Bears-Packers DB Viewer's Guide: Run support comes along with containing Rodgers

Bears-Packers DB Viewer's Guide: Run support comes along with containing Rodgers
December 28, 2013, 11:45 am
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(USA TODAY Sports Images)

In the aftermath of the debacle in Philadelphia, a couple of Bears allowed that it would be nicer if Aaron Rodgers didn’t play Sunday. In the locker room on Thursday, players asked media members if they’d heard yet whether Rodgers was playing.

Not exactly a flood of confidence.

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One the other hand, “we’re excited,” said Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson. “It’s great to have him back out there. Look forward to seeing what he can do. Obviously he’s missed a few weeks, but I think he’ll be fine….I think he’ll give us a big boost.”

Not what the Bears need for the Green Bay offense.

The Bears’ defense had held opposing quarterbacks to completion percentages below 60 percent ever since the first Green Bay game, until Philadelphia’s Nick Foles completed 21 of 25 (84 percent) in the rout of the Bears last week.

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Rodgers’ career completion percentage against the Bears is 68.8 percent. He has always gone against Chicago defenses with Charles Tillman; maybe the Bears’ luck can change without Tillman; it can’t be much worse vs. Rodgers.

“For the most part, it’s the same defense, coverage-wise, the same defense that we’ve always seen,” Nelson said. “Obviously, a little bit different personnel, especially for us receivers. Without Charles being back there will make a difference. It’s a defense that makes some plays, obviously it forces turnovers, have struggled every once in a while but we know it’s a solid defense and they know us extremely well and they’re going to come out and play well against us.”

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What to look for: Bears defensive backs have the near-impossible task of defending the passing of Rodgers and the running of Eddie Lacy. The inability to close plays out has been the defensive undoing; if Chris Conte and Major Wright in particular are able to provide sufficient, consistent run support, corners Zackary Bowman, Tim Jennings and Isaiah Frey will be able to turn fuller attention toward dealing with Rodgers.

“Sometimes we’re in the right place but we’re just not winning the one-on-ones or you missed a tackle,” said defensive coordinator Mel Tucker. “That’s a big part of it. Like I said the past couple weeks, it’s not so much now knowing where to fit, it’s when you get there and are you able to shed the block, are you able to finish on the ball, are you able to make the tackle, are you able to get there quickly enough?”