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Marshall understands strong comments irked some

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LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) - Brandon Marshall understands he might have offended some people with his demand for accountability following the Bears' loss to Green Bay last weekend.

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Chicago's star receiver might have won a few allies, too.

``When you make a comment like that, it's almost guaranteed that you're going to rub some people the wrong way, and then there's some people that might respond to it in a positive way,'' he said. ``It's a little bit of both.''

Marshall clearly was more relaxed Wednesday, just a few days after he went off, but these are still tense times for Chicago.

The Bears (8-6) are freefalling after a promising start for the second straight season and are in danger of missing the playoffs for the fifth time in six years.

Coach Lovie Smith's future is in question. The same goes for injured linebacker Brian Urlacher, given his expiring contract, and with the losses mounting, few would appear to be safe at the moment.

``Once the season is over, I think that this organization will take time to let things settle down and figure out what the necessary steps are going forward,'' quarterback Jay Cutler said. ``But as players, we can't worry about that. That can't be in the back of our mind, can't be anything we're concerned with.''

Things are going so poorly at the moment it's hard to believe the Bears were sailing along not too long ago.

They started 7-1 but have dropped five of six since then, and there's no guarantee they'll reach the postseason even if they close with wins at Arizona and Detroit.

The loss to Green Bay was particularly ugly.

Not only did the Packers clinch the NFC North, Chicago managed just 190 yards, and Marshall simply couldn't hold back afterward.

He had an intense glare as tears welled in his eyes and his voice cracked. He said everyone involved with the offense should be held accountable ``even if that means jobs'' and answered a few more questions before walking out of the interview room.

He appeared to be in a better frame of mind on Wednesday. Asked who should be held accountable, Marshall joked, ``Reporters.''

``We can't keep making the same mistakes,'' he said.

He pointed the finger at himself, saying he needs to do a better job blocking and running routes.

``I think he's looking at what he can do better to help us win,'' offensive coordinator Mike Tice said. ``I'm glad to hear him soul-searching and trying to find a way because it means something to him.''

Marshall was also asked if he was admonished by management or the coaches for his post-game comments, and his answer was vague.

``Well, maybe that was a comment that maybe I should have kept to myself and kept in-house,'' Marshall said. ``And with that being said, any response I got from anybody in the organization, I'll keep that private.''

Marshall said he's trying to be more of a leader than he was with Denver and Miami.

He said he's been reading books on the subject, studying documentaries about Ray Lewis and Michael Jordan, trying to glean what he can from two legendary players.

It's not easy, though, when the losses are mounting and a promising season is slipping away.

Marshall is second to Detroit's Calvin Johnson with 1,398 yards receiving and leads the league with 107 receptions, but Chicago's offense has been out of sync all season.

The Bears rank 29th in that area, and that's not the way they envisioned it.

They've relied so heavily on Marshall, and other than the occasional promising flash by rookie Alshon Jeffery, the other receivers aren't contributing much.

Some of that might be on Cutler and the play-calling, but it's mostly on them, whether they're dropping passes or simply not getting open.

Meanwhile, Marshall said he's trying to lead through his words and his actions.

``It is 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, from a boy, the environment. I look at my journey's past six years. If it wasn't for the NFL, I don't know where I'd be. And now, I'm starting to see a difference in my family and my community. People are changing. I'm getting phone calls from around the league, guys asking for counseling as far as how to attack mental illness or different situations. This is a new season for me on and off the field. You just have to stay on the journey.''

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2014
The Associated Press
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