Can the Chicago Bears defense stop Aaron Rodgers, Packers?
By now, the Chicago Bears' defense should be used to facing Pro Bowl quarterbacks.
In the first three weeks, coordinator Vic Fangio's crew faced quarterbacks with a combined 10 Pro Bowl appearances: Jameis Winston (1), Matt Ryan (4) and Ben Roethlisberger (5).
This week the Bears get another five-time Pro Bowl pick, the Packers' Aaron Rodgers. Even worse, they have a short week to prepare before traveling to Green Bay for Thursday night's nationally televised game, the 195th meeting in the legendary series that is tied at 94-94-6.
No quarterback in the history of the NFL who has thrown 175 or more passes against the Bears has a higher passer rating against them than Rodgers' 103.2. In games he has started and finished against the Bears, Rodgers is 15-3.
"On the short week, obviously it's a challenge for both sides," Bears coach John Fox said. "But it starts with Aaron, and he always makes things interesting."
Rodgers presents some unique problems.
Most quarterbacks, when they're forced from their normal launch point, are less effective throwing the ball. But a more mobile Rodgers is more dangerous.
Fangio was asked if he thought Rodgers threw the ball better than most quarterbacks when rolling to his right.
"He throws most balls better than all quarterbacks, moving or not," Fangio said. "He doesn't just get out (of the pocket) to the right. He gets out inside, (or) either way, (even) out to the left. Obviously, a right-handed quarterback's going to be more effective escaping to his throwing hand, yeah."
This might be the Bears' best opportunity in 10 years to get after Rodgers. Both Packers starting tackles -- David Bakhtiari (hamstring) and (Woodstock) Marian Central Catholic High School product Bryan Bulaga (ankle) -- are hurt. Both were limited at Tuesday's practice.
Bakhtiari, who protects Rodgers' blind side, has not played since Week 1. Backups Jason Spriggs (hamstring) and Kyle Murphy (foot) are on injured reserve.
"It's been tough with the injury bug for us this year," Rodgers said. "Tough spots. Obviously, we had seven starters out last week. Hopefully we can get a couple guys back this week. Excited to see who's going to be ready to line up Thursday."
The Bears' defense will be without 10-year veteran safety Quintin Demps, who suffered a fractured forearm in Week 3. He will be replaced by Adrian Amos, who was a starter his first two seasons before losing his spot this year to rookie Eddie Jackson.
"There's not really much he can't do as a quarterback," said Amos, who has faced Rodgers four times. "He can run, he can throw, he can throw on the run. He has experience with the receivers, and that brings a lot of challenges.
"He can get out of the pocket (and) throw it. He can get you off balance, and he knows little tricks of the trade to keep the defense on their heels."
Most of those tricks occur when Rodgers eludes the rush and extend plays, giving his receivers extra time to get free, which presents a nightmare for defensive backs.
"That's something you have to always be aware of," Amos said. "You have to cover receivers longer -- seven, eight seconds is a long time. But I think our D-line will do a good job getting after him. But when he does try to extend plays, we have to do a great job of plastering to receivers."
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