New Bengal Marsh hopeful about addition

September, 19, 2013
9/19/13
5:46
PM ET
CINCINNATI -- Exactly two weeks ago, Curtis Marsh walked out of the Philadelphia Eagles' training facility with his injured right hand, hopeful that he might soon get a shot to play with a team that needed him and believed in him.

The third-year cornerback arrived in the Queen City on Wednesday afternoon.

He was still there late Thursday morning.

"Haven't left," he said, his face cracking into a wide grin.

It doesn't look like he will be anytime soon, either. With the Bengals down a trio of cornerbacks and trying to shore up depth there and on special teams, the now former free agent appears to have a home for the foreseeable future. There's only one problem, though.

[+] EnlargeCincinnati's Curtis Marsh
Jim Rogash/Getty ImagesCurtis Marsh was released by the Eagles on Sept. 5, but has found a new home in Cincinnati.
"I got two days worth of clothes," Marsh said.

What he also has is an infectious optimism that makes you want to root for him.

When asked if he had any doubts following his release from the Eagles on Sept. 5, Marsh calmly responded the following way.

"No, I'm not worried at all. Even when I was released or waived from the Philadelphia Eagles, I was so confident in my abilities. I was confident even in the way I played in training camp and preseason and I know that my talents will shine through any adversity."

Marsh has seen his share of adversity in the past six weeks.

On Aug. 15, during a preseason game against Carolina, he broke a bone in the top of his hand when he was trying to secure a block while in punt coverage. He believes his hand slipped and a finger slammed into the players' helmet or shoulder pad. Immediately, he shelved for the last three weeks of training camp.

"You've got a new coaching staff, and they want their guys in there," Marsh said, referring to new Eagles coach Chip Kelly's staff. "So they're going to be harder on the guys that were there from the old regime. And I understand that. It's a business. It's the way it is. I personally don't think that it had anything to do with me not being as good of a football player as any corner on that team."

Pressed further on why he felt he was let go, Marsh added: "New coaches want their guys, and especially when you get hurt and you miss the last two-and-a-half, three weeks of camp and they're not seeing you every day. A decision like that becomes a bit easier for [them], and I believe that's all it was."

If he plays Sunday afternoon against the Packers, Marsh would be playing cornerback in a reserve role. Starters Terence Newman and Leon Hall will go, but there are concerns about other members of the defensive back rotation. Dre Kirkpatrick and Adam Jones have been limited in what they have been able to do this week. Both Jones and Kirkpatrick were completely out of Wednesday's workout. On Thursday, Jones was moved into limited participation while Kirkpatrick still wasn't practicing.

Fellow injured cornerback Brandon Ghee still hasn't practiced after suffering a concussion in the preseason.

"Whatever the coaches ask me to do," Marsh said. "Whatever they ask of me is what I'm going to do."

A lot of what defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer, Marsh's unit coach in the 2011 Senior Bowl, may have Marsh doing at some point is playing man-press coverage. The technique is a vital part of Zimmer's scheme and can be doubly effective when playing quarterbacks like Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers, who can extend plays with his legs.

"I prefer to bump and run if I can, but I love playing man because it's a challenge and it's just mano-a-mano," said Marsh, a Utah State product. "In college, that's what I was known for. And the Eagles were known for press-man and getting speed out of their guys. I'm comfortable in all schemes, but that's the challenge look forward to; guarding recievers one-on-one in press coverage."

Marsh's overall comfort level better settle in soon, too. Even though they might rather ride Hall and Newman, the Bengals know that if even one of their injured corners can't play Sunday, it will be the Marsh Show. If that ends up happening, the Bengals are confident in their newest player.

"We'll be alright," Zimmer said.

Coley Harvey

ESPN Cincinnati Bengals reporter

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