Five Chicago Bears To Watch This Week
Sep 13, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears cornerback Kyle Fuller (23) is called for pass interference against Green Bay Packers wide receiver James Jones (89) during the second half at Soldier Field. Green Bay won 31-23. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Kyle Fuller, Cornerback
Fuller spent much of Week 1 shadowing Davante Adams in the loss to Green Bay. Just as I was thinking that he was playing well and Adams was quiet, Aaron Rodgers hit Adams on a short route and Fuller fell flat on his face trying to make the tackle. Ugly.
It was downhill for Fuller after that, although he didn’t play as poorly as I feared he would. He got beat on a deep comeback by Adams (on an admittedly great throw and catch), but looked decent in run support. He ended the game with two tackles but no passes defensed.
Last week the Packers didn’t have Jordy Nelson (out for the season) and Randall Cobb was limited with a shoulder injury. So Fuller wasn’t in a position to cover either of the Packers’ top two receivers. The Cardinals don’t have that problem this week.
As much as Fuller struggled at times last week, he was much better than Alan Ball, who was embarrassed regularly by James Jones. The Cardinals have better receivers than Green Bay. While I expect Ball will cover Michael Floyd, that leaves Fuller on Larry Fitzgerald, who is without a doubt one of the top receivers in the league.
Sep 13, 2015; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (11) hurdles New Orleans Saints defensive back Delvin Breaux (40) during the second half at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
Fitzgerald toiled in Arizona with horrendous quarterbacks for several years after Kurt Warner retired, but now he’s got Carson Palmer back after Palmer tore his ACL partway through the 2014 season. Both of them looked great last week, as Palmer threw for more than 300 yards while Fitzgerald caught six passes for almost 90 yards.
At 32 years old, Fitzgerald doesn’t have the same high-caliber speed he’s demonstrated in past years, but he’s a great route runner with great hands. He’s going to be a very difficult task for Fuller to handle, but if Fuller wants to be a number one cornerback – and if the Bears want to find out if Fuller is a number one cornerback – this is the type of matchup Fuller needs to tackle.
I don’t think Fuller can shut Fitzgerald down (who can?), but if Fuller can hold Fitzgerald to only a couple of catches, maybe knock a pass down and negate any run-after-catch yards, that would be a good game.
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