm with lightning extract. Place behind substandard offensive line. Blog for 30 minutes.
Add one large "troublemaking" wide receiver. Place in baggage (provided), sprinkle with whispers of "malcontent," "locker room cancer" and/or "headache," and bounce around league. Cover liberally with defensive backs, perforate coverage with incredible body control, steadily drizzle in pigskin remoulade, and burn tacklers on a bed of open-field yardage.
Good quarterback-wide receiver pairings complement each player's strengths. In this case we have Cutler with the Howitzer arm, firing sidearm bullets from his cuticles into double coverage while doing the limbo, and Marshall the gigantic speedster, who is going to catch the ball no matter how open he does not look. On the field, they are perfectly suited to one another.
What makes this pair especially sweet to watch is how well their off-field issues also mesh. Both possess the kind of jaw-dropping natural talent that tends to rile lumpy sportswriters into fits of jealousy when not wielded with proper humility. Similarly, both Cutler and Marshall suffer from clinically diagnosed maladies which are often misunderstood by outsiders (diabetes for Cutler, borderline personality disorder for Marshall). Both their obvious physical gifts and their less obvious difficulties were not of their choosing, and both men seem, through armchair psychoanalysis, to struggle with this contradiction. But together they are all smiles. Delicious.
You'd never expect such an odd combo to taste so good, but without them the whole thing would be dry and unpalatable.
RedEye special contributor Ben Johnson is a comedian at iO Theater in Chicago.
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