Familiarity makes another game against Aaron Rodgers even tougher for the Bears
LAKE FOREST – It might be an old storyline, but that doesn’t mean it’s not relevant.
Anytime one of the best quarterbacks in the game plays for your biggest rival, naturally finding a way to contain him becomes priority No. 1 for the defense. No matter how familiar the Bears have become with Aaron Rodgers through the years, the challenge never gets any easier.
Last year Rodgers set the Packers’ franchise record for completions in a Thursday night game against the Bears in October with 39. While his numbers weren’t as gaudy in the second match-up in December, the quarterback thwarted a potential Bears’ upset with a 60-yard pass to Jordy Nelson to set up a game-winning field goal at chilly Soldier Field.
Don’t think that’s not on Vic Fangio’s mind as he prepares to face the former MVP for the fifth time as the defensive coordinator for the Bears. Once again, he does so with just a handful of days to prepare for Rodgers since the teams meet up on Thursday Night Football at Lambeau Field.
Yet what makes the quarterback so effective is not just his talent but rather time. He’s been the Packers’ starter without competition since the 2008 season with head coach Mike McCarthy, meaning the problems with familiarity that some signal callers face in the league simply isn’t a problem.
“Rodgers has been there for so long he knows this offense inside and out,” said Fangio. “He just operates it very, very efficiently, seamlessly no matter who’s playing in there.”
Prince Amukamara would agree, especially when it comes to receiver Jordy Nelson. The ten-year NFL veteran has come back strong after missing the entire 2016 season with a torn ACL, catching 13 passes for 131 and three touchdowns in the first three games.
“It seems like him and Jordy are in each other’s minds,” said Amukamara, who faced Rodgers a few times as a member of the New York Giants. “They always know what they’re going to do, whether it’s back shoulder or don’t turn up field, just stop here. They always seem like they are on the same page.
On top of that, he’s got seven-year veteran receiver Randall Cobb as another familiar target. Add in talented youngsters in Devante Adams (4th years) and Geronimo Allison (2nd year) along with the addition of veteran tight end Martellus Bennett in 2017, and Rodgers has as much talent around him as ever in Green Bay.