Bay Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson, left, celebrates his
touchdown with wide receiver Myles White (19) in the first
half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, in
GREEN BAY —
Facing Aaron Rodgers and the streaking Packers on the road without
your starting quarterback and top defender just seems downright
the predicament facing the Chicago Bears on Monday night at
Lambeau Field. Except that Green Bay also is hurting.
A torn groin
muscle for Jay Cutler, and small fracture in the left shoulder for
Pro Bowl linebacker Lance Briggs have the Bears undermanned.
watching. It's always the hardest part, not being able to do your
job with the rest of the guys," Cutler said. "So I've
just got to help Josh as best I can."
That would be
Josh McCown, who's taking over for Cutler against the Packers
(5-2). The league's second-highest scoring offense (30.4 points
per game) is in the hands of a career backup who last started a
game on Jan. 1, 2012 in a 17-13 win over the Vikings.
Trestman was saying it was "highly unlikely" Cutler
would play after he was hurt in a 45-41 loss to the Redskins on
Oct. 20, and the Bears (4-3) have said he could miss at least a
Bears running back Matt Forte celebrates his touchdown
during the first half of a NFL football game against the
Washington Redskins in Landover, Md., Sunday, Oct. 20, 2013.
Five things to
watch ahead of the 187th meeting in the NFL's oldest rivalry:
ADVERSITY: Not that the Packers would necessarily sympathize with
their NFC North nemesis, but they know what it's like to play
shorthanded and still succeed.
McCarthy's club has been without receivers Randall Cobb (leg) and
James Jones (knee), and tight end Jermichael Finley (neck), and
outstanding linebacker Clay Matthews. Green Bay has also been
without two other starting linebackers in Nick Perry (foot) and
Brad Jones (hamstring).
forward to the time when we get all of our troops together at the
same time. I think what we're going through now is these guys are
gaining experience," defensive coordinator Dom Capers said.
"We'll be able to use that experience over the second half of
The Packers have vaulted into the NFC North lead with a four-game
Minus three key
receiving targets, Rodgers still put on a patient passing clinic
in last week's 44-31 win over the Vikings, going 24 for 29 and 285
yards with a couple of touchdowns to Jordy Nelson.
Making just as
big a difference is the Packers' revived running game, which has
compiled at least 139 yards five of the last six weeks.
more on the plate of our quarterback and he's handled it very
well. I always worry about putting too much on the quarterback's
plate because at the end of the day he's not paid to make run
adjustments," McCarthy said. "He's paid to throw
Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) pumps his fist as
he walks off the field after the Packers defeated Minnesota
Vikings 44-31in an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013,
touchdowns to four interceptions, and 2,191 yards passing on a 67
percent completion rate this season for Rodgers. Not bad at all.
NEXT QB UP: On
the other side is McCown, drafted in 2002. Trestman likes his
experience, and says that consistency is the focus against Green
"We think we
can do that with Josh. We think we've got the players to do
it," Trestman said. "And we've got to do a better job on
third down, so we can keep the clock working in our favor."
Chicago is 21st
in third-down offense, converting at a 36 percent clip. It's even
worse on defense, where the Bears are 28th with a 44 percent
FORTE BEARS: All
isn't lost with the Bears, who still have Brandon Marshall and the
emerging Alshon Jeffery at receiver, and Martellus Bennett as a
target at tight end.
Or maybe they
turn to running back Matt Forte more to help control the clock,
though Forte says he doesn't expect an increased workload.
all. Everybody on offense has a load on their shoulders to
continue to try to get better because we haven't played to our
ability, and we've lost a couple games," he said.
Stopping the run (83.6 yards) is the strength of the Packers'
defense. But Capers' crew is generating a pass rush, too, even
down Matthews and Perry.
Green Bay got
three sacks last week against the Vikings, its fifth straight game
with at least that many. The defense has 20 sacks total during