As far as individual matchups go, Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall vs. Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor is as good as it gets.
Last Monday, the 33-year-old Taylor held Cincinnati's A.J. Green to 6 catches for 41 yards, even though Green was targeted 14 times. In three other head-to-head matchups with Green, Taylor has twice held the Pro Bowl wide receiver to just 1 catch.
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"He's one of the best in the business," Marshall said of Taylor, who was teammates with Bears Pro Bowl corner Charles Tillman at Louisiana-Lafayette. "It seems like he's getting better as he ages.
"I remember a few years ago playing against him in Miami. I disrespected him a little bit. I didn't do my film study, and he did some things that really put me in a tough spot."
That was in 2010, when Marshall was with the Dolphins; he was limited to 5 catches for 57 yards.
"I've been going back to my Denver days and my Miami days just watching him and seeing how he played me," Marshall said. "I have a lot of respect for this guy, and no longer will I overlook him.
"He's a technician. He's smart. He's always in the right spot. Sometimes we think it's all about having supernatural ability. But it's not.
"Sometimes when you have your technique down and you really know your game plan and you know what you're supposed to do, that's better than having a guy that's all-world."
The middle man:
Coach Marc Trestman trusts quarterback coach Matt Cavanaugh enough to allow him to be the conduit to Jay Cutler on Sundays, while the head coach manages the game.
So far, the QB and the QB coach have meshed well -- for a lot of reasons, according to Cutler.
"He's a grinder; he's a guy that comes in every single day, and he's looking to help me get better," Cutler said. "On Wednesdays, it's hard, I'm tired, but he pushes you through it."
Sometimes Cutler is tempted to push back.
"There's some give and take there," he said. "In my younger days, it might have been a little bit more rocky, but it's going real well right now."
Cavanaugh played 14 years as an NFL quarterback, almost exclusively as a backup, but he was on Super Bowl winners with the New York Giants and San Francisco. Cutler says he and Cavanaugh have some similarities. But they're different, too.
"I would never coach after playing as long as he did, so he's crazy for that," Cutler said. "He's got a tough job, working with 'Trest,' then relaying things to me, keeping me up on the protections.
"There's a lot on his plate; red zone, third down. I don't know if the guy sleeps."
Know it all:
Sitting in on tight end meetings isn't enough for Martellus Bennett, whose 3 touchdown catches in the first two games equaled the output of all Bears tight ends in 2012.
"He'll pop into our meetings," quarterback Jay Cutler said. "He comes into protection meetings. He's got notebooks, and I don't even know what he's writing half the time; he's just writing as coach is talking.
"(He) knows everything. You could go back to our first game and ask him about the game plan and he'll be able to tell you what we were doing, what fronts we were going against, the blocking schemes.
"You can't get much past him. When I mess up a call or I have some questions on the field, he's one of the first ones who tell me what we're doing … or what we should be doing."