As Packers fans, we know how we view our team and their NFC North Rivals. But I’d guess most of us are curious as to how opposing fans view the same subjects. So to find out, one of our regular readers/commenters here, Jesse Cook (aka Bearmeat) contacted a few friends who are (somewhat) sane fans of our Division rivals and peppered them (pun intended) with questions about our team and theirs.
First up, Chicago Bears:
1. Let’s start big picture here: What is the fan perception of the Bears organization in the next 5 years? Where is the arrow pointing? Do you approve of the job Emery and Trestman have done so far?
- “In Emery we Trest”. That seems to be the motto amongst most Bears fans in town these days. I would say that the fan perception of the Bears is that this organization has finally joined the modern era of football, both from a General Manager and Coaching standpoint. As every failed player from the Lovie/Angelo Era is shed, more positivitiy takes its There is much optimism for the near future of this organization as Emery and Trestman continue their growth together.
2. What do Bears fans think about the Cutler contract? Seems like a t for (so far) middling production?
- Cutler has and will always be a polarizing topic in Chicago. There is some reason for optimism for his 2014-15 season. Another year under the high-powered Trestman offense, an improved offensive line, most of his top offensive weapons back.
- In regards to Cutler’s contract, I think it’s beneficial for both sides. For the Bears, it gives them options on how to handle their future at QB. It’s basically a 3 year deal (average $18 mil a year *cough*), giving the Bears the option to turn it into a 4-7 year deal as they choose. If they like what Cutler is doing, they can stick with him, or if they don’t they can cut him. Or maybe they bring him back for an extra year as they groom a potential new QB. So yes, there’s a lot of money to be handed out the next three years, but they have plenty of wiggle room after that.
3. A lot of Packer fans wanted Shea McClellin at ROLB 2 years ago. Yo got him and he hasn’t worked out at RDE, so he’s now moving to SLB. How does he look?
- Physically, he looks great, but his on the field performance will be a different matter. McClellin has the speed, intelligence, and instincts to be a good strong-side LB but still has to work on his game – Specifically, using his hands to stack and shed blockers. This is definitely a make or break year for McClellin and he’s got a lot to prove to everyone. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing how he can handle his new role.
4. Followup – after Briggs, who is getting up there but still effective, do you think the LBs as a until will be able to hold their own against the juggernaut GB and DET offenses… oh and some guy named Adrian Peterson? Who’s going to step up and why?
- The linebacker situation will be an interesting one to follow. Briggs(33) and D.J. Williams(31) are in contract seasons and are entering the twilight of their respective careers. The success of the LB unit is really going to depend on the growth of Bostic and McClellin. If new LB coach Reggie Herring can get the most out of them, this LB core can turn out to be a pleasant surprise. Sadly, the bears LB core can’t get any worse than last season….so that’s good, right?….right?!
5. We all (unfortunately) know who Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffrey are. Who is Marques Wilson? Should Packer fans be afraid of a 3rd “twin tower” or is that part of the normal post-draft “everyone is winning a Lombardi trophy this year” schtick?
- Thanks to positive remarks from his fellow teamates, the Marquis Wilson Hype Train is in full gear right now. Wilson has spent the offseason working out with Marshall, the same blueprint Jeffery followed to blow up in his sophomore season. He possesses the ability to threaten the seam up the middle ,much like a tight end, opening up options for outside receivers. I think there will be some opportunities for him to shine as defenses will be focusing on the Marshal/Jeffery duo. I realize that no one truly knows what will happen until they put the pads on, but for now it appears that the 3rd WR spot his is to lose.
6. We all got a good laugh about you guys picking up M.D. Jennings. Our safety play was atrocious last year.. and he was possibly the worst of the bunch. Do you really think that names like MD Jennings, Ryan Mundy, Chris Conte, Brock Vereen and Adrian Wilson will be able to be able to tread water?
- First off, thank you for addressing the fact that GB’s safety play was atrocious last year. Now back to the bears. The Safety position is still a huge question mark for the bears. Will Ryan Mundy step up to be the strong safety the bears hope he will be? Can Chris Conte shake off his mental and physical injuries and come back to contribute? Will Brock Vereen be able to be successful as a rookie? So many questions, so hard to answer right now. I have more faith in Mundy than I do in Conte, but the overall success of the Bears safeties is still up in the air.
7. On the other hand, you’ve done a lot to spruce up the defensive line. Why are you excited about the rotation of Jared Allen, Jeremiah Ratliff, Stephen Paea, Lamarr Houston, and others? (Did we miss anyone?) Is there a worry you have about this group?
- On paper, this line is more talented, nastier, and deeper than the injury-riddled unit that gave up an NFL-worst 5.4 yards per carry last season. Obviously, the addition of Allen has me excited. That also gives the bears flexibility to change Houston’s positioning depending on the matchup and how they want to disguise their intentions. A good mixture of NFL experience and rookie depth(Ferguson & Sutton) has me excited about this group.
8. GB made a (rare) move into Free Agency this year by signing Julius Peppers. The perception in cheesehead-land is either that Peppers was slacking last year because he hated the defensive scheme run by Mel Tucker, or that he just can’t handle 800+ snaps on defense anymore. What is your honest opinion on Julius Peppers as a part time, secondary pass rusher in an elephant position (stand up DE) opposite CM3?
- Last year, I think Peppers’ age finally caught up with him and 800+ snaps was an unrealistic number for him. Part of me thinks he was banged up a bit and was keeping it under wraps. Peppers had been such a professional his whole time with the Bears, it would seem slightly out of character for him hang his teammates out to dry because he wasn’t a fan of Tucker’s scheme. I feel that at this stage of his career, his greatest chance for success is in a part time, secondary pass rusher role. If that is how the Packers plan on using him, I’m sure he will do a fine job. Frankly, as a Bears fan, he has me a bit worried.
