First of all I want to wish a happy Aaron Rodgers’ Day to all of you. Treat the day like a Packer fans’ Thanksgiving….take a moment to reflect on how lucky we are to have the best quarterback in the league. How amazing it is to have one potential Hall of Fame quarterback follow another shoe in for Canton. Eat a Turkey brat (for the combo of Thanksgiving and Packer fanness) and dream about what the future may hold for the team. If you don’t like those that idea, then here are a few other ideas as well courtesy of TotalPackers.com.
This week the Packers face the Chicago Bears. In case you have been asleep for most of this year, the Bears offense is basically two players….Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall. Marshall has the total trust of Cutler and his primary receiver. Okay, that might be putting it a bit lightly, really Marshall is probably the only receiver that Jay Cutler looks for most of the time. If you doubt this look at the number of targets that Marshall gets versus every other receiver in the Bears’ offense. Last week Marshall received 19 targets and the next most targeted received got only eight targets. The week before that Marshall had 14 targets and the next most targeted receiver had three targets. A few weeks before that against the Texans, Marshall was targeted 14 times and the next most targeted receiver only five. We could go further and further back but the point is very clear: Jay Cutler is going to try and get the ball into Marshall’s hands no matter what.
The way to shut down the Bears offense is rather simple: stop Brandon Marshall. Only two teams have truly been able to do this, the San Francisco 49ers (holding Marshall to 2 REC 21 YDS) and our own Green Bay Packers (holding Marshall to 2 REC 24 YDS). If a team is able to neutralize Marshall then they can basically sit back and watch the Bears implode. It’s not a coincidence that the two most lopsided losses for the Bears have come when Marshall was held to such small numbers.
The main person responsible for stopping Marshall is going to be Tramon Williams. Williams is coming off a big game last week where he was able to contain Calvin Johnson. Johnson and Marshall are similar insofar as they are both big physical receivers who account for most of the offense for their team. However, the similarities basically stop there. Williams has noted that Marshall is not just a physical receiver, but also one who is not afraid to bend the rules in order to get open:
If there’s anybody who likes to bend and break the rules, it probably would be Brandon Marshall….Obviously as a big receiver, you want to be physical. Some of the things he does he shouldn't be able to do against press coverage. He’s one of those guys where he wants you to put your hands on him so he’s going to grab you and throw you…..He has some tricks to him.
To help counter some of these tricks, expect the Packers to shift safety help to Williams and try and take advantage of Cutler’s willingness to force the ball in Marshall’s direction. Hopefully some of that safety help will also include Charles Woodson who put Jay Cutler’s attitude best:
Charles Woodson Interview - Packers Thursday Night Football (via PackerNews)
Jay will throw that ball, and with the Bears’ season on the line, you had better believe that Cutler is going to force the ball to Marshall. This should provide Williams and others in the Packers secondary a chance to make plays happen, which they have shown the ability to do time and time again....especially against Jay Cutler.
Looking for Green Bay Packers tickets?