Chicago Bears

Rodgers ahead of Favre's success vs. Bears

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Rodgers ahead of Favre's success vs. Bears

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.

Kendall Wright draws a line between Marcus Mariota and Mitch Trubisky: They 'can do it all'

Kendall Wright draws a line between Marcus Mariota and Mitch Trubisky: They 'can do it all'

Kendall Wright saw two years ago what the transition for a quarterback, picked second overall and coming from a college spread offense, can look like. Marcus Mariota made that move smoothly and now looks poised to join the ranks of the best quarterbacks in the NFL this year with the Tennessee Titans. 

Can Mitch Trubisky make a similarly successful transition? Wright, so far, has liked what he’s seen.

“His overall progression from OTAs to training camp to now, his overall everything he’s done in every area has gotten better,” Wright said. “The work he puts in, it helps him.” 

It’s not a perfect comparison, of course, given the offense Mariota so effectively operated at Oregon didn't resemble the look and feel of the one Trubisky ran at North Carolina. Mariota started far more games than Trubisky, too. They’re two different quarterbacks with different skillsets. And Mariota was given the opportunity to be a Week 1 starter from the moment he was drafted, while Trubisky — for now — remains behind Mike Glennon. 

“Marcus was in a different position where he came in and he was the quarterback,” Wright said. “I think it’s different. Once Mitch starts playing, whenever he starts playing, he’ll start progressing a lot more because he’ll actually be out there in game-like situations.”

But consider why the Titans were so confident Mariota could start immediately and make a successful transition to the NFL from that flashy Oregon offense:

“I don’t think the system he had in Oregon, I don’t think that held him back when he came into the league,” Wright said. “I think he was good at making his progressions, decisive. He’s like one of those players, it doesn’t matter what system he’s in, you put him out there and he’s a guy that’s a difference-maker.”

After espousing Trubisky’s accuracy back in April, Bears general manager Ryan Pace quickly pointed out this trait: “His ability to process and see the whole field jumps out right away. 

“… All these top quarterbacks, it’s just their ability to quickly process defenses, process coverage, find open targets, not panic under pressure, deliver accurate throws when there’s a noisy pocket – things are collapsing – those guys all have those traits. And Mitch has those traits, Drew (Brees) has those traits and those are things we value.”

The point being: No matter the system, both Mariota and Trubisky have good football intelligence, and are more than what Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians once bemoaned about college spread quarterbacks. 

“They hold up a card on the sideline and he kicks his foot and throws the ball,” Arians said in 2015. “That ain’t playing quarterback.”

Trubisky, of course, still has to improve with his pre-snaps reads, calling out protections, identifying coverages, learning the playbook, etc. But he seems to have the football intelligence to make those strides and marry them with his impressive physical skillset. 

And as was the case with Mariota, Wright doesn’t see a reason why Trubisky can’t succeed in the NFL. 

“(Trubisky) can do it all too,” Wright said. “He’s still learning, he’s still getting better, he’s never complacent. He has the ability to get better and he’s willing to get better. He’s a young guy that listens. He’s just a baller. You put him out there and he makes plays.” 

With return to Tennessee looming, football is fun again for Kendall Wright

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With return to Tennessee looming, football is fun again for Kendall Wright

Sunday will mark Kendall Wright’s first trip back to Nashville since he not-so-amicably split with the Tennessee Titans after the 2016 season. 

Wright has said he doesn’t want to talk about his time in Tennessee, where injuries and clashes with coaches led to a steady decline in targets and production after a standout 2013 season (139 targets, 94 receptions, 1,079 yards). But it’s easy to compare how he feels practicing with the Bears to how he felt toward the end of his days with the Titans. 

“A fresh start is good,” Wright said. “Football is fun again. 

“If you don’t have fun playing the game, what the use of you playing? And I didn’t really have too much fun the past few years. But when you’re out here playing and doing what you love to do, it’s fun. So you just gotta keep the game fun.”

Wright was a little more forceful earlier this year. 

“What motivates me the most is I probably was the best receiver on the Titans roster last year and I was playing, like, 10 plays a game,” Wright said during OTAs in June. 

But while this weekend’s game against the Titans could seem to be an opportunity for revenge, Wright is more approaching it for what it is — another preseason game to continue to improve with the rest of the first team offense. 

Wright caught a touchdown from  Glennon Saturday night in Arizona (he also was the target on Glennon’s interception, though that looked to be more on the quarterback than the receiver). And he seems to be clearly ahead of Victor Cruz to be the team’s No. 1 slot receiver — Cruz wasn’t targeted against Arizona, while Wright received three targets. 

If the Glennon-led first-team offense is going to have success in the regular season, it needs improvements from every unit — quarterback, running back, wide receiver, tight end and offensive line — based on what we’ve seen during the preseason. Perhaps a motivated, fun-having Wright, playing for the same offensive coordinator under which he had his best season, can be a part of that. 

“The game of football is supposed to be fun,” Wright said. “Don’t take the fun out of it. You just gotta go out there and have fun and make plays. When you’re making plays, it’s even more fun.”