Secondary Sends Message to Refs

The Packers complained about the officiating after Brandon Marshall caught 10 passes in Miami's win at Green Bay in 2010. Marshall's with Chicago and will get another crack at the Packers on Thursday night. This time, the Packers are hoping the officials rein in Marshall's physical play.

It's a ploy made famous by basketball coach Phil Jackson.

Voice your concerns to the officials before the game in hopes of getting some calls during the game.

So, the Green Bay Packers have a message for referee Gerald Wright and his crew: Keep an eye on powerful Chicago Bears receiver Brandon Marshall and read up on the rules for offensive pass interference.

That Marshall is 6-foot-4 and 230 pounds presents a big enough challenge for the Packers' defensive backs. That he uses that size to his advantage — or unfair advantage, depending on your vantage point — is the bigger issue for Thursday night's showdown at Lambeau Field.

"It depends on what Brandon's allowed to do," cornerbacks coach Joe Whitt told Packer Report on Wednesday. "If he's allowed to grab and throw Tramon (Williams) and get open that way, that causes a difficult game for us. If he just plays receiver and runs routes, we'll do a great job of covering him. He's a big, physical guy. He likes to push, he likes to grab and he likes to gain an advantage that way, and he has success doing it. He can catch the difficult catch and he can really stretch out. He's a very, very good player."

Not only is Marshall a physical specimen, but second-round pick Alshon Jeffery is 6-foot-3 and 216 pounds. For Green Bay, Charles Woodson is 6-foot-1, Jarrett Bush is 6-foot and Tramon Williams and Casey Hayward are 5-foot-11.

With those advantages, Bears quarterback Jay Cutler taunted the Packers' defensive backs while meeting with reporters in Chicago on defense. Cutler flat-out said the intent of the receivers is to be physical and use their size to their advantage.

"Good luck (playing physical)," Cutler said. "We've got some dudes that if you're going to get up in our face, our big guys are going to throw and go. We invite press coverage. We invite man."

In a change from past seasons, Williams will shadow the opponent's No. 1 receiver most weeks. That means he'll be chasing Marshall around the field. When Marshall was with Miami in 2010, he put up big numbers with 10 catches for 127 yards in the Dolphins' 23-20 upset win. Williams, who had an interception, was victimized for much of that production.

"It's just one of those deals to where they let you do what you want to do out there and it's going to be tough for the guy opposite the ball," a frustrated Williams said after that game two years ago. "If they let you push off and push off and grab and pull, I mean, a guy that big, what can you do?"

Two years later, Whitt has a similar memory.

"It was the same thing," he said. "He grabbed and pulled, so we had to play off (coverage). He does it because he's allowed to do it. I would do it, too, if I could do it and get away with it."

Relayed Cutler's comments after Tuesday's practice, Williams laughed. At the heart of his response, however, was a message directed at Wright and his crew of replacement officials.

"There's a lot of grabbing and holding going on out there and pushing around," Williams said. "If the referees see that, nobody will be getting open."

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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at

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