Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 12/12/12
It’s very rare that a Lovie Smith coached team has a player make national headlines with comments through the press. Then again, there has not been a player with the clout that wide receiver Brandon Marshall carries in Chicago during Smith’s nine seasons as head coach.In the Bears press conference after a light walkthrough practice at Halas Hall on Wednesday, Marshall may have created those headlines with comments about the Bears opponent on Sunday, the Green Bay Packers.“I do not like the Green Bay Packers,” Marshall said. “I am not going to use the word hate, but I really dislike the Green Bay Packers and their players.”Marshall has already set the Bears single-season record with 101 receptions -- besting Marty Booker’s mark of 100. With 1,342 receiving yards, he needs just 59 more to crumble Marcus Robinson’s 1999 mark of 1,400 yards.The Packers have been the one team that has success in shutting down Marshall this season. In the week 2 23-10 loss at Lambeau Field, Marshall was limited to just two catches for 24 yards. In that game, his first in this rivalry with the Bears, Marshall constantly was covered by a corner with a safety over the top. After the game Packers corner Tramon Williams, who intercepted Bears QB Jay Cutler twice, along with All-Pro safety Charles Woodson commented on how they shut down the explosive Marshall.The comments did not sit well with Marshall.“Coach (Dom) Capers (Packers defensive coordinator) is their player MVP,” Marshall said. “He did an amazing job of game planning against us and me. “For their players to be over there and talk about how awesome they are at shutting down certain players, you know I don’t respect that. They do a lot of talking, so this one is personal for me”Marshall issued a challenge to Williams and the rest of the Packers defensive backs. “Hopefully those guys will go to their coaches and say ‘Let me have him. I want Brandon Marshall. I want to stop Brandon Marshall’,” Marshall said. “If they want to give me one-on-one, they will pay.”The odds of Marshall facing one-on-one coverage Sunday at Soldier Field is slim to none, and he knows that. So other guys will have to step up. “If they wanna roll coverage over to me, I have Alshon Jeffery on the other side,” Marshall acknowledged. “He’s not a rookie out there anymore. He is not rusty anymore.“I’ll lean on Alshon and Matt Forte. I’ll lean on Devin Hester on Sunday. Those guys will step up.”Just so there was no confusion with how he feels about the Packers and the game on Sunday, Marshall finished with one last headliner. “I’ve never felt this strong in sports about one team or players,” he said. “I am going to play like it’s my last game.”And there is no better time than Sunday for Marshall to go out and back up those strong comments.TRAVIS DAVID is a contributor for FOOTBALL NATION and can be reached at tdavid021@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @Tdavid_21.
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