GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Greg Jennings thinks Chicago Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall is a genius.
Marshall had made headlines one day earlier when he went off on the rival Green Bay Packers during his weekly media availability. But it was something Marshall said later that Jennings found brilliant: Marshall's attempt to bait the Packers into matching their cornerbacks up with him man-to-man.
Marshall said Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers "did an amazing job of game-planning me" in the teams' Sept. 13 meeting, in which Marshall caught only two passes for 24 yards in Green Bay's 23-10 victory.
Then, Marshall dared the Packers to try to cover him 1-on-1 in Sunday's rematch at Soldier Field.
"I didn't beat double or triple coverage or whatever they were throwing at us," Marshall said. "I take it as a slap in my face when guys talk about my lack of ability to do something against them when they have help all over the place. I'm looking forward to 1-on-1 coverage. Hopefully, those guys in games like this may go to their coach and say, 'Let me have him. I want Brandon Marshall. I want to stop Brandon Marshall. Let me have him 1-on-1, press coverage.' And we'll see what happens."
On Thursday, Jennings had answered questions for about three minutes before bringing up — unprompted — what Marshall had said.
"I think he's smart for saying whatever he said. So I'm going to be smart, too," Jennings said, a wide smile stretching across his face. "Man, I wish the Bears would play us 1-on-1 and man-to-man.
"I think he's smart. That reverse psychology, I think it's pretty impressive. So yeah, man, the Bears are always playing cover 2. I think they're scared not to play cover 2."
Then, Jennings laughed.
"Hey," he said, "I'll give it a shot."
The cover 2 defense has been like kryptonite to the Packers' previously unstoppable offense this season. Using two deep safeties to take away big plays, the scheme has prevented Green Bay from replicating last year's success, when the Packers scored 560 points (second-most in NFL history) and quarterback Aaron Rodgers won the NFL MVP by throwing for 45 touchdowns with only six interceptions.
Later, Jennings called Marshall's statements a "tactic."
"'Play me one-on-one.' What receiver doesn't want you to play man-to-man coverage the entire game?" he said.
Here's the bad news for Marshall: There's no way Capers is going to do that on every down Sunday. Even with cornerback Tramon Williams' ability to cover, he's assured of having help over the top from a safety much of the time, as he frequently did against Detroit's Calvin Johnson in the team's two games against the Lions this year.