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updated: 8/2/2011 9:04 PM

One step from a Packers plan that worked

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August should be to football what March is to baseball.

You know, when every fan of every team concocts a reason that winning that season's championship is possible.

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It took awhile but I figured out the Bears', due only partly to offensive coordinator Mike Martz saying Tuesday that he's "giddy" over quarterback Jay Cutler.

Here's the entire package inspiring my optimism: Cutler is Brett Favre, Julius Peppers is Reggie White, and this decade's Bears are the 1990s Packers.

OK, maybe not. Certainly not yet. It's a stretch but at least it's also a formula, a model, a plan of sorts.

All Bears president Ted Phillips, general manager Jerry Angelo and head coach Lovie Smith have to do is be as smart now as, respectively, Green Bay's Bob Harlan, Ron Wolf and Mike Holmgren were back then.

That remains to be seen, doesn't it, considering Bears management's depressed approval rating?

Anyway, the Bears traded for a promising quarterback in Cutler, just as the Packers traded for Favre. They signed a premier pass-rushing defensive end in Peppers, just as the Packers signed White.

Now the Bears have to develop Cutler the way the Packers did Favre, assemble an offensive line to protect Cutler the way the Packers protected Favre, and maximize Peppers' skill set as the Packers did White's.

Cutler and Peppers aren't Favre and White. Who are? But their paths at similar career points are similar.

In February 1992, Wolf acquired the unpolished, mechanically flawed Favre from Atlanta. In April 2009, Angelo acquired the inconsistent, mechanically flawed Cutler from Denver.

A year after getting Favre, Wolf added White, the No. 1 free agent on the market and perhaps the NFL's best defensive lineman. A year after acquiring Cutler, Angelo added Peppers, the No. 1 free agent on the market and perhaps the NFL's best defensive lineman.

The Packers made the playoffs every year Favre and White played together, won one Super Bowl and lost another.

Favre became the kind of quarterback who made everybody on offense better, from linemen to running backs to wide receivers.

Meanwhile, White made his fellow defensive linemen better, they made the linebackers better, and the front seven made the secondary better.

Cutler and Peppers have to have the same impact for the Bears, but they only will if provided with teammates good enough to respond.

Wolf set up the Packers for success the rest of the decade by adding Favre first, White second and a supporting cast around them third.

Two out of three ain't bad but not nearly enough. That third element is critical.

The Packers needed four seasons to win a Super Bowl with Favre at quarterback and White at defensive end.

Cutler and Peppers are embarking upon only their second season together, but the Bears hope they accelerated the process the past week by adding a gaggle of free-agent reclamation projects.

OK, I have provided you with a sketchy reason to be optimistic the Bears are on the right course, even if I'm not sure I believe it myself.

Phillips, Angelo and Smith still must prove they can be as adept at building a winner down here today as Harlan, Wolf and Holmgren were up at Green Bay in the 1990s.

It's up to you to determine for yourselves how confident you feel about that.

mimrem@dailyherald.com

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