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.

Bears-49ers: And the winner is?

Bears-49ers: And the winner is?

Both teams are on track to be drafting in the top five, and the inevitable “the loser is the winner” talk has made its rounds, meaning that a defeat moves the loser higher in the draft order. The reality is that neither team will tank the game for draft position.

But the chances of two woeful teams playing well are slim. The 49ers won in Week 1 and then have lost 10 straight. The Bears are trying to avoid losing four straight for the first time under John Fox.

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Quarterback Colin Kaepernick burst upon the NFL scene in 2012 with a blowout of the Bears in his first start. He has regained his starting job in San Francisco and is still one of the prototypical mobile quarterbacks.

But the 49ers are the NFL’s worst defense in both points and yardage allowed, and they are the worst rushing defense in the league. Expect the Bears to try exploiting that and give quarterback Matt Barkley a balanced run-pass game plan.

Prediction: Bears 24, 49ers 20

Bears hoping to get Kyle Fuller back in DB mix sooner rather than later

Bears hoping to get Kyle Fuller back in DB mix sooner rather than later

Kyle Fuller was one of the seeming fixtures in the Bears’ defense as it transitioned from the 4-3 of old to the 3-4 of Vic Fangio. And he may be again, the Bears hope very soon, as he has begun practicing after months on injured reserve following knee surgery in August.

The Bears could place Fuller on the active roster as late as Saturday after he practiced all three days this week. “He made it three days in practice, no setbacks,” said coach John Fox. “He seems to be adapting pretty well. He has another practice [Saturday] and we don’t have to make a decision until 3 p.m. because of where he is on the roster. We’ll evaluate that after tomorrow.”

Were Fuller to return — restoring one projected 2016 starter to a defense that has been forced to field five different starting secondaries in the span of 11 games — he may be phased back in with a managed number of snaps, as other certain other players returning from injury have been.

But getting Fuller back projects to be an instant upgrade for a defensive backfield among the NFL’s worst at producing takeaways.

“We all play different positions so we’re kind of used to it, people moving in and out over the year,” said Bryce Callahan, who was initially ticketed for nickel duty as the No. 3 cornerback this season but has been pressed into service starting at cornerback in four games.

“It’s always good to get someone like Kyle back.”

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The Bears would need to weigh what workload Fuller could handle vs. roster needs based on only having 46 players active on game day.

“You’re always a little bit cautious because it does affect your roster,” Fox said. “But if you feel like he makes you better, that’s a move you make. Now we’re just working through him medically, durability-wise, and how much he can play.”

Jay Cutler (shoulder) was officially declared out and is headed for surgery on Saturday, ultimately to injured reserve.

Other availability questions include receiver Eddie Royal (toe), guard Josh Sitton (ankle) and safety Adrian Amos (ankle), all questionable. Linebacker Willie Young (knee) did not practice but linebacker Leonard Floyd was able to practice on a limited basis although his status in the concussion protocol will not be known until closer to game time.