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.

Bears linebacker Jerrell Freeman saved a man's life at an airport

Bears linebacker Jerrell Freeman saved a man's life at an airport

Jerrell Freeman played hero at an Austin airport on Sunday.

The Bears linebacker was grabbing a bite to eat before his flight to head back to Chicago for training camp when he noticed a man choking.

Freeman said an older lady tried to perform the Heimlich maneuver on the man but didn't have enough strength. That's when Freeman stepped in, and after a couple attempts, saved his life.

“I grabbed him and tried to squeeze the life out of him,” Freeman told the Chicago Tribune. “You’ve got to push in and up. So I did that and he started throwing up what he was choking on. I asked him if he was all right and he shook his head like ‘No!’

“I grabbed him again and hit him again with it. And when I put him down the second time, his eyes got big. He was like, ‘Oh, my god! I think you just saved my life, man!’ It was crazy.”

Freeman tweeted a picture after it happened:

Freeman, 31, said he had never done the Heimlich maneuver before, but his mom is a nurse and had talked to him about it. He just did what he heard, and thankfully it worked.

Bears training camp preview: 3 burning questions for coaching staff

Bears training camp preview: 3 burning questions for coaching staff

With Bears players reporting for training camp Wednesday, CSN Chicago’s Chris Boden and JJ Stankevitz have been spending the last two weeks looking at three burning questions at each position group. The series concludes with Boden’ s look at the coaching staff.

1. Can John Fox find a balance between necessary snaps, and staying healthy?

Unless he’s practicing this team every day (he’s not) and hitting every day (he’s not doing that, either), a coach really can’t be blamed for injuries. That out-of-his-hands factor has kept his first two years from a true evaluation, yet every team has to deal with them. He and Ryan Pace have been particularly hamstrung (pun intended) by the fact so many key, high draft picks/building blocks and impact free agent signings (see Pernell McPhee, Danny Trevathan, Eddie Royal) have spent significant time on the sidelines. 

Fox tweaked the workout schedule in Bourbonnais with more consistent start times (all in the 11 a.m. hour), mixing in off-days and walk-throughs. Yet there are heavy competitions to sift through, particularly at wide receiver, cornerback, and safety, and projected starters must learn to get used to each other (and the offense get used to Mike Glennon) so that miscommunication is at a minimum. The Falcons, Buccaneers, Steelers and Packers won’t wait for them to get on the same page over the first 19 days of the regular season.

2. How does Dowell Loggains divide up quarterback snaps?

His starting quarterback basically hasn’t played since 2014 and is trying to master a new system, working with new receivers. All while Mike Glennon tries to be “all systems go”-ready on Sept. 10. Loggains is also in charge of developing the quarterback of the future, who never previously worked under center or called a huddle. If Mitch Trubisky isn’t the backup to start the season, Mark Sanchez, who missed all of minicamp with a knee injury, has to gain enough of a comfort level with the playbook and his receivers to slide in in the event of an emergency. These practices usually top out at about two hours, maybe a bit longer. Will there basically be two practices going on at the same time? If so, how can Loggains and the offensive assistants not overdo it for those at other positions?

3. Are Vic Fangio and Leonard Floyd tied at the hip?

The defensive coordinator still oversees all the position groups, but will focus particularly on the oustide linebackers and the prized pupil, Leonard Floyd. Fangio says he liked what he’s seen of the 2016 first-round pick this off-season, once he recovered from his second concussion. But he said all the bumps, bruises, strains, pulls, and bell-ringing didn’t mean anything more than an incomplete rookie grade. At this point, he’d probably like to be joined to Floyd’s hip in Bourbonnais, because that means he’ll be staying on the practice field, learning. “3b” in this category would be Ed Donatell sorting through a long list of young defensive backs to find the right pieces to keep for the present and future, in addition to finding four starters who’ll take the ball away a lot better than they’ve done the past two seasons.