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McCourty welcomes challenge of facing Marshall

09.30.10 at 5:09 pm ET
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FOXBORO ‘€” In his brief time with the Patriots, rookie Devin McCourty has set a physical tone. It’€™s something that’€™s been fairly unique ‘€” in recent years, undersized Patriots cornerbacks have either shied away from contact or been shoved around themselves by opposing wide receivers.

But the 5-foot-10, 193-pound McCourty will have none of that. We saw him get a little physical with Atlanta receiver Roddy White in the preseason, and he did the same on more than one occasion with Buffalo’€™s Lee Evans last weekend against the Bills. (For good measure, he also delivered a big hit on Bills’€™ running back Marshawn Lynch.)

And if he finds himself matched up against Miami wide receiver Brandon Marshall on Monday night, look for him to take the same approach against the 6-foot-4, 230-pounder out of Central Florida.

‘€œHe’€™s a guy that makes plays. Even last year when I’€™m just watching as a fan, you notice Brandon Marshall on the field,’€ McCourty said of Marshall, a two-time Pro Bowler who had eight catches for 64 yards and two touchdowns last season when the Patriots faced the Broncos in Denver.

‘€œHe’€™s physical. He’€™s a bigger guy,’€ added McCourty. ‘€œHe’€™s bigger than most defensive backs, and he uses his physical abilities.’€

In his first season with the Dolphins, Marshall has caught 22 passes (tied for third in the league) for 290 yards (fifth-best in the NFL) and a touchdown. In addition, he’€™s averaging 96.7 receiving yards per game.

‘€œHe’€™s a tough matchup guy. He’€™s big. He’€™s like a tight end. He’€™s huge for a receiver,’€ said Patriots coach Bill Belichick. ‘€œThat’€™s a tough matchup. He can go up and get the ball. He’€™s a strong runner with the ball in his hands and good after the catch. He’€™s got good speed, good quickness, [and] good receiving skills. He’€™s a tough guy to match up against.’€

On the other side of the ball, McCourty has started all three games as a rookie, and has 14 tackles.

‘€œI just embrace [the challenge],’€ said McCourty. ‘€œI’€™m just going out there and play and I’€™m not really declaring that I’€™m going to line up on him at corner. Whoever lines up on [Marshall'€™s] side, they have to treat it the same way and challenge him.’€

Read More: Bill Belichick, Brandon Marshall, Devin McCourty, Lee Evans
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