GREEN BAY, Wis. — It didn’t take long for Brandon Marshall’s comments to reach the Packers locker room Wednesday. Less than two hours after the Bears star wide receiver made several negative statements about Chicago’s NFC North rival, his words became the hot topic in Green Bay.
“I don’t like the Green Bay Packers,” Marshall told Chicago media in a press conference. “I’m not going to use the word ‘hate,’ but I really dislike the Green Bay Packers and their players.”
Marshall directly targeted Green Bay defensive backs Charles Woodson and Tramon Williams for what was said after the two teams last met in Week 2.
“The fellas have been talking about it,” veteran defensive lineman Ryan Pickett said of Marshall’s comments. “Our guys take note. You hear a guy talking, you write it down and you put it in the back of your mind. I’m sure the guys he’s talking to, I’m sure they’re going to take offense to it.”
Woodson and Williams were not available during media access to directly respond.
“This is personal,” Marshall said. “All that shaking hands stuff, it’s not going to happen.”
The 91-year rivalry between the Packers and Bears appears heated as ever, but Green Bay wide receiver James Jones doesn’t see the matchup in nearly the same terms as Marshall.
“I don’t dislike them; I don’t even know them,” Jones said. “They just wear the Bears helmet. It’s a rivalry. We know that the game means a lot more to the players and the coaches and the fans, but dislike somebody? I don’t even know nobody on that team. I don’t even know their middle name.
“I don’t dislike nobody over there.”
The general sentiment from Packers players is that Marshall is using his brash comments to motivate himself. In Week 2, he finished with just two catches and 24 yards after quarterback Jay Cutler said the Packers would have a tough time stopping Marshall going into the game. Woodson responded after the game by saying he knew Cutler would end up throwing interceptions.
“You have to keep your composure because it could be a little trick,” Packers tight end Jermichael Finley said. “‘B-Marsh’ could be talking noise to get one-on-one, which you don’t want to do just because he’s such a threat. There could be a little bit of a game plan in there.
“It could be a little be a little bit of messing with guys’ heads.”
In Marshall’s comments, he specifically challenged Williams and Woodson — though Woodson will not play because of injury — to cover him without any help over the top.
“I take it as a slap in my face when guys talk about my lack of ability to do something against them when they had help all over the place,” Marshall said. “Looking forward to one-on-one coverage, hopefully those guys, in a game like this, will go to their coach and say, ‘Let me have him. I want Brandon Marshall. I want to stop Brandon Marshall. Let me have one-on-one press coverage.'”
Marshall described Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers as the MVP in that first game for the way he executed a strategy to stop Chicago’s offense. With Marshall contained, Cutler completed only 11 of 27 passes for 126 yards with four interceptions and was sacked seven times.
“I don’t respect that when they have two or three guys on me,” Marshall said. “Coach Capers did an amazing job of game-planning us and game-planning me.”
Marshall later insisted that he wasn’t trying to create bulletin-board material, but it was too late.
“We just try to not create any distractions, try to focus on the team and have respect for our opponents,” Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said.
Marshall stopped short of saying he “hates” the Packers, but the message was still delivered loud and clear in Green Bay.
“Maybe it’s something their teammates are preaching or the fans are preaching, maybe he really does dislike us, I don’t know why,” Jones said. “I don’t know why he dislikes us. I don’t dislike none of the Chicago Bears.
“People talk. Let him talk. All that matters is winning.”
If the Packers win Sunday in Chicago, not only will they clinch the division, but it would also be Green Bay’s sixth consecutive victory over the Bears.
“Let’s just beat them, then everything will settle itself,” Finley said.