Brandon Marshall praises Jay Cutler

ByMichael C. Wright ESPN logo
Wednesday, July 30, 2014

BOURBONNAIS, Ill. -- Hall of Famer Michael Irvin visited Chicago Bears practice on Wednesday, and Brandon Marshall continuously bent the former Dallas Cowboys receiver's ear, telling him that in 2014, quarterback Jay Cutler could be the MVP of the league.

Did Irvin believe him?

"I don't think anybody would believe it," Marshall said. "I don't know why they wouldn't believe it. [But] this is a different person. I don't know this guy. I don't know this new Jay Cutler. Maybe his new name is like Joshua or something. This is a totally different guy. Just call him Joshua Cutler. That's what the 'J' stands for."

Marshall "absolutely" believes Cutler could win MVP, citing changes in the quarterback's personal life and a strong supporting cast as his reasoning. Cutler comes off a strong 2013 campaign in which he finished with the second-highest completion percentage (63.1) in franchise history, in addition to posting a career-best passer rating of 89.2.

"I want to see what happens when they have a healthy Jay Cutler," Irvin said. "I asked Brandon that very question; what do you think a healthy Jay Cutler for 16 games [can accomplish]? He said 'MVP in the league.' I said that's high praise right there; you're just going to take Peyton Manning off that shelf and just going to put Jay Cutler right up there like that? That's the way he sees it.

"And that type of confidence with the kind of feeling they have about this offense, and what coach [Marc] Trestman is doing, is just incredible. With the diversity of your offense, you feel good about your opportunities."

Criticized in the past for surliness, heated on-field exchanges with teammates and coaches, not to mention the perception he's aloof, Cutler has turned heads at training camp for what he's done on the field as a passer while also receiving praise for becoming more of a leader off the field.

Quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh recently said Cutler "does things that will never, ever get reported, and you just say, 'Wow, that's unselfish.'"

What's different about Cutler?

"Everything," Marshall said. "It's night and day. He's a totally different person. He's a totally different athlete. He's the first one in the building and that sucks because I've tried to be the first one in the building. He's there at like 5 a.m. He lives it. I think he has great balance in his life now with his personal stuff. I won't go there. He hates when people go there."

Cutler's wife, reality-television star Kristin Cavallari, gave birth in May to the couple's second son, Jaxon Wyatt Cutler. Last October, the quarterback acknowledged he's changed for the better during "The Jay Cutler Show" on ESPN 1000, saying, "I'm in a good place right now."

But Marshall believes his quarterback has changed substantially since that time. Are the changes seriously enough to merit talk of Cutler potentially winning an MVP award?

"Absolutely," Marshall said. "I think with coach Trestman and [offensive coordinator Aaron] Kromer and our offense. ... our offensive linemen are studs. They work together. We have a special group at the skill positions like Matt Forte, Alshon [Jeffery], Martellus [Bennett] and Q [Marquess Wilson]. I think absolutely [Cutler could win MVP]."

Related Video