To Chicago Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall, the secondary of the Green Bay Packers isn’t all that impressive.
“I'm looking forward to one-on-one coverage,” Marshall said today. “Hopefully, those guys [in their secondary] in games like this may go to their coach and say, 'Let me have him. I want Brandon Marshall. I want to stop Brandon Marshall. Let me have him one-on-one, press coverage.' And we'll see what happens."
The Packers held Marshall to just two catches for 24 yards in the first meeting between the two clubs this year. Yet Marshall said that had more to do with the scheme of Green Bay defensive coordinator Dom Capers than the play of their secondary.
“Coach Capers is their player MVP,” Marshall said. “For their players to be over there talking about how awesome of a job they [do] shutting down certain players, I don't respect that, when it's two and three guys on you or other guys. Coach Capers did an amazing job of game-planning us and game-planning me. I didn't beat double or triple coverage or whatever they were throwing at us.”
The Packers were willing to give Chicago’s other receivers single coverage, just as long as Marshall didn’t beat them. It was a solid strategy, as Green Bay won the contest 23-10. With Alshon Jeffery back and healthy, Marshall says that won’t be the case this time around.
WR Brandon Marshall
Dennis Wierzbicki/USA TODAY Sports
“I'll lean on Alshon. I'll lean on Matt Forte. I'll lean on Devin Hester this game,” said Marshall. “I invite double and triple coverage. We won't force the ball to me. We'll lean on other guys and if they want to give me one-on-one coverage, they will pay. If they want to double and triple cover me, then we will lean on other guys and our guys will step up and make plays.
“I just don't like the talk afterwards about how great of a job the players did when it's not man-to-man coverage or single.”
After the Week 2 defeat, Marshall said Packers cornerback Tramon Williams and safety Charles Woodson had a lot of derogatory comments about Chicago’s offense and their ability to shut him down.
"I’ve had this game marked since we played them last,” Marshall said. “I heard exactly what [Williams], I heard exactly what he was saying after the game. Woodson, those guys do a lot of talking. So this is personal for me.”
Marshall said those comments have fueled his dislike for Green Bay and his desire to win this weekend.
“I take it as a slap in my face when guys talk about my lack of ability to do something against them when they have help all over the place,” he said. “I would love their play to back up their talk.
“They’re not physical at all. They play a lot of off [coverage]. Leading up to the game, they were complaining about how big I was and I was a cheater because I grabbed and pushed at the line of scrimmage. I thought that what's bump coverage was about. So they put them off and throw them inside and safety over the top and a linebacker running out to me. They did a bunch of things and it was good. But we won't make that mistake again. We won't force the ball to me.”
Come Sunday, Marshall said he would like Woodson out on the field, although he’s expected to miss the game with a collarbone injury.
"[He’s a] great player. The defense is definitely different with him in the lineup. But for me, the reason why I would like Charles out there is totally different. I want him out there because of the some of things that they say. I take it personal when someone takes jabs at the way I approach the game or my career."
While he has respect for the Packers, Marshall said the comments by Green Bay players following the Week 2 contest have made this weekend bigger than any other.
"This is the biggest game of my career,” said Marshall. “I went into last game just approaching it like any old game and … I don't like the Green Bay Packers. I'm not going to use the word hate, but I really dislike the Green Bay Packers and their players. But the talk, you have to back it up. We'll go out there and we'll do everything we need to do to get a win.
"I've never felt this strong in sports -- versus any team or any players. I'm going to play like it's my last game."
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Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America.