Thursday, Sept. 22, 2011Posted: 11:57 p.m.
By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com Bears Insider Follow @CSNMoonMullin
The Bears and fans are facing a very unpleasant football reality.
As far as the Bears are concerned, Aaron Rodgers is better than Brett Favre. Not just the annually retiring Brett Favre; the good one. You could look it up.
Rodgers "is in a league by himself," said cornerback Charles Tillman, a veteran of facing both and answering a comparison question with a comment only about Rodgers.
It may be comforting to note that the Bears held Rodgers below his 2010 season passer rating all three times they played him last season. It may be reassuring to point out that none of the three Packers games last season were decided by more than 7 points and that Rodgers' Packers averaged just 16 points in the three games.
Those would exercises in self-deception.
"I don't know how much 'success' it is," defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli said when asked about reasons for recent success against the Packers.
That "success" in fact left with Favre.
The Bears have played Rodgers seven times. They have won only two. One of those two, game No. 3 last season, featured 18 Packers penalties and the Bears still won 20-17 by coming from behind in the fourth quarter. Only in the NFC Championship game has Rodgers thrown more interceptions (two) than touchdown passes (zero) and the Bears still couldn't beat him.
The Bears have indeed recently held him below his passer standard. The problem is that in other than that NFC Championship game, he has never had a rating below 87.6.
Which means that even when the Bears "control" him, he is very, very good.
But the Favre comparison?
Rodgers is clearly superior to the Favre that Lovie Smith dominated from 2004-2007. That Favre was 2-6 against the Smith Bears.
But Rodgers is arguably a more dangerous Bear-killer already than Favre was at the same stage of his career.
Favre perpetrated his real mayhem on the Bears teams of Dave Wannstedt and Dick Jauron, which with rare exceptions (1994, 1995, 2001) all had losing records and were generally patsies for just about everyone.
Favre and Rodgers have the same regular-season record of 4-2 through their first six Bears games. But Rodgers' came against the '08 and '10 Bears teams, vastly superior to the 1992-94 Bears that were finishing Mike Ditka's Bears run and starting Wannstedt's. The '94 team won a wild-card game but was crushed both times it saw Favre.
People who know both
For Bears who have seen both to speak only of Rodgers in any comparison talk is revealing.
"I don't know," said linebacker Lance Briggs, a veteran of the final four Favre years and the three Rodgers seasons. "I think efficiency-wise this is."
Briggs paused. "Rodgers is up there. It's only two games into the year, but efficiency wise he's got to be one of, if not the best quarterback in the league right now. Playing that way. he's playing lights-out football. He's getting the ball to everyone he needs to get it to. And he's doing it without any interceptions and without any incompletions, or not many incompletions."
Rodgers mercifully was not asked any questions this week about Favre. He endured far too many of those when Favre was still in Green Bay and in the seasons that followed his messy departure.
But Rodgers is already being spoken of in terms once reserved for Favre.
"Rodgers has got an unbelievable release," Marinelli said. "The ball really comes out quick. Very, very accurate. I think he's a tremendous competitor. Then you add his mobility. He's a very, very mobile guy. When he breaks that pocket, boy, he's tough. He's accurate, and he'll run, but he is extremely accurate outside of the pocket."
John "Moon" Mullin is CSNChicago.com's Bears Insider and appears regularly on Bears Postgame Live and Chicago Tribune Live. Follow Moon on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bears information.