As a parting shot to his former Miami Dolphins, now Chicago Bears receiver Brandon Marshall recently said that even the greatest receiver in the history of the game couldn't succeed with the quarterbacks he was "forced" to deal with last season.
"It doesn't make any sense to pay a guy $2 million and only expect him to have 60 or 65 receptions, or 70 receptions in this new offense," Marshall told Orlando radio station 740 The Game on Thursday. "Also, if you don't have a quarterback, it doesn't matter who you have out there. You can bring Jerry Rice back in his prime and he's not going to be effective. It makes sense on the business end, and also the fit as far as philosophy-wise just wasn't there. I can understand the change, and honestly this is the best move that could have happened for both sides."
Jerry Rice has not commented, but having watched Rice through his entire career, I'd bet he could look pretty good behind the Houston Texans' 2002 offensive line, catching passes from David Greene and Joey Harrington.
Marshall is now reunited with quarterback Jay Cutler -- when those two played together in Denver, Marshall caught more than 100 passes each season from 2007 and 2008. Marshall also caught 101 passes in 2009 when Cutler was gone and Kyle Orton was the main man under center.
The Dolphins traded Marshall to the Bears around the same time the six-year veteran was allegedly involved in a mid-March incident at a New York nightclub. Despite their relative lack of receiver talent on the depth chart below Marshall, Miami decided to move on for two third-round picks. In the 2012 NFL draft, Miami didn't take a receiver until the sixth round, when they selected Michigan State's B.J. Cunningham.
Last season, Marshall caught 81 passes for 1,214 yards and six touchdowns for the Dolphins. Davone Bess was second on the team with 51 catches, and running back Reggie Bush brought in 43 catches. But Bess is more of a possession receiver, and Bush is a backfield threat who will sometimes line up as a slot receiver. Former Chargers and Panthers receiver Legedu Naanee was the team's only real offseason acquisition at that position.
Of course, the quarterback position is another glaring issue for the team. After striking out on Peyton Manning and Matt Flynn, the Dolphins selected Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill with the eighth overall pick, and they'll try to sell the rookie and the veteran team of Matt Moore and David Garrard to an unhappy and impatient fan base. Hearing Marshall's words can be nothing but salt in the wound to those fans, especially if Cutler and Marshall are able to resume their high-flying ways.
"I wish the Dolphins the best of luck, and the guys on the team," Marshall concluded. "I have a lot of friends there. I hope they get a chance to turn it around and start winning because that fan base is desperate for some wins."
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