Chicago Bears: Aaron Rodgers Primed to Turn Safeties into Swiss Cheese
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The Chicago Bears' secondary was already thin to begin the season, but now, the unit has suffered significant injuries that could cost them against Super Bowl champion Green Bay this upcoming Sunday.
Within the first couple weeks, the Bears' safeties have been dinged up. Strong safety Chris Harris suffered a hamstring injury at the end of the Falcons game. He sat out against the Saints and is listed as "50-50" to play against the Packers.
Free safety Major Wright left Sunday's game with a head injury that was later diagnosed as a "stiff neck" by head coach Lovie Smith. Wright missed most of the game and might sit out the next game.
With Harris and Wright questionable, it's possible the Bears will go to Brandon Meriweather and Chris Conte or Craig Steltz to fill in as starters.
The negatives in this situation are Meriweather is still new to the defensive system and isn't a good coverage safety, Conte blew a coverage where the Saints Devery Henderson had a 79-yard touchdown, and Steltz is as slow as molasses.
Without Harris and Wright against the Saints, New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees slowly ate up the Bears' secondary, throwing for 270 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions for a 30-13 win.
How will Chicago's safeties do against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers?
If the Monsters of the Midway thought the Saints were tough, the Packers will be tougher.
Green Bay has arguably the league's top quarterback in Aaron Rodgers, who is coming into the contest with 620 passing yards, five touchdowns and no picks. Rodgers has a 126.4 passer rating and lethal weapons in Donald Driver, Greg Jennings and Jermichael Finley to exploit weaknesses in Chicago's pass defense.
The Packers' receivers create separation and can make tough catches. Jennings is one of the league's top receivers right now, and Driver almost has amassed 10,000 career receiving yards.
Chicago should be weary of Finley, a good offensive tight end who could run up the slot and take advantage of Conte or Steltz with his size.
Another challenge is Green Bay has a healthy offense, as the Saints did not have injured slot receiver Marques Colston.
With a weakness in the secondary, the front seven and the cornerbacks will have the added pressure to overcompensate to contain Rodgers. It's true Chicago's defense contained Rodgers with an 80.9 passer rating with two touchdowns and four picks last season, No.12 did not face a Chicago secondary potentially missing two starting safeties.
Unless the Bears' safeties get healthy in time or the backups can step up during game time, expect Rodgers and Co. to roll up some monster offensive stats.
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