|Denver's Marshall draws comparisons to Owens|
|Written by Admin|
|Wednesday, 13 August 2008 11:05|
Adam ``Pacman'' Jones apparently does.
With the Dallas Cowboys and Denver Broncos sharing the fields at Dove Valley this week, it was inevitable that the respective receivers with jaw-dropping moves and uncanny abilities to deke defenders would be compared to each other.
``No, he's nowhere near T.O.,'' Jones protested between workouts Wednesday. ``He's a good athlete, it ain't on T.O., though.''
Jones, the Cowboys' cornerback awaiting reinstatement from commissioner Roger Goodell after being suspended for a series of off-the-field missteps, said he has yet to see the receiver who can stack up to the one he sees every day in practice.
``First of all, T.O. is 10 times faster than Brandon Marshall. And 10 times stronger than Brandon Marshall,'' Jones said. ``You can sometimes get your hand on B. at the line. T.O. has a good thing where he snatches and whips. I wouldn't say he's nowhere near T.O.''
Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler stepped into the fray, wondering: Who's Jones to judge?
``We go against Champ (Bailey) every day,'' Cutler retorted, subtly suggesting that Jones doesn't stack up to the Broncos' perennial Pro Bowler whom Marshall faces all the time.
Yet, when recently retired receiver Rod Smith was asked for his take on the tit-for-tat, the Broncos' career receptions leader sided with Jones, although he suggested Marshall could one day be better.
``It ain't a comparison right now,'' Smith said. ``If you compare him five, six years from now, then it's a comparison. You can't compare them right now. T.O.'s one of the top receivers in the league consistently for a reason. The guy's got tremendous work habits.''
So does Marshall, but Owens' track record is much longer.
T.O., who is 11 years older than the 24-year-old Marshall, has 882 catches for 13,070 yards and 129 touchdowns. Baby T.O. has baby numbers by comparison: 122 catches for 1,634 yards and nine TDs.
OK, what about comparing their numbers after two seasons?
Owens had 95 receptions for 1,456 yards and 12 TDs, pretty similar to Marshall's.
Owens caught 81 passes for 1,255 yards and 15 touchdowns, Marshall, 102 catches for 1,325 yards and seven touchdowns, plus fewer drops than T.O., to be sure.
Marshall said Owens is just one of many elite receivers he's studied extensively to try to emulate their moves, their strategies, their success.
As for Owens, he said he doesn't mind the constant comparisons to Marshall.
``I take that as a compliment,'' he said.
And yes, Owens sees the similarities.
``He's a big receiver. He's very aggressive. He'll go get the ball and he can make things happen once he gets the ball in his hands,'' Owens said. ``They have a good guy in Brandon. He's going to be a guy that will be around here for a while.''
Providing he can straighten out his personal life, suggested Smith, who's still serving as Marshall's mentor in retirement.
Marshall is facing a three-game suspension for violating the league's personal conduct code, a penalty he can reduce by a game if he seeks counseling.
Physically, Owens (6 feet 3, 218 pounds) and Marshall (6-5, 230) are remarkably similar.
``Yeah, but football is not always physical,'' Smith said. ``And that's some of the problems that we have with sports is just because a guy can run, jump and catch, it's 'Oh, he can be this, he can be that.' The 6 inches, the muscle between your ears is the most important one.''
Smith gave Marshall some tips during Wednesday morning's practice.
``I said, 'Remember, just because you've got muscles doesn't mean you have to use them. It's mental,''' Smith said. ``And I promise you, T.O. plays a mental game. He plays a mental game with DBs, he comes off the ball, he's kicking their butts on run plays. The next thing you know, they think it's a run, it's a pass. But it looks the same.''
So, can Marshall ever be as good as T.O.?
``He can be better,'' Smith said. ``And trust me, it's going to take a lot of work.''
Both in his professional life and his personal one.
``I think if your character's better, your football play's going to be better,'' Smith said.
A reporter suggested that Marshall is probably the most physically gifted receiver in franchise history, and Smith agreed.
``But how long can he play for the Denver Broncos, is what I want to know,'' Smith said. ``And that's really up to him because if he gets some things together in his life outside of those gates, he's going to be here a long time. The stuff I did, I expect to see his name on top of those.''
And maybe topping T.O.'s numbers, too.