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Nerves rise in Bears Nation after Packers beat Vikes

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Nerves rise in Bears Nation after Packers beat Vikes

Sunday, Nov. 21, 2010
2:36 p.m.

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com

Looking at the Green Bay-Minnesota game (well, it was supposed to be one):

Not that the Bears and Bear fans wanted a booster shot for any NFC North nervousness but .

FOX Sports graphic showing the exact same win-loss records (23-18) for Aaron Rodgers and Brett Favre through their respective first 41 games should have sent a jolt through Bears Nation. The real meat of the graphic was in the far better TD-INT ratio that Rodgers has to this career point vs. Favre. Because Rodgers is anything but a game-manager and he still is not giving the ball away to the degree that Favre did, and does.

James Jones Nice throw point to Rodgers after a deft touch pass along the deep right sideline was a statement. And Rodgers just needed a quick finger gesture and Greg Jennings broke his route in the end zone for a TD pass from Rodgers. Then Jones connection with Rodgers for the TD before halftime just was one more illustration of the growing connection that quarterback and receiver corps.

Throw in Jennings second TD connection with Rodgers in the third quarter and the Vikings were road kill. Then Rodgers drops another into Jennings lap to push things to 31-3.

Jay Cutler may eventually have that with Devin Hester, Johnny Knox, Earl Bennett and others. Not yet.

Faulting Favre
Brett Favres choppiness on the sidelines during this game says again how bad a fit he has become is his dotage. The Vikings turnover ratio reached a minus-13 with a poorly thrown slant throw that was intercepted near the end of the first half. It was Favres fault and his mesh with his receivers appears to be only slightly better than with his coaches.

At some point, when it starts looking like everybody else is the problem, you realize that theres one constant in all these issues: No. 4.

Much has been made about reports of how players dislike coach Brad Childress, but those seriously miss the point. It is never difficult to find the five (three, six, pick a number) players who dislike the head coach or manager; you want three in the Bears locker room, theyre there.

The real issue in Minnesota appears to be how divisive Favre has been

John Randle, Overachiever? No such thing

Fun to see John Randle receive his Hall of Fame ring Sunday. The Minnesota defensive tackle was in the Class of 2010 and was one of the great Bears tormentors of the 1990s as well as one of the funnier players to line up against the local 11.

He was also 6-1, 270 pounds and an undrafted free agent that no one thought was worth much of a look. But Randle is worth a very long look for more than just his sack total and domination of so many games.

Its easy to label people like Randle as overachievers because they accomplished so much more than expected. I look at Randles instead as inspiration he achieved everything he was capable of. The ones who decided how good Randle should be, ooops.

Matt Toeaina and I talked a little about the notion of overachiever this past week and he agreed that you cant over achieve (unless youre substance-aided or such). The Bears defensive tackle, himself undrafted and pretty much uncelebrated before winning Tommie Harris starting job this year, had an amusing self-assessment:

I dont look at what Im doing as over-achieving, Toeaina said, laughing. I think what I did before this was maybe me under achieving.

Couldnt have said it better.

John "Moon" Mullin is CSNChicago.com's Bears Insider, and appears regularly on Bears Postgame Live and Chicago Tribune Live. Follow Moon on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bears information.

Even in a controlled gameplan, Mitchell Trubisky's playmaking ability shines through

Even in a controlled gameplan, Mitchell Trubisky's playmaking ability shines through

While the Bears praised Mitchell Trubisky’s operation of a controlled gameplan in his second NFL start, they’re not losing sight of the special kind of athleticism and playmaking ability the rookie quarterback possesses. Two plays in particular stand out — plays that led to anywhere from a five-to-10 point swing in the game. 

Trubisky’s 18-yard third down completion to Kendall Wright in overtime seems to looks better every time you watch it on film. Trubisky was pressured by two Baltimore Ravens pass rushers, but managed to wriggle free and slide to his right, only to find linebacker C.J. Mosley waiting in front of him. The blend of athleticism and aggressiveness Trubisky displayed in firing high over the middle toward Wright — who made a specular play of his own — is one of the many reasons why the Bears are so excited about him. 

“To be able to throw that ball with both hands in the air and changing your arm angle – that’s why you draft a kid second,” offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains said. “Because of things like that.”

But there was another instinctual, athletic play Trubisky made that was just as impressive, and just as important. Cody Whitehair’s snapping issues cropped up at the Bears’ 13-yard line, with the center sailing a snap over Trubisky’s head and toward the end zone. 

If Baltimore recovered that ball, it would’ve tied the game; had Trubisky simply fell on the ball, it very well could’ve led to a safety that would’ve brought the Ravens within five points about a minute after the Bears took a 17-3 lead. Instead, Trubisky picked up the ball, scrambled to his right and threw the ball away — one of six throwaways he had on Sunday. 

“(That) was a critical, critical play at that time,” Loggains said. 

This isn't to say that two plays — only one of which gained yards — are enough to say the Bears' offense is in a good place. It's still a group that necessitates a controlled gameplan, similar to the one they used with Mike Glennon. But the difference: Trubisky can make plays. 

Briefly, on Whitehair

Since we’re on the subject of another poor snap by Whitehair, here’s what Loggains had to say on that topic: 

“He’s gotten better. We still had one too many. The thing and point I want to make with Cody Whitehair is, obviously wants to talk about the snap, but you’re talking about two weeks in a row of completely dominating. We’re an outside zone team that ran 25 snaps of inside zone because of what they were playing. It changed our game plan and Cody’s a big part of that. The last two weeks we’ve been able to move those guys inside. He’s a really good football player. 

“We’re going to battle through these snap issues. We’re cutting them down. He’s more accurate. He did have the one that obviously is unacceptable and no one owns that more than Cody Whitehair does. But he is a really good football player and let’s not lose sight of the 79 snaps where he really helped the team run the football and you can’t do that without a Cody Whitehair at center.”

Loggains has a point here — if Whitehair were struggling in the run game, against the defensive looks the Ravens were showing, the Bears wouldn’t have been able to run the ball 50 times with the kind of success they had. But the poor snaps nonetheless are ugly and have to be eliminated — imagine the uproar over them if Trubisky didn’t make that play in Baltimore. The Bears' offense won't always be good enough to overcome those kind of self-inflicted mistakes. 

Loggains and coach John Fox have praised Whitehair’s attention to the problem, and as long as Hroniss Grasu is still limited with a hand injury, Whitehair will have some time to work through these issues. One final thought: Who would’ve expected, back in May, that Whitehair would have the problems with snaps, and not Trubisky? 

SportsTalk Live Podcast: What are Bears' chances against Panthers?

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SportsTalk Live Podcast: What are Bears' chances against Panthers?

On the latest SportsTalk Live Podcast, David Haugh (Chicago Tribune), Laurence Holmes (670 The Score) and Phil Rogers (MLB.com) join Kap on the panel.

The crew discusses Bobby Portis’ suspension, Edzo’s return to the booth and the Bears' chances against the Panthers. 

Listen to the full SportsTalk Live Podcast right here: