View from the Moon: Packers in Super Bowl XLVI?

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View from the Moon: Packers in Super Bowl XLVI?

Monday, Feb. 7, 2011
11:04 a.m.

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com

Former ChargerPatriot and current NFL analyst Rodney Harrison told The Dan Patrick Show on Comcast SportsNet that of the Steelers and Packers, he saw the Packers as the more likely to be playing next February in Indianapolis. Part of the reasoning was what Green Bay accomplished this year having lost the likes of Jermichael Finley and Ryan Grant from an offense that was still among the NFLs best.

Agree very much with Harrisons take. More than just the young age of the Packers, the chemistry and organization within that team points away from the kind of personality issues that pulled the 85 Bears and others down.

The media needs to let go of the Brett Favre thing. Now. It was an issue several years ago when Favre could still play and he was capable of a good season with Minnesota or letting one ebb away for the New York Jets. That monkey may have been on Aaron Rodgers back in 2007 but it certainly isnt now. And why there needs to be a choice made between Rodgers and Favre somehow makes zero sense...

The big worry, if youre a Bears fan or a Bear, is that Rodgers once again played his best in the biggest game. His post-season passer ratings, in a year when his regular-season rating was 101.2, were 122.5, 136.8 and 111.5 in the Super Bowl. Add to that the 121.4 he posted in the 2009 wild-card loss and you have a disturbing pattern in an opponent.

The one game not in that cluster was the 55.4 that he struggled to against the Bears in the NFC Championship game. Rodgers threw 2 INTs and zero TD passes, the only one of his post-season games without a scoring toss. And those were the only interceptions Rodgers threw this postseason.

But heres the rub: The Packers still won. And under Rodgers they are 5-2 against the Lovie Smith Bears. The Jay Cutler brouhaha (Rodgers outplayed him for the first half anyway) overshadowed another trend line, that Rodgers is a winner.

And that is indeed a problem-in-waiting for the Bears.

Kudos to legendary NFL scrivener Peter King for Sports Illustrated, who got into the difficulties involved in voting for the Hall of Fame. This year the process put Richard Dent in the Hall but Peter makes an interesting case for transparency in voting while also acknowledging the problems that would come with a shift to open-balloting.

Good friend Jim Trotter takes you even a step further inside the process and deliberations, and how the selections are going to be harder, not easier, to make in the coming several years.

Peter also shares the result of his informal Twitter poll as to what fans want in the way of games in a season. His stepping-off point was Commissioner Roger Goodell declaring that 18 games is what fans want, which Peters research didnt confirm. What fans do want is an end to meaningless preseason games that cost regular-season prices for tickets.

Assuming there will be a 2011 season starting on time, Peters best guesses for the Packers 2011 season-opener opponent (the NFL has the Super Bowl winner open at home now): New Orleans, Tampa Bay, and the Bears. Given that the league loved hooking the Saints and Vikings up to start the 2010 season, after the two had squared off in the 2009 NFC Championship game, easy pick for the likely favorite for the NFL:

Bears at Green Bay, Sept. 8.

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.

Can Deiondre' Hall overcome on- and off-field hurdles to make an impact with Bears?

Can Deiondre' Hall overcome on- and off-field hurdles to make an impact with Bears?

Rookie Deiondre' Hall flashed in the preseason a year ago, leading the Bears coaching staff and fans to believe they found something amidst their trio of 2016 fourth round draft picks. 

He’s hoping to do the same this August after overcoming one physical hurdle, while waiting to see if he can get past a legal hurdle he created for himself.

Let’s start on the field, where, just days after his first NFL interception in the fourth game last season, he sustained an ankle injury in practice, sidelining him for two months. Once his walking boot and scooter were finally put away, he was active for the final four games. But what progress he’d been making on the field was difficult to recapture.

“Just coming off the injury, there was a little rust here and there, but the training staff here’s great and I had to push through it,” Hall said at last week’s minicamp in Lake Forest after he was one of numerous Bears hit by the injury bug, but not one of the 19 who wound up on Injured Reserve. “(I was) getting comfortable with the defense and in myself playing with those guys out there, getting the opportunity in the red zone and making plays. But the injury kinda sucked because I haven’t really had an opportunity to play since Week 5, so I’m not necessarily starting fresh.”

As the offseason unfolded, Hall was informed the coaching staff was going to try him at safety, if not permanently, then as an option for the 6-foot-2, 201-pound Northern Iowa product. 

But Hall’s not totally foreign to the position. He was a free safety his first year in college, then transitioned to outside linebacker/nickel as a sophomore, moved to cornerback as a junior before breaking his hand his senior year, playing through it back where he started at safety. So the decision wasn’t a big deal, especially if it enhances his chances to get on the field. But his preference?

“Defense. Opportunity,” Hall responded. “You get in where you fit in and the more you can do, the better it is for the team. If opportunity presents itself at corner, then I’m at corner. But right now at safety, I’m making strides (there) and keep pushing for that.”

“We’re gonna float him back and forth,” defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said last month, after the Bears signed free agent cornerbacks Prince Amukamara and Marcus Cooper in the off-season, while Bryce Callahan and Cre’Von LeBlanc are expected to battle for slot duty and former first-rounder Kyle Fuller and veterans Johnthan Banks and B.W. Webb hope to impress. “He (Hall) had some experience there in college. When it comes down to picking your team and you’re taking nine or 10 DBs, if someone’s got versatility to play both of those spots, that helps, so we’re gonna see if he’s one of those guys.”

But before Hall gets back to work in Bourbonnais, he’ll find out if he has some other dues to pay. Hall was back at his alma mater’s Cedar Falls campus March 26th when he and a former UNI teammate were arrested outside a bar called Sharky’s. Police had responded to a call, and by the time all was said and done, Hall needed to be tased before being arrested on charges of public intoxication, interference (with an arrest), and disorderly conduct. 

The case was continued late last month and Hall’s jury trial is scheduled for July 11th. Pending the outcome, he could face disciplinary action from the team and the NFL. He’s told his side of the story to Bears management and while expressing remorse for putting himself in the situation, Hall says it wasn’t in character and feels confident in what the outcome will be.

“People make mistakes and the truth always comes out,” the 23-year-old said, adding the situation isn’t weighing on his mind or affected his preparation in off-season workouts. “You gotta let people make their own mistakes. I won’t shed light but the truth always comes out, and (I’ve learned) just don’t take anything for granted.”

“My main focus is football and keep pushing to make strides to become good, and great.”

Bears announce training camp schedule

Bears announce training camp schedule

The Bears released their official training camp schedule Thursday morning. After reporting to Olivet Nazarene on Wednesday, July 26, the first of ten practices open to the public will take place the following day. The Bears will be based out of Bourbonnais for the 16th straight season. Training camp will go through Sunday, Aug. 13 before the Bears break camp and finish the preseason in Lake Forest. 

All practices are tentatively scheduled to start at various times during the 11 a.m. hour with the exception of Saturday, Aug. 13, which starts at 12:05 p.m. Those times are subject to change based on weather, and a varying set of schedules that John Fox and his coaching staff have set up, as they adjust to player and training staff preferences in hopes of reducing injuries. 

Also, new this season, fans wanting to attend practices must order free tickets in advance through the Bears website. Fans will not be allowed in without a ticket, and the first 1,000 fans each day will be given various souvenirs. The practice campus will be open to the public with tickets from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.

Here is the full training camp schedule: