Chicago Bears

Bears rival report: Are the Packers any more vulnerable?

Bears rival report: Are the Packers any more vulnerable?

The short answer to the above headline is "no." Great quarterbacks overcome so much, and Aaron Rodgers is still there.

The Bears are well-versed in both aspects of that last statement, since they haven't had a quarterback who capable of putting a team on his shoulders to overcome blemishes, and the fact facing No. 12 in green and gold is more exasperating than facing the No. 4 who preceded him.

Now, Rodgers has an even more dangerous arsenal in adding ex-Bears tight end Martellus Bennett to a mix that includes a couple of guys who combined to catch 26 touchdown passes in Jordy Nelson (now two years removed from his torn ACL) and Davante Adams. And the commitment to Ty Montgomery as the starting running back is strong (after especially victimizing the Bears in averaging six yards a carry in a stop-gap role last season).

That doesn't mean there aren't things in the back of Packers' fans minds that are disconcerting.  Defensive Coordinator Dom Capers is the favorite punching bag, yet remains on the job after ranking 22nd in total yards, although top ten against the run.

So here's a couple of areas of concern as they head to camp next week:

Dom's DB's: More specifically, his "CB's." For the second time in three years, general manager Ted Thompson used his top two draft picks on cornerbacks. That doesn't mean the investment two years ago won't pan out, as Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins were just banged up a year ago. If they stay relatively healthy this year, along with the drafting of Washington's Kevin King and the reacquistion of Davon House, it could turn around. They're still young. But it helps to have one of the best safety tandems in the league to work with as well in Morgan Burnett and HaHa Clinton-Dix. Second-round pick Josh Jones is listed as a safety, but is expected to be used in a hybrid role in the box as situations dictate. Clay Matthews is 31 and has been sidelined by and fought through injuries for much of the past five years, and as the Packers try to move him around more, they'll need a handful of young "LB's" to step up. The Packers have selected four linebackers in the third or fourth rounds over the past two drafts.

[RELATED: Bears rival report: Lions needing a 'rush' on both sides]

Getting their guards up: Perhaps no quarterback in the league is more elusive, and better at buying time, in the pocket than Rodgers. That helps a lot. Since the Packers convened at camp a year ago, two Pro Bowl guards have departed to division rivals in Josh Sitton (Bears) and T.J. Lang (Lions). Center now belongs strictly to Corey Linsley after JC Tretter left in free agency. Undrafted Lane Taylor held up fairly well replacing Sitton a year ago. They'll look to 12-year veteran Jahri Evans (former All-Pro with the Saints) or career backup Don Barclay to hold down the right guard spot.

The Packers always seem to find a way to make things work, thanks to Rodgers and his weapons. If for some reason they don't in 2017, it'll likely be for the reasons above.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Reactions to Glennon's awful performance in Tampa


SportsTalk Live Podcast: Reactions to Glennon's awful performance in Tampa

On this episode of SportsTalk Live, David Haugh (Chicago Tribune), Danny Parkins (670 The Score) and Adam Jahns (Chicago Sun-Times) join David Kaplan on the panel.

Mike Glennon is awful in the Bears' blowout loss in Tampa but he will start against the Steelers. Should it be Trubisky time at Halas Hall?

The panel also dissects the Cubs’ weekend sweep of the Cardinals and Scott Paddock discusses another win for Martin Truex, Jr. at Chicagoland Speedway.

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below:

Jordan Howard says his shoulder is 'good', remains confident in Bears’ offense

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Jordan Howard says his shoulder is 'good', remains confident in Bears’ offense

Jordan Howard was limited in practice last week with a shoulder injury and only gained seven yards on nine carries Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, representing the least productive game of his NFL career. 

Howard said he didn’t speak to the media after the Bears’ first two games because he was getting treatment and X-Rays, but doesn’t believe being banged up has held him back. 

“My shoulder, I’m good,” Howard said. “I’m good.”

Added Howard about the entire offense: “I don’t have any doubts about us putting it all together.”

The Bears’ offense needs Howard to be more productive than he’s been (21 carries, 59 yards), though tight end Zach Miller pointed out it was a collective team effort that led to Howard’s paltry numbers in Tampa. 

“I just don’t think really any of us really played well. We didn’t give him much of an opportunity to put up numbers that you guys are used to seeing him do that. And that was across  the league. There were a couple of other teams who had Pro Bowl players who had the same amount of carries and yards (Dallas’ Ezekiel Elliott only gained eight yards on nine carries against Denver). So it’s not just us. But we’re all we care about. We’ve got to be better up front. That’s collectively so that we can start to get this thing rolling.”