As NFL free agency opened on Tuesday, the Bears finalized the trade of Brandon Marshall to the Jets. The Bears sent the 32nd all-time best pass catcher in the NFL and a 2016 seventh-round pick to New York for a fifth-round pick in this year’s draft.
As happy as Marshall seemed to get out of Chicago, the Bears seemed just as relieved to wave goodbye. And for good reason.
Marshall has been nothing more than an enigma for the Bears, as he was for the Dolphins and Broncos and as he will be for the Jets.
So, it was hardly surprising that upon his arrival in the Big Apple, Marshall took a parting shot at the Bears.
Marshall said he was excited to come to the Jets because “I haven’t played with a great defense like that in a very long time.”
Hmm. Let’s chew on that a while.
A quick glance at the numbers reveals the Jets were sixth in the NFL in yards (5,235) allowed. Pretty good. Great?
Let’s dig deeper. Football is about putting the ball in the end zone and keeping the other team out. The Jets defense was 24th in points (401) allowed, seven spots ahead of the atrocious Bears (442). That’s not good.
Let’s go even deeper. The good folks at Football Outsiders really crunch the numbers to come up with an overall defensive efficiency rating. They had the Jets—playing the toughest schedule in the NFL (remember this)—ranked 21st, seven spots ahead of the Bears.
So, the 30-year-old wide receiver has deemed his new team’s defense, “great.”
Admittedly, the Bears’ defense last year was pathetic. But Marshall says he hasn’t played on a “great” defense in “a long time.”
I don’t think even Marshall would consider 2012 “a very long time” ago. That was the year the Bears grabbed Marshall from the Dolphins for two third-rounds picks.
Let’s examine the Bears’ defense that Marshall inherited his first year in Chicago.
In 2011, the Bears’ D was a mediocre 14th in points allowed and 17th in yards allowed. But, according to Football Outsiders, they ranked No. 4 in defensive efficiency, playing the NFL’s toughest schedule.
Not exactly “great,” but better than Marshall’s Jets.
Now let’s take a look at 2012. The Bears ranked third in points allowed behind the Seahawks and 49ers; they had eight interception returns for TDs, one short of the NFL record, and led the league in takeaways with 44. They were far and away the No. 1 defense in the league according to Football Outsiders.
Wow! With those “great” defensive numbers, how could the Bears (10-6) have missed the playoffs that season?
And, so did Brandon Marshall as he has in each of his nine NFL seasons.