Confident Marshall progressing well

Fresno State cornerback Richard Marshall gave the team an inside look at his confident persona in a conference call with reporters the day of the NFL draft. A sampling of his comments: On the likelihood of playing behind starting cornerbacks Ken Lucas and Chris Gamble: "I don't take a backseat to anyone."

On not being drafted until the second round: "I'll be coming into the NFL with a chip on my shoulder to show everybody why they should have picked me and not the ones they picked before me."

On playing against USC's Reggie Bush twice a year: "Reggie Bush has to see me twice a year. Receivers better bring their A game, because I'm bringing mine."

Well, fast forward to present day.

After spending the last three weeks trying to learn two different positions in Carolina's complex defensive scheme and trying to cover Pro Bowl receiver Steve Smith, Marshall has suddenly developed some humility.

Well, at least a little.

"When I get on the field it's been kind of complicated because stuff is coming faster than it was in college," Marshall said earlier this week. "It's been a big adjustment for me. Right now I'm just learning my playbook and trying to get to know where I'm supposed to line up. (But) once I get to know that it will be all about playing and then I will be making some big plays."

Marshall said he was taken aback when he first tried to cover the speedy Smith.

"At first it was like a shock how quick and fast he was coming out of his breaks and just how fast the game was," Marshall said.

Since then, he's talked with Smith and the team's other receivers in hopes of picking up a few hints on how to defend NFL receivers and how they set up their cuts.

Smith, he said, has been particularly helpful.

Panthers coach John Fox said he likes the way Marshall has progressed over the past three weeks of coaching sessions and believes he has a bright future ahead of him.

"He's coming along very well," Fox said. "He's learning both corner and nickel. He's progressing and he's got good football awareness and good skills."

As for Marshall's confident persona, Fox grinned and said, "It beats the alternative. I'd rather have a guy with confidence rather than without confidence. It's like everything. It's getting used to the new surroundings."

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