|12-07-2008, 12:19 AM|
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Teicher:KC cornerbacks will be tested against Broncos
KC cornerbacks will be tested against Broncos
By ADAM TEICHER
When Denver receiver Brandon Marshall took the field for the Broncos’ previous meeting against the Chiefs, he saw across the line of scrimmage a couple of rookies in cornerbacks Brandon Flowers and Brandon Carr.
Flowers and Carr are still in their first NFL seasons. But Marshall said that today, when the Chiefs make their annual visit to Denver, he won’t look at them as anything but veterans.
“I think a lot of people this year have taken them lightly,” Marshall said. “I probably did the first half of the game when we played them. They’ve made an adjustment. They’re playing great ball. You can tell they study and they’re giving 100 percent effort on every play.
“You really can’t take them lightly. They’re physical and tough and they’re athletic. Sometimes you’ve got corners who really can’t make plays on the ball but these guys will go up and get the ball and they’ll challenge you.”
Marshall still had a big game against the Chiefs when they beat the Broncos 33-19 in September at Arrowhead, catching seven passes, including a 16-yard touchdown from Jay Cutler.
But Marshall has noticed that for all the work that remains for the Chiefs to repair their faulty defense, they are set at cornerback. Between Flowers, Carr and another rookie, third cornerback Maurice Leggett, the Chiefs won’t have to look for help at the position during the offseason.
They will get a big test today. Wide receivers are the three leading Broncos receivers. Marshall is seventh in the league with 72 catches, rookie Eddie Royal has 63 and slot receiver Brandon Stokley has 38.
Royal had nine catches for 104 yards against the Chiefs in September while Stokley had seven for 80 yards.
The Chiefs fought back with two interceptions. Carr, who covered Marshall most of the game, had the first interception of his career.
“If a player on the opposing side is going to take me lightly, so be it,” Carr said. “I’ll take advantage of it. I don’t think he took anybody lightly that game. He was playing hard. He’s big and strong. When he gets his hands on you, it’s pretty much over. He runs really well after the catch so you have to make sure you’re in position to make the tackle if he does make the catch.
“I expect this game to be 10 times harder. We know what to expect from each other out there.”
Royal leads all NFL rookie receivers in catches. He was a teammates of Flowers’ in college at Virginia Tech.
“I’m not surprised at all what he’s doing out there,” Flowers said. “He started right away in college and was a great player right from the start there, too.”
Cutler, meanwhile, is one of the league’s leading high-risk, high-reward quarterbacks. He passed for 361 yards but also threw the two interceptions earlier in the season against the Chiefs.
Only two quarterbacks have thrown more than Cutler’s 13. But he’s also third in yards with 3,393 and fourth in touchdown passes with 21.
“He’s kind of like Brett Favre,” Carr said. “He’s going to take some chances out there and he’ll make some big plays that way. He may throw some interceptions but that doesn’t rattle his confidence.”
It’s all part of the 7-5 Broncos’ upside-down season. Denver traditionally has one of the league’s best home-field advantages, but the Broncos are 3-3 at Invesco Field and haven’t won there in more than two months.