The moment the schedules came out, Aaron Rodgers must’ve practiced his Grinch smile.
The Packers open the season with the Bears. This is the same Bears team that got swallowed by Green Bay 93-31 in two games last year.
Yeah, Chicago has a new coach with a new vision, the grumpy Brandon Marshall is gone and Matt Forte is still the featured back.
But none of those things matter when you can’t stop anyone. The Bears were 30th in the league in passing defense by allowing 264 yards a game through the air.
Rodgers scoffed at those averages and threw for 617 yards and 10 touchdowns against the defenseless folks from the Windy City.
To make matters worse, the Bears didn’t pick a defensive back until the fifth round in Adrian Amos — who will be in a dogfight for the starting free safety job. Granted, the Bears did take cornerback Kyle Fuller as the 14th pick in 2014. But after grabbing three picks in the first three games, Fuller only had one in the final 13.
Fuller did suffer a broken hand, a hip pointer and a minor MCL sprain last year. Still, teams began to pick on Fuller in the second half of the season and the rookie began to crumble.
Fuller finished 2014 pretty lousy, but he’s the shining light for the Bears in the secondary.
I don’t care how much of turnaround Jay Cutler makes. He can drastically cut down on his 18 picks — which were his highest since he threw 26 in 2009. But he can’t — and he never could — put a team on his back with obvious deficiencies.
The success of the Bears hinges on its defensive backs. And since the Packers have the best tandem of wideouts in the league to go along with the best quarterback, more nonconference college football scores could be in store.
Couple that with a Lions offense outfitted with Calvin Johnson and a Vikings offense that has an up-and-comer in second-year pro Teddy Bridgewater and the entire division should be smiling deviously.
John Fox may have come from coaching Peyton Manning. The NFL is a quarterback’s league, but if Fox doesn’t get some answers from a new 3-4 scheme, it’s going to be another long year in Chicago.——————
Cory Jennerjohn is from Wisconsin and has been in sports media for over 10 years. To contact Cory e-mail him at jeobs -at- yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter: Cory Jennerjohn