Bears safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is looking forward to returning to Green Bay Sunday to face his former team at Lambeau Field.
"It means a lot, just to go back and be able to play against the guys that I've been with for the past five years and compete against your friends," Clinton-Dix said. "It makes the game a little more fun and more competitive."
Clinton-Dix was selected by the Packers with the 21st pick in the first round of the 2014 draft. He spent four-and-a-half seasons in Green Bay before being traded to the Redskins last Oct. 30. The Alabama product's best campaign came in 2016 when he was voted to the Pro Bowl after registering a career-high five interceptions.
Clinton-Dix signed with the Bears in March and has started all 13 games so far this season, registering 66 tackles, two interceptions and five pass breakups. Both of his picks came in a Week 3 win over the Redskins, one of his former teams. Could he possibly repeat that feat against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers on Sunday?
"If A-Rod decides to bless me and throw me the ball twice, I'll be happy as hell," Clinton-Dix said. "But unfortunately A-Rod doesn't work that way. He's the best quarterback in the game. We've just got to go out there and execute and eliminate the big plays."
Clinton-Dix holds no ill will toward the Packers for trading him and feels honored to have played for such historic franchises.
"Green Bay and Chicago are two of the prestigious organizations in this business, top quality places to play," Clinton-Dix. "I've been blessed to be able to play in these organizations."
Starting point: The Bears offense has shown vast improvement over the last three games after struggling most of the season. Asked to pinpoint a moment he could sense the unit was beginning to click, coach Matt Nagy identified Mitchell Trubisky's 18-yard touchdown pass to tight end Ben Braunecker Nov. 10 in a 20-13 win over the Lions at Soldier Field.
"I think the first time that you really started feeling it is probably that touchdown pass to Ben Braunecker on the corner route against Detroit," Nagy said. "We felt it a little bit in the Chargers game [two weeks earlier]; we just weren't effective in the red zone. But because we won the game [over the Lions], it magnifies it a little bit more.
"And then the throw [Trubisky] made to Taylor Gabriel for a touchdown that same game. Offensively, we just kind of started putting things together and I think over time we've just felt like it's just started to click. I don't know if it's specifically one play or not, but that's probably my best guess."
No worries: With the high temperature expected to be around 19 degrees Sunday in Green Bay, Bears kicker Eddy Pineiro will play in the coldest game of his young career. But special-teams coordinator Chris Tabor isn't concerned.
"We really don't talk about it to be honest with you," Tabor said. "The weather is the weather. We have zero control over it. Obviously, [the ball] won't travel as far, but he just has to go up and hit his football. I mean we went outside and kicked [Wednesday]. That was an awful cold day and he did just fine. So that was good."
Pineiro has converted 16-of-21 field-goal attempts this season, a 76.2 percent success rate. He made 9-of-10 tries in the first six games, missed 4-of-7 including three straight during the next four contests, and has bounced back by making 4-of-4 in the last three games.
"I'm really proud of how he's doing, I really am," Tabor said. "At the beginning of the year I think some people maybe were surprised by how well he was doing, and then hit a little bit of a lull there and that became the story again, and he shot right out of that.
"He's kicking the ball well. He has great confidence. This will be another challenge for him, kicking in the cold weather. I think he's going to do great, I really do. I have no worries about him. I think he's an awfully good football player."
The Bears braved the cold weather Thursday at Halas Hall for practice as they prepare to play the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.