On his conference call with Chicago-area reporters Wednesday afternoon, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers discussed his series of popular insurance commercials. Teaming up with well-known actors to mock old "Saturday Night Live" skits, Rodgers explained the enjoyable time he has poking fun at himself, doing thing such as pumping iron with Hans and Franz to chatting on an airplane with the Superfans.
Come Sunday, the Bears will see a different side of Rodgers. The character he will play that night has another kind of fun, which comes in the form of making plays and throwing touchdowns. It will be up to the Chicago defense to keep that smile off his face and limit his production, especially after Rodgers has already done damage against the Bears defense earlier this season.
"It was an interesting game," the Packers quarterback said of Green Bay's 38-17 win in Week 4 over Chicago. In that contest, Rodgers threw for 302 yards and four touchdowns, while neither team was forced to punt. "We were able to win based on the fact that we didn't turn it over. We took care of the football (well), our defense forced a couple turnovers."
One of the things Rodgers and the Packers did in that game was score quickly. The Bears held the ball for 36 minutes, but still came up well short on the scoreboard, as the time of possession did not indicate who controlled the game. All five of Green Bay's touchdown drives that game lasted less than four minutes, as Rodgers marched his team down the field quickly and found the end zone on a regular basis.
The Packers have lost the time of possession battle in seven of their eight games this season, as scoring quickly is a greater priority than controlling the clock. Green Bay ranks 26th in the NFL in time of possession, at just over 28 minutes a game; they rank much higher in scoring, at 27.8 points per game, sixth-highest in the league.
On defense, Green Bay knows they can improve from their performance against the Bears in late-September. Chicago ran for 235 net yards that day, the most the Packers have allowed in a game this season.
"Our No.1 priority from a fundamental standpoint is tackling – and that's the biggest thing, tackling," Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy said on Wednesday. "Really the trust of guys playing to your fit, beating a blocker and getting off blocks and making a tackle. We spent some time Monday going through the self–scout and obviously our tackling performance was addressed in detail."
Both Rodgers and McCarthy addressed the self-scouting the Packers did over the past week, the same process the Bears went through since their last game. Both teams were off last week with their bye, giving the players a chance to rest their bodies and coaches an opportunity to evaluate their own team with a critical eye. In the first game back, the teams should have some new wrinkles their opponents didn't see on film in the first eight games.
"Any time that you are playing a team coming off a bye, you have to expect some un-scouted looks," Rodgers said. "That's just the way teams do it. We make adjustments on our bye week, teams make adjustments on their bye week, so you always know when you are playing a team in this situation to expect some things you haven't seen in a while or maybe haven't seen this year."
Rodgers and the Packers already have left one game against the Bears this season with a smile on their faces. Come Sunday, the task will be on the Chicago defense to make sure it doesn't happen again.