Conference Call: Rodgers, McCarthy

What did Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and coach Mike McCarthy have to say Thursday to the Chicago Bears media during their conference calls at Halas Hall? JC was there and has the scoop.

Rodgers still getting questions about Favre
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers has started 34 consecutive games since taking over as the starter in Green Bay at the outset of the 2008 campaign, and many experts believe him to be every bit as good as the "big three" QBs in today's NFL: Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees.

But the fact that he was forced to follow in the footsteps of Packers great Brett Favre has been the source of some contention during Rodgers' rise to elite status in this league, especially since it was widely reported that Favre didn't help Rodgers along in any way when the two of them were in Green Bay together, plus