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Joniak's Journal: Marshall Evolving Into A Leader

By Jeff Joniak-

(WBBM) Brandon Marshall is having a career year for a Bears team with flickering playoff hopes. He's never been to the playoffs and has long felt this was the best team he's played on, with a bunch of high character, determined, and talented players on the roster.

However, his frustration with the overall production of the offense eats at him.

"Winning is contagious and unfortunately losing is too," Marshall said.  "I understand what losing is and I understand what winning is and this is a winning team and a winning organization.  So that's what really frustrates me and other guys."

After Sunday's loss, Marshall kept everyone guessing when he said "everybody in this offense should be held accountable, even if that means jobs."

Reporters pushed for clarification today and like he's done all season, he pointed the thumb at himself, not the finger.

"I have to be accountable to Jay (Cutler). I have to be accountable to Matt (Forte) and I have to be accountable to the offensive coordinator, and the players, and this organization for my play. I think the best teams hold each other accountable and we do that," he said.

Marshall questioned his own performance.

"We can't keep making the same mistakes," Marshall said. "No one is going to be perfect. Even in that game I made some bone-headed mistakes.  I have to play better in the run game and there were other things I could have done better technique-wise in routes.  I have to be accountable when I look at film."

He admitted that his post-game emotions may have ticked some people off.  He said the reaction was mixed inside the building.  Most players feel Marshall was talking about players rather than coaches and the front office.  He would not say if head coach Lovie Smith or General Manager Phil Emery discussed it with him.

Marshall is the dominant piece in the offensive puzzle. The other pieces are so small at the moment; it's tedious to complete the picture. No one knows what it's supposed to look like.

Only Marshall caught passes against the Packers at the receiver position.

"You know, I was in a situation in Denver where I remember in 2008 in our two-minute drill we used to always go to Javon Walker," Marshall said.  "It got to a point where I had to question myself back then as far as, am I ready or, am I scared of the opportunity?"

Marshall also recalls being sidelined in Denver and Miami in games against the Oakland Raiders when without him the Broncos and Dolphins offenses exploded with points and wins.

"So I question maybe it's me and what can I do differently? It's been a lot of thinking on my side and what can I do differently in my approach just to help the guys around and make them more comfortable in the offense."

Marshall is a team leader. He's not a captain, but fills the role. However, it's his maiden voyage as a leader. It's not always a natural evolution for a star player.

"You know I am not perfect," Marshall said. "Maybe I'm approaching it the wrong way. You can lead by example. You can lead by encouragement. You can lead by speaking and bringing energy … you can lead sometimes by calling guys out."

Marshall is taking ownership of his leadership.

"I've been reading a lot of books on leadership, studying documentaries on some of the greats, like Ray Lewis, Michael Jordan and their approach to the game," he said. "I just have to be patient and continue to learn and continue to control what I can control and if I do that I can sleep good at night."

Imagine the rest he will get if the Bears find a way to make the playoffs.

And they're likely going to need more than 18 points.  The Packers have scored more than 21 points six times in the last eight games against the Bears.

Jeff Joniak is the play-by-play voice of the Chicago Bears on WBBM Newsradio 780 & 105.9 FM. You can follow Jeff on Twitter @JeffJoniak.

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