After a loss to an underwhelming Dolphins team, the 3-4 Bears had it out in a closed locker room—yelling, shoving, everyone right on down to the kicker getting blasted in turn. But as far as postgame meltdowns go, this has the potential to be one of the more constructive ones: behind Brandon Marshall's criticism for Jay Cutler is one of the genuinely closest receiver-quarterback relationships in the league.
The media was shut out of the locker room immediately following the 27-14 loss, in which the Bears were booed by their own fans. But they heard plenty of yelling from the other side of the door. Among the remarks:
''Will you fight with your heart?''
(Brandon Marshall would make a good motivational speaker. Actually, all of the Bears sounded like they had just gotten back from a self-help seminar. ''Keeping your emotions in is what ends up making people sick,'' Martellus Bennett said. ''You let them out and change that into positive energy.'')
More overheard Marshall:
''You just kick the ball!''
Yes, even Robbie Gould got called out.
But from multiple reports, Marshall directed most of his ire toward Cutler—among "some very selfish individuals in the locker room"—after an uninspired game from the Bears QB that featured a fourth-quarter fumble and a brutal interception on an overthrown ball to a double-covered Bennett.
When the locker room finally opened up, Marshall didn't hide his frustration, using the word "unacceptable" 17 times in three-and-a-half minutes.
In that mini-rant to reporters, there's plenty to be read into Marshall's omission of Cutler's name from a couple of lists. First:
''We've got Alshon Jeffery, Martellus Bennett, Matt Forte. We've got a stud offensive line. We've got a great, great group of guys. And this is unacceptable. What did we put up, 14 points? Was it 14 points? That's unacceptable.''
''My confidence is there. Alshon Jeffery's confidence is there. Martellus Bennett's confidence is there.''
And what of Jay Cutler's confidence?
''Jay is a gunslinger. Jay is our guy. Jay is our leader.''
Cutler didn't have much to say about what went on in the locker room, merely calling it "emotional." But maybe that's a big deal. The even-keeled Cutler frequently comes across as disengaged, sometimes annoyingly so in situations where observers and teammates feel that his performance was worth getting mad about. Marshall, Cutler's teammate over six seasons with two different teams—and his close friend—knows how to push his quarterback's buttons, and knows that pushing them publicly is occasionally the way to go. The Bears, at 3-4 and with a big game at New England next Sunday before heading into their bye, probably need to be pushing every button available right now.