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McCourty welcomes challenge of facing Marshall

09.30.10 at 5:09 pm ET
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Devin McCourty sends Cincinnati quarterback Carson Palmer flying in the season-opener. McCourty's physical tone has certainly made an impact. (AP)

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.

“He’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.

“He’s physical. He’s a bigger guy,” added McCourty. “He’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.

“He’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. “That’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.

“I just embrace [the challenge],” said McCourty. “I’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 Print  |  Bark It Up!  |  Digg It
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