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.

Bears numbers don't indicate 3-13, yet still lie

Bears numbers don't indicate 3-13, yet still lie

In doing some post-season wrapping up of my Nerdy NFL Notebook as we begin turning the page to the 2017 season, part of it involves compiling where each team finished in big-picture team offensive and defensive categories: overall ranking (total yards), as well as team rushing and passing ranks on both sides of the ball.

So if the Bears wound up ranked 15th overall in total yards gained and allowed, they should've finished…oh, 8-8, right? It adds to the deception of some of the deeper issues that focus on a lack of playmakers, which tied into their inability to make plays when it matters most. In John Fox's 9-23 start, 18 of those games have been decided by six points or less. They've won just six of those games. 

Offensively, the Bears ranked higher in total offense than five playoff teams: Kansas City (20), Detroit (21), Miami (24), New York Giants (25) and Houston (29). They wound up 17th in rushing offense, better than four teams who advanced: Seattle (25), Green Bay (26), New York Giants (29) and Detroit (30). And their 14th-ranked passing offense ranked better than the Giants (17), Kansas City (19), Dallas (23), Miami (26), Houston (29).

On the other side of the ball, they'd be even better off before allowing 109 points over the final three losses. Their total defense ranked better than Detroit (18), Green Bay (22), Kansas City (24), Atlanta (25), Oakland (26) and Miami (29). After being gashed for 558 rushing yards the last three games, they fell to 27th in the NFL against the run (better than only 30th-ranked Miami). But the seventh-ranked pass defense, despite collecting a measly eight interceptions (among only 11 turnovers), was better than nine playoff teams: Miami (15), Pittsburgh (16), Kansas City (18), Detroit (19), the Giants (23), Oakland (24), Dallas (26), Atlanta (28) and Green Bay (31).

[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]

What do all the hollow numbers indicate? A lack of complementary, opportunistic football, playmakers on both sides of the ball, a minus-20 turnover ratio, and a lack of quality and continuity at the quarterback position — to name a few. All of those playoff teams have more impact players (or kept more of their impact players healthy) than the Bears in 2016.

While some of the numbers aren't that bad to look at, and some even raise an eyebrow, there's still a deep climb from the most significant numbers: 3-13.

Bears' best rookies will have another learning curve

Bears' best rookies will have another learning curve

There's a sense of irony and, to a certain degree, concern about what changes the Bears' coaching staff has undergone.

Think of the best of Ryan Pace's 2016 rookie class: Leonard Floyd, Cody Whitehair, and Jordan Howard. They were brought along under the position group tutelage of outside linebackers coach Clint Hurtt, offensive line coach Dave Magazu and running backs coach Stan Drayton. The latter was the first to depart, shortly after the season ended, to return to the collegiate ranks on Texas' new staff.

He's been replaced with former 49ers and Bills offensive coordinator Curtis Modkins (also serving as that position coach in Detroit, Buffalo, Arizona and Kansas City). Howard certainly adapted to the NFL game well, more than anyone expected, as the NFL's second-leading rusher. One would think Drayton played a part in that.

Longtime John Fox assistant Magazu was also let go after the season despite the impressive move of second-round pick Whitehair to center the week of the season opener after Josh Sitton was signed following his release by Green Bay. Whitehair was sold as a "quick study" following his selection out of Kansas State, where he was a four-year starter at three different positions (but not center).

[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]

Like Howard, he wound up making the All-Rookie team, but whether he remains in the middle of the line or not, he'll be getting his orders now from Jeremiah Washburn.

Rounding out the trio of All-Rookie selections was Floyd, who was brought along by Hurtt. He impressed Fox enough to be kept around from Marc Trestman's staff, and moved from defensive line to outside linebackers.

That's where he assisted Willie Young in morphing to a foreign role, yet still managing 14 sacks over the last two seasons. The Bears have yet to name a replacement for Hurtt, who's joined the Seahawks in taking over one of their strengths in recent years, the defensive line.

These three were already good, and the jewels of last year's draft. But if they're to grow and ascend into impact contributors if and when this team becomes a regular playoff contender, it'll come from new faces, new voices in their respective classrooms and position groups.