Curtis Marsh eager for 2nd chance vs. Tom Brady

Curtis Marsh eager for 2nd chance vs. Tom Brady
August 12, 2014, 9:30 am
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Curtis Marsh suffered a broken hand last year in a preseason game against the Patriots at Lincoln Financial Field. (USA Today Images)

Remember last summer? Remember when the Patriots visited the NovaCare Complex? Remember when Tom Brady went after Curtis Marsh play after play after play?  

Marsh remembers.

Brady picked on Marsh throughout the joint practices in Philly last year, at one point completing nine consecutive passes against Marsh.

The three-time Super Bowl champion and two-time NFL MVP went after all the Eagles’ cornerbacks, but he was especially relentless with Marsh.

“Hey, it was a great experience for me,” Marsh said. “You have to keep fighting, no matter what. Play the play. Every play’s a new play, you know? Once the play’s over, it didn’t exist. Forget about it, on to the next play. Just keep battling.

“It was just a learning experience, going against one of the best quarterbacks of all time, picking on you a little bit.”

Or more than a little bit.

Brady is indeed one of the greatest quarterbacks of all-time, one of just four QBs to win three Super Bowls, a sure-fire first-ballot Hall of Famer.

And once he saw No. 31 struggling last summer, he was bloodless. He just kept going after him.

“I made some plays,” Marsh said. “Knocked a couple balls down. But he threw at me like eight, nine times in a row, made some plays.

“Couple deep balls they were combo coverages, not on me, but you’ve got to keep fighting. You have to keep fighting. If you’re tired? Doesn’t matter. You’ve got to keep playing. There’s nothing you can do about it. Just keep going.” 

Marsh, originally a third-round pick under Andy Reid in 2011, suffered a broken hand in the preseason game against the Patriots at the Linc that followed those joint practices. He rehabbed for a couple months, resurfaced with the Bengals for a few weeks, then was released by Cincinnati and re-signed with the Eagles on Nov. 5.

Marsh has been back with the Eagles ever since, and he’s enjoyed a very good training camp this summer. And on Tuesday he’ll begin a few more days working against Brady and the Patriots.

“I feel great,” he said. “It’s another year in the defense, really getting used to coach [Bill] Davis’s system, what he wants, the things he wants to give up in certain coverages, the things he wants to make sure that we don’t give up in certain coverages, alignments, leverage. I feel more comfortable with all those things.

“So it’s quicker, you’re able to get the call quicker, think, get the formation and anticipate. After a year’s worth of routes and a year’s worth of game film I know what they’re going to give us, so I do feel more comfortable. And also I’m in tremendous shape. Feel excellent. I feel like I’m at the top of my game right now.”

The Eagles have a lot of cornerbacks in camp and not a lot of jobs available, but Marsh isn’t worried about that.

He said all he’s focused on is getting better each day. And being ready next time Brady comes after him.

“Playing corner in the National Football League is one of the hardest things you can do,” he said. “There’s so many things you can say about how difficult our job is, but in the end there’s no excuses. You’ve got to get the ball on the ground and not let your man catch it.

“It doesn’t matter who the quarterback is, no matter how quickly the quarterback snaps the ball, none of that matters. Make sure your guy doesn’t catch the ball. That’s my only goal. No catches.”

Eagles receiver Jeremy Maclin, who’s battled Marsh for four years now, said he’s been impressed with the improvement the 6-foot, 195-pound former Utah State Aggie has made.

“I think each year going back to when we got him you could see him getting better each and every year, and I think it’s finally clicked,” Maclin said.

“As far as athletic ability, he has it all. Speed, height, he can jump real high. I’m happy to see him make some big strides.”

We’ll see what type of strides he’s made this week.

The Eagles are in Foxborough, Mass., Tuesday to start three more days of joint practices leading up to their preseason game at Gilette Stadium on Friday night.

Another few days of Brady vs. Marsh.

“It’s another opportunity to prove to my coaches that I can be one of the best in the league,” Marsh said. “And it’s another opportunity to just show everybody this is what Curtis Marsh can do. This is what I can do.”

Marsh played in 26 NFL games in his first three seasons, 24 of them with the Eagles. Most of his work has come on special teams. Last year, he didn’t get a single defensive snap, though he did get 63 in 2012.

With a quality performance against the Patriots this week, Marsh can certainly help solidify his case for a roster spot.

“Hopefully he has the chance to redeem himself these next couple days,” Maclin said. “Last year, that’s something that sticks in his mind. I’m excited for him. I think he’s come a long way.”

Marsh said he’s not dreading another few days working against Brady.

On the contrary. He’s eagerly anticipating it. He can’t wait.

“Oh yeah, I’m ready for it,” he said. “Because the more times they throw at me, the more opportunities for me to get interceptions, the more opportunities I get to break up passes. I welcome it.”

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