Carroll County Times
Carroll County

Bears WR tandem presents unique challenge for Ravens secondary

OWINGS MILLS - The Ravens have faced some good wide receivers this season - A.J. Green, Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker, Josh Gordon and others.
But the Bears' tandem of Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery presents a different type of challenge for Baltimore's cornerbacks, according to cornerback Corey Graham.
"Those guys are what, both 6-4, 230?," Graham said.
Marshall is. Jeffery is 6-foot-3, 220 pounds. Together, they form maybe the biggest, most physical starting wide receiver tandem in the NFL.
But both are good players because of more than just their size.
Marshall has been considered one of the best receivers in the league for the past several years.
He ranked among the league leaders in catches, yards and touchdowns last season and once again ranks among the best this year.
He has 60 catches for 786 yards and eight touchdowns in nine games.
"He does everything," Ravens cornerback Lardarius Webb said. "He's a big, powerful receiver. He runs great routes. Most importantly, he catches the ball no matter where you put it.
"If you put it somewhere around him, he'll make the catch, and that's what makes him so dangerous. ... Wherever he's lined up, we have to know because he's a game-changer."
Jeffery was Chicago's second round pick last year.
He only had 24 catches as a rookie, but he has 47 catches for 735 yards and three touchdowns this season.
He had nine catches for 114 yards against the Lions last week.
"He's got the potential to be the best wide receiver the Bears ever had, one of the best wide receivers this league has ever seen," Marshall said. "He's a little different than most. He's not a Calvin Johnson style. He's not a Larry Fitzgerald style. He has his own style. Sometimes it can look unorthodox, but the kid makes plays. He probably has the best hands I've ever seen."
And he has added a weapon in the passing game to go along with Marshall, making it difficult for teams that want to focus more attention on containing Marshall.
Combined, Marshall and Jeffery have more yards than any other receiving tandem in the league.
Baltimore's cornerbacks had arguably their best collective effort of the season against the Bengals last week, and the Bears will not have starting quarterback Jay Cutler, but the Ravens' cornerbacks will be tested even with Josh McCown at quarterback for Chicago because of Marshall and Jeffery.
"It's going to be a tough challenge," Baltimore cornerback Jimmy Smith said.