Jay Cutler wasn’t taking particular note this week about Washington cornerback DeAngelo Hall. But Hall’s chief adversary come Sunday was.
Brandon Marshall caught five passes for 134 yards and two touchdowns the first time (2009) he faced Hall and the Redskins, and lost. With Miami in 2011 Marshall grabbed seven for 98 yards. But Marshall has looked at enough film to see:
“You know what, DeAngelo Hall, man, he turns it up a notch against bigger receivers,” Marshall said. “So I’m excited for the challenge. He’s a guy that you’ve just got to stay focused and stay in your zone because if you come out of your game, that’s when he starts to win. I’m looking forward to it. It’s one of those games, man, where you’ve got to strap up, put on extra padding because he’s tough.”
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Hall is one of only five active players with 40 or more interceptions, with 10 years experience and the unquestioned leader of a veteran secondary.
“I feel like I’m playing good football right now,” Hall said. “It gives me confidence to feel like, you know, I can go out there and definitely hold me own against Brandon Marshall and the rest of those guys.”
Washington is allowing 13.0 yards per pass reception and have intercepted just three passes in five games (of course, the Redskins don’t see Eli Manning until games 12 and 16). They are 24th in passing yards allowed per game.
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Their problem with the Bears is that Chicago has not had the same leading receiver two games in a row and has had a 100-yard receiver in four of six games (Marshall twice, Alshon Jeffery twice).
In the Bears’ favor vs. Washington is that Jeffery, Marshall and Martellus Bennett are all 6-3 or taller. Only safety Reed Doughty (6-1) is taller than 5-11, and the other safety is Brandon Meriweather, who has started just 16 games over the past three seasons (2011 with Chicago) and has just one interception over the past three years.
But none of the four starters has fewer than seven NFL seasons of experience.
“They’re a veteran group,” Cutler said. “They’re not going to give you anything easy. They do a really good job in the zone of route reading and knowing where the receivers are going to go. It makes it hard. You just have to be on it.”