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Bears' Brandon Marshall loving new and improved Jay Cutler

Published: Thursday, July 31, 2014 12:27 a.m. CDT • Updated: Thursday, July 31, 2014 12:30 a.m. CDT
(AP photo)
Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall runs between linebacker Lance Briggs (left) and cornerback Kelvin Hayden on Saturday during training camp at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais.

BOURBONNAIS – Brandon Marshall and Jay Cutler have a well-established rapport that traces back to their Denver days.

Yet, Marshall, the Bears’ No. 1 receiver, told reporters Wednesday that he barely knows Cutler, the Bears' $54 million quarterback, who Marshall joked should be known as “Joshua” moving forward because he’s so different from the old Jay.

Marshall is so impressed with the new Jay, in fact, that he thinks Cutler can win the NFL’s MVP award this season. In addition to the luxury of playing in Marc Trestman’s offense with a loaded supporting cast, Cutler, Marshall believes, has become one of the hardest working Bears in the offseason, echoing what offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer said earlier in the week.

“He’s a totally different person, totally different athlete,” Marshall said. “He’s the first one in the building, and that [stinks] because I try to be the first one in the building. He’s there at like 5 a.m. He lives it. I think he has a great balance to his life now with his personal stuff. ... I love him, and I love catching balls, so let’s keep it.”

Specifically, Marshall has observed improved leadership from Cutler, which is helping the entire offense play with more confidence.

“He’s leading us and it’s a trickle-down effect," Marshall said. "From a leadership standpoint, he’s bringing everyone along with him, he’s making everyone better. As far as how efficient he is, it just makes our offense that much better and gives everyone confidence."

After catching balls from Cutler and the other Bears quarterbacks during practice Wednesday, Marshall, along with fellow receivers Alshon Jeffery and Marquess Wilson, and tight end Martellus Bennett, spent time after practice with Hall of Fame receiver and NFL Network analyst Michael Irvin, someone Marshall also credits for making him better personally.

“You see the journey he’s been on and see where he’s at today, that’s a lot of inspiration there,” Marshall said. “…Whenever I get a chance to be around him, I take advantage of it. There’s times I just reach out to ask a question or two. He’s always been there for us, I appreciate it, when I say us, I mean my wife and I, and I love it.”

On Wednesday, though, Marshall made sure his younger teammates were the ones asking questions and picking the brain of “The Playmaker.”

“I just think that’s the right formula. Alshon, Martellus and Marquess, those are the guys that’s going to win games," Marshall said. “When I say that, I mean it could be Alshon’s Day, it could be Q’s day, it could be Marty’s day, it could be my day. That’s just how our office is set up. It’s not about me, it’s not just about Matt or Jay, it’s about the group."

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