Bears

Ex-Packer sees 'similarities' between Rodgers, Bridgewater

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Ex-Packer sees 'similarities' between Rodgers, Bridgewater

If Charles Johnson is correct, this is not good news for the Bears.

Johnson, drafted by the Green Bay Packers in 2013, worked with and closely observed quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

Now with the Minnesota Vikings, for whom he emerged as a starter last season and finished with 31 catches and three touchdowns, Johnson is seeing striking similarities between scourge-of-the-Bears Rodgers and emerging Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.

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“When I was with Green Bay and first went to practice and seen how Aaron Rodgers orchestrated the offense, it wowed me and amazed me,” Johnson said by way of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. “He’s one of the great quarterbacks in this league. I know Teddy looks up to him as another player to watch, and I can see Teddy growing in that aspect.

“I can see him having the same type of similarities that Aaron Rodgers demands when he gets to the huddle.”

Johnson may be an evaluator of limited perspectives. The Bears should hope not.

[NBC SPORTS SHOP: Gear up, Bears fans!]

But after opening the year behind Matt Cassel, Bridgewater started the final 12 games and the Vikings finished 5-4 over their final nine, including a season-ending win over the Bears. Bridgewater finished with a passer rating of 85.2 – within range of Jay Cutler (88.6) and Matthew Stafford (85.7).

The Vikings, who traded for speed receiver Mike Wallace this offseason, have running back Adrian Peterson returning from suspension and thought enough of Johnson to pass on Louisville wideout DeVante Parker (No. 14 to Miami) at No. 11.

Minnesota instead took cornerback Trae Waynes, among the seven players the Bears had on their list of options worthy of the No. 7 pick.

Kyle Long knows he messed up, and is ready to do what it takes to put the fighting incidents behind him

Kyle Long knows he messed up, and is ready to do what it takes to put the fighting incidents behind him

Kyle Long understands the position he’s put himself in. 

It wasn’t a week to remember for the Bears’ starting guard, who got into two separate fights over the span of three practices. Despite the relatively small likelihood he would have played, as punishment, Long was subsequently left off the team flight to New York for their preseason game against the Giants. 

“Obviously, what I did was absolutely unacceptable,” Long said after Tuesday’s practice. “As a human being, as a teammate, without question what I did was uncalled for. It was so far over the line that it was on me to handle that internally, and speak to the people that I needed to speak to.” 

Everyone around Halas Hall chalked up Long’s first scuffle with Akiem Hicks as nothing more than training camp frustrations. “Let’s clarify this: Everybody has a temper,’’ Hicks said. ‘‘Everybody gets upset. If somebody spills their coffee, you’re gonna get upset.

It was the second fight — one that saw Long remove undrafted rookie defensive end Jalen Dalton’s helmet, hit him with it, and then toss said helmet off the field — that forced the Bears’ hand. 

“It reflected poorly on the organization, the city, and the offensive line room,” he said. “That was never my intention. Moving forward, I intend to make living amends.”

Long wouldn’t go into much depth about the reason behind either fight, only mentioning that he “got a little frustrated, and it boiled over.” Talking with media after practice, he stressed the importance of publicly clearing the air before he, or the team, could move forward. 

“I think it's important and I know that the fans have a very close eye or touch on the pulse of the team of what's going on,” he said. “If I’m a fan, the last thing I want to hear about is a fight at practice. It's a distraction from what we're trying to do, which is go out and get ready for the Packers eventually and go put together some wins in the football season.” 

Before the whistle, Long’s had one of the best camps of a career that’s now going on seven seasons. The three-time Pro Bowler said that he hasn’t been this healthy since his rookie year, and that he’d “put this camp up there with any of them [he’d] be apart of.” With the air cleared and all parties on the same page, both Long and the Bears consider the fights a closed case. 

“We’re past it,” Matt Nagy added. “Now it’s not about talking anymore. For us, it’s about everybody showing what we can do. It’s showing by your actions, whether that’s being a good football player or being a good person. 

“I always tell my kids, ‘Don’t talk about it; be about it.’ So it’s time to start being about it.”

Bears now tied for best odds to reach Super Bowl from NFC

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USA TODAY

Bears now tied for best odds to reach Super Bowl from NFC

The Bears haven’t shown what their 2019 starters can do yet this preseason, but the oddsmakers in Las Vegas seem to be on board with Matt Nagy’s plans for the upcoming season.

The money is coming in on Chicago to win the Super Bowl, and the most popular sportsbooks shifted the odds for the Bears to win the conference.

They’re now tied for the best chances to reach the Super Bowl from the NFC at both MGM and Westgate, according to CBS Sports.

Both books see the Bears and Saints as favorites at 5/1 odds, while Westgate views the Rams and Eagles as equally likely.

MGM is much higher on the Packers’ chances, and both have the Vikings in the top seven.

The path to a Super Bowl berth is never easy, and Chicago will have as difficult a path as any team with two other contenders in the division.

Every single team on the odds list appears on the Bears 2019 regular-season schedule.