LAKE FOREST, Ill. — Chicago Bears receiver Brandon Marshall lashed out at Green Bay on Wednesday, saying he's never disliked a team as much as the Packers.
"I don't like the Green Bay Packers," he said during his weekly session with reporters. "I'm not going to use the word hate, but I really dislike the Green Bay Packers and their players. But the talk, you have to back it up. We'll go out there and we'll do everything we need to do to get a win."
The Bears (8-5) clearly need one after dropping four of five heading into Sunday's home game against Green Bay. The Packers (9-4) clinch the NFC North if they beat Chicago, so the stakes already were high.
Marshall simply added some more fuel during a lively news conference.
"This is personal," he said.
He strode to the podium with a small, almost bare Christmas tree with a red ornament dangling from it, as the Peanuts theme played.
It was a symbolic statement, that even though things are looking about as ugly as Charlie Brown's Christmas tree at the moment, the Bears still have time.
There was nothing symbolic when it came to his comments about the Packers.
"I've never felt this strong in sports - versus any team or any players," Marshall said. "I'm going to play like it's my last game."
His dislike for them seems to stem from a 23-10 loss at Green Bay in Week 2 in which he caught just two passes for 24 yards.
Marshall called defensive coordinator Dom Capers the MVP for the Packers and took issue with comments he said several of their players made. He also said he hopes to see one-on-one coverage.
"For their players to be over there talking about how awesome of a job they (do) shutting down certain players, I don't respect that, when it's two and three guys on you or other guys," Marshall said. "Coach Capers did an amazing job of game-planning us and game-planning me. I didn't beat double or triple coverage or whatever they were throwing at us. 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 one-on-one 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 one-on-one, press coverage.' And we'll see what happens."
Marshall said cornerbacks Tramon Williams and Charles Woodson said some things that bothered him.
The most pointed comments from the Packers that night were directed toward Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, with Woodson saying they knew he would throw it to them.
Considering they picked him off four times, it was hard to argue. And they did that after Cutler wished the Packers "good luck" trying to match up physically with the Bears' receivers.
Woodson did tell FOXSports.com in an article that appeared last month that Marshall "likes to bend and break the rules."
"He's one of those guys where he wants you to put your hands on him so he's going to grab you and throw you. I'm like, `Mr. Ref, he's not fast enough to get on top of me. How do you think he got on top?'" Woodson told the Web site.
Marshall, meanwhile, was asked about the physicality of Green Bay's secondary on Wednesday.
"Non-existent," he responded.
Marshall added: "Leading up to the game, they were complaining about how big I was and I was a cheater because I grabbed and pushed at the line of scrimmage. I thought that what's bump coverage was about. So they put them off and throw them inside and safety over the top and a linebacker running out to me. They did a bunch of things and it was good. But we won't make that mistake again. We won't force the ball to me."
Marshall called this the biggest game of his career and said he was looking forward to facing Woodson. But that won't happen.
Shortly after Marshall spoke, Packers coach Mike McCarthy said doctors decided Woodson isn't quite ready to return from a broken collarbone, so he's been ruled out for this week.
Marshall, meanwhile, said he respects the Packers' accomplishments. He just won't be shaking their hands on Sunday.
"It's not going to happen," he said.
Packers injury report
Out: DB Charles Woodson (collarbone). Did not participate: CB Davon House (illness); WR Jordy Nelson (hamstring); RB James Starks (knee); DE C.J. Wilson (knee). Limited: WR Donald Driver (thumb); G/T T.J. Lang (ankle); LB Terrell Manning (shoulder); LB Clay Matthews (hamstring); DE Mike Neal (shoulder); T Marshall Newhouse (wrsit).
The Packers were hoping to get Matthews and Woodson back but will have to settle for only Matthews.
Bears injury report
Did not participate: WR Earl Bennett (hamstring); LB Lance Briggs (knee/hip); RB Michael Bush (ribs); QB Jay Cutler (knee/neck); TE Kellen Davis (knee); LB Geno Hayes (knee); CB Tim Jennings (shoulder); DE Shea McClellin (knee); DT Henry Melton (chest); T Jonathan Scott (shoulder); LB Brian Urlacher (hamstring). Full: DT Stephen Paea (foot); G Chris Spencer (knee); CB Charles Tillman (shoulder)
These are all estimations because the Bears resorted to a walkthrough practice due to the lengthy injury list.
"It’s tough but that’s what we have,” Bears coach Lovie Smith said in a conference call with Packers beat writers. “We had a lot of injuries from that last game. It would really be tough if we had a lot of injuries and we didn’t think the guys would be back, ready for this big game we have this weekend, we don’t think that’s the case. Each week, there are different things you have to deal with. Sometimes, just getting the guys fresh is as important as anything. So, we’ve adjusted. There’s a lot of mental work we can do, and we still feel like we’re getting ready for the game this weekend."
— Packers coach Mike McCarthy said Saturday will start at center. During the portion of practice open to reporters, Evan Dietrich-Smith took some first-team reps at the position.
— Talking to his beat reporters, Smith took offense to a question about his contract status. Smith is signed through 2013, but there has been some speculation about his future with the Bears in a free fall for the second straight year. "Stop you right there," he said. "Why in the world would we be talking about a contract with Green Bay week here? What I can talk about is, I'm excited about playing the Packers again."
— Quarterback Aaron Rodgers, on the infamous Soldier Field turf: “Sometimes, it could use a lawn mower, I would say.”
— Asked about Aaron Rodgers Day, McCarthy said: “I think it says a lot about the success we've had in Green Bay and obviously Aaron Rodgers is a huge part of it. I really appreciate what he's also doing for today. He's making this a charitable opportunity to raise money for the MACC Fund. I think that speaks volumes about Aaron and his commitment to that charity. I think it's a great honor.”