9. Who is going to replace the legendary Devin Hester at KR/PR? Is the fan consensus that they’ll be good, or will the level drop off? It’s been so long since I’ve not dreaded kicking to the Bears… I’m kind of looking forward to it.
- For now, it would appear that it would be Eric Weems’ job, however I’m not entirely convinced he will still be on the team by the time the season starts. The Bears special teams were unusually horrible last season, even with Hester’s 5th best yards per return average. In the past, having to rely so heavily on a punt returner like Hester, albeit one of the all time greatest, just showed how inept the Bears offense used to be. Now with real offensive tools, and the irrelevance of the NFL kickoff, filling the punt returner position is something that bears fans shouldn’t be too worried about.
10. Aaron Rodgers has missed games twice in his starting stint with GB (1.5 games in 2010 and 7.5 in 2013). It’s not uncommon to hear “glass Rodgers” jokes around enemy territory. But Jay Cutler has missed time every year he’s been with the Bears correct? What happens to the team if he goes down again? (The “is your backup any good” question)
- That was quite a longwinded question, but I appreciate you *eventually* getting to the point. Right now, the bears backup QB is Jordan Palmer, who hasn’t thrown a pass in a game since 2010. If not Palmer, then you’re dealing with Jimmy Clausen – Also bad. So the current state of the Bears backup QB looks pretty bleak to say the least. However, I wouldn’t rule out Emery signing a vetern QB to take over the backup role to Cutler(or at least that’s my wishful thinking). So to answer the main point of your question, which you so parenthetically stated, is I have no idea…ask me again at the end of training camp.
11. Same question – but with Forte at RB.
- The Bears have failed numerous times by signing a veteran RB2 behind forte. Such gems as Chester Taylor, Marion Barber, and Michael Bush have all failed to produce at even a modest RB2 level. I’m excited to go the developmental route this time with rookie Ka’Deem Carey. The attributes the Bears see in him are similar to those they value in Forte. Carey isn’t a home run threat with blazing speed, but in college he efficiently gained yards and consistently did so after contact. For an RB2? That works for me.
12. It is strange for Packer fans to see the Bears routinely score more than 20 points in games. Can you talk about the sea change Trestman has brought to the offensive side of your club? Do you think you can outscore Rodgers and Co this year?
- Trestman runs an aggressive offense, but unlike the aggressive offense of Mike Martz, Trestman’s is built on creating openings in defenses through route combinations and relies heavily on quick passes. Like any first year coach, Trestman had a few miscues, but he’s is a very intellegent guy and is sure to improve on those mistakes this season. With the offensive weapons he has at his disposal, you can see why the bears were 2nd in the league in average points at 27.8. So to answer the last part of your question, yes, I believe the Bears can outscore Green Bay this year. Why that matters though is beyond me.
13. Talk about your CB position. You’ve got the esteemed vet (Tillman), the highly touted rookie (Fuller), Tim Jennings and Kelvin Hayden, along with a host of developmental guys. Do you see any slowdown from Tillman after his injuries? Is Fuller the real deal? Does Hayden have anything left? Do you think Jennings recent success
will continue? Is this a position of strength on your defense?
- I ended up really liking the Fuller pickup. At first I was upset the bears didn’t draft a Safety, but after thinking about it, having someone with his skills and his versitily is pretty valuable to a defense. Even if Fuller ends up only playing nickel this season, he’d still be on the field for half of the defensive snaps. Considering all of the high-powerered passing offenses in the NFCN, having an above average nickel back is certainly important. I’m hoping Tillman has enough in the tank for one more year, but then again I have my serious doubts that he can stay healthy for a full season. If Tillman ends up playing a full season, and Jennings continues his success, this can be a solid unit for the bears. Or at the very least, the improved defensive line can help take some pressure off the CB’s.
14. Just for fun: Rank em (with reasons) Marshall, Jordy, Wilson, Abbrederis, Harper, Boykin, Cobb, Jeffries, Adams, Abbrederis.
- Pass. (Editor’s Note: My friend has a much more level head than me about football – my nickname in my Chicago FF league is “the @#$*&^ Troll)
15. Who has the better fantasy year – Forte or Lacy? Rodgers or Cutler? Nelson or B Marsh? Why?
- Forte – It’s probably a coin flip in my mind, but since I’m a bears fan, I’ll go with Forte.
- Rodgers – Yeah.
- B Marsh – He’s Cutler’s favorite target and whines when he doesn’t get the ball. Hence, he will get the ball a lot more than Nelson.
16. What do you guys (try to take off the fan goggles here) REALLY think about GBs team going into 2014? On offense? On defense?
- I’ll keep it simple and leave the hard hitting analysis to you packers fans: Most Bears fans, whether they admit it or not, realize that the packers are the favorites to win the north once again. As long as Arod is their starting QB, his skills will outweigh most weaknesses the packers have on either side of the ball. Therefore, the packers will always be there at or near the top of the division for as long as Arod is behind center…and that’s just the way it goes.
17. Who wins the NFCN this year? By how much? I’m guessing GB will win the division this year, but it’s still a close race.
18. Is there a new Packer (draftee or injured guy or free agent) that you think will be the next thorn In the Bears hide?
- Davante Adams. Any young, talented WR that gets thrown into the mix with Arod is destined to annoy the hell out of Bears fans.
19. Anything I missed that you want to talk about?
- No. Go Bears.