Chicago Bears vs Green Bay Packers: 5 Things To Watch For

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Sep 28, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Green Bay Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb (18) makes a catch against Chicago Bears cornerback Kyle Fuller (23) during the second half at Soldier Field. The Green Bay Packers defeats the Chicago Bears 38-17. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

How Will The Bears’ Secondary Hold Up?

The secondary of the Chicago Bears seems primed for the picking for Aaron Rodgers, even without top wide receiver Jordy Nelson.

Sep 28, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Green Bay Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson (87) makes a touchdown catch against Chicago Bears cornerback Kyle Fuller (23) during the first half at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Rodgers, of course, has feasted on the Bears passing defense for more consecutive games than I care to count. He’s facing some new personnel this time – veteran strong safety Antrel Rolle, rookie free safety Adrian Amos, journeyman cornerback Alan Ball – but expect Rodgers to have the same big numbers.

Only second-year cornerback Kyle Fuller returns as a starter from the Bears team Rodgers enjoyed last year. Fuller, who will likely match-up with Cobb after Nelson’s injury, has something to prove this season. He started strong last year, but really struggled for the last two-thirds (at least) of the season, and looked woeful this preseason. Bears fans like to talk up Fuller as a possible top-notch building block, but he hasn’t played like that since Week 3 of last season.

Ball, who at 6’2” has the ideal height for Fangio’s defense, will be matched up with the other wide receiver, likely Adams, and will probably require help much of the time. The Bears’ third cornerback could be Terrance Mitchell or special team star Sherrick McManis, neither of whom has seen much time on defense in their career.

The safety position, meanwhile, will be more than interesting to watch. The Bears have struggled at the safety slot for more years than most of us can remember. Remember Chris Conte getting beat deep on a fourth down for the Bears to lose a playoff spot in 2013? Remember Major Wright … doing anything? I wonder if Mike Brown could still come back and play safety.

The Bears brought in Rolle, an 11-year veteran, to play strong safety. He’s looked old, and the faint scent of decay was detectable on his preseason play. Hopefully that will wash off in time for Sunday’s game. He’s struggled on run angles, and as the strong safety, he will spend time near the line in run support. That’s a bad combination.

Aug 29, 2015; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals running back Rex Burkhead (33) is tackled by Chicago Bears free safety Adrian Amos (38) and outside linebacker Shea McClellin (50) after making a catch in the first half in a preseason NFL football game at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Amos, a fifth-round pick out of Penn State, is an unknown at free safety, but he’s played corner too, so hopefully his coverage skills are better than the average rookie safety. He’s shown decent run support skills as well, so maybe the selection of Amos will help the Bears turn the corner at safety.

The likely struggles of the secondary could be alleviated by the pass rush, which hopefully will be much improved with the addition of Pernell McPhee this year. However, with the Packers having two good backs, a couple decent tight ends and receivers, the secondary will be stressed in both the run and pass game. Maybe they can force a turnover or two, but I’m expecting it will be a bleak day.

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