"I don't like playing against Brandon Carr," Marshall said. "He presents a lot of tough challenges throughout a game. You'll notice he changes up his game when he plays against bigger receivers. He's strong. He's physical. He plays that way against guys like myself. I absolutely hate the matchup. It's like playing chess out there with him. Every single play is a battle. He just makes you work so hard." - DMN
Those are the words of Chicago Bears lead wideout Brandon Marshall as he was asked about the potential matchup with Cowboys top corner, Brandon Carr. Marshall and Carr have a long history together, as they both cut their teeth in the AFC West, with the Broncos and Chiefs, respectively.
Carr's history with the Cowboys has been a bit up and down since he joined the team prior to last season. Depending on your view of the "going rate", some might even see Carr's signing as an investment that hasn't paid off for Dallas, especially considering their current ranking in pass defense. But Carr has definitely played his fair share of quality games, and it's anticipated that tonight will need to be another one in order for the Cowboys to keep pace with the 8-5 Philadelphia Eagles.
In an interview with NFL Network, Carr voiced the opinion that he elevates his play in the month of December, and his Pro Football Focus grades bear that out.
In 2009, his second year in the league, Carr posted grades of +2.0, +2.4, +0.8, -1.6 and +0.2 during the month of December. In 2010, his cumulative December grade skyrocketed to a +9.3 over five December /January games. 2011 saw him turn in a +7.3 performance. Last year, his first with Dallas, was a more than solid +6.2.
It appears that Carr wasn't selling wolf tickets about his improvement over the crucial stretch of the season.
It will be necessary, because despite Marshall's kind words, he's always had his hands full with the Bears star wideout, no matter the location. But you know how it is in the NFL, sometimes a DB with a hand full works out the best for his team.
Here's a look at Marshall's numbers against Carr's teams over the years.
And here's a look at his matchup against Carr, specifically in those games.
|Year||Targets vs Carr||Catches vs Carr||TDs vs Carr||Carr INTs||Yards vs Carr||Notes|
|2008||11||6||1||1||73||Carr also had a pass deflection|
|2008||4||3||0||0||49||Long catch for Marshall of 28 yards against Carr|
|2009||3||1||0||0||49||Lone catch was on a screen play, Carr also had pass deflection|
|2011||4||2||0||0||43||Marshall's longest catch of the game, 30 yards, came against Carr|
|2012||3||2||1||0||61||Once again, Marshall's game-high catch against Carr, 35 yards|
As you can see, Marshall has been a tremendous wideout in the five games against teams that employ Carr. He averages 8 catches, 101 yards and a score against them. It's an outstanding 74% catch percentage in those games.
But against Carr, that catch percentage dwindles to 56%. His touchdown rate effectively stays the same at around 15% of his catches. However, as mentioned in the notes, Carr is susceptible to the big Marshall play, as his YPC balloons from under 13 to just under 20.
So there's the key matchup of the game for the Cowboys, should they in fact plan on lining up Carr against Marshall on a regular basis. Of course, there's this second year wideout by the name of Alshon something or other that might require some of Carr's attention on the night as well.
Buckle up, folks!