Seahawks CBs present big challenge for Marshall
Brandon Marshall has manhandled most opponents this season, which is why the 6-foot-4, 230-pound wide receiver is third in the NFL with 81 catches and fifth with 1,017 yards.
But today he'll be up against the NFL's biggest cornerbacks, the Seahawks' 6-foot-4, 221-pound Brandon Browner and 6-foot-3, 195-pound Richard Sherman, who comprise one of the league's best tandems.
"Brandon's usually the biggest guy out there on the outside and he kind of does what he wills and throws guys around," Bears quarterback Jay Cutler said. "So it's a different matchup for him, bigger guys who are going to grab, going to pull, going to get up in his face. So we're going to have to attack it a little different. I'm going to have to talk to 'B' and see what he's comfortable running and go from there."
Marshall has more receiving yards than the next five Bears players combined. Earl Bennett is second with 238 yards. No other NFL team has a greater discrepancy between its No. 1 and No. 2 receivers.
With a revamped and largely untested offensive line, the Bears may utilize more max protection on pass plays Sunday, which limits the number of targets for quarterback Jay Cutler.
"You have to do what you have to do," Cutler said. "First and foremost, you have to protect the quarterback. It's hard throwing out of a phone booth all the time. It makes life difficult when you're getting hit all the time, and you should be protected. So, if we've got to have a few more guys in helping out, then that's what we have to do.
"We've got guys who can get open. Brandon (Marshall) and Earl (Bennett) and some of those guys are going to have to do their part. If we only have two (receivers), if we only have three, four, they have to make it happen."
With Devin Hester sidelined with a concussion, the Seahawks figure to have the special teams edge thanks to the presence of dangerous Leon Washington, who last week tied the NFL career record with his eighth kickoff-return touchdown.
He's third in the NFL with a 31.9-yard average on kickoff returns and fourth in the NFC with a 9.5-yard punt-return average.
"He's dangerous on both," Bears special teams coordinator Dave Toub said. "As a kickoff returner, he's just so strong, and he has great vision. He makes subtle moves. He's not going to make an unbelievable cut and run around the coverage. But he's real shifty, he keeps his shoulders square, and he gets north and south in a hurry."
Running back Matt Forte missed just one game after spraining his ankle in Week 2, and he might not miss any after reinjuring the same ankle last week.
"I don't know how bad it was. It hurt," said Forte, who practiced all week. "I've been doing a lot of different stuff, a chiropractor working on it, sleeping in a hyperbaric chamber and all that stuff. That seems to work pretty well. I just continue to do what I did last time."
Precocious little guy:
Seahawks rookie quarterback Russell Wilson has thrown 17 TD passes and been picked off just eight times. He has a passer rating of 93.9, 12th in the NFL, second only to Robert Griffin III among rookies, and 12.8 points higher than Bears quarterback Jay Cutler.
"We've been very impressed," Bears defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli said. "He's got great touch on the ball. He rolls right, rolls left. He moves extremely well in the pocket, not just to scramble but to throw. His awareness ... he's got great touch on the ball. He's got our attention, I'm telling you that."
Knowing your role:
Even though tight end Matt Spaeth made an exquisite touchdown catch last week, offensive coordinator Mike Tice said he's not going to become a downfield threat in the passing attack. He'll stick to blocking a lot and catching a little.
"He knows what his role is," Tice said, "and he accepts his role, and he's going to be good at his role, and that's not his role."
Spaeth had a better chance of playing offensive line last week after both staring guard were injured. One more injury, and Spaeth would have been a full-time blocker, but not at guard.
"They would have moved one of the tackles over to guard and put me at tackle," he said. "I'm glad it didn't get to that."
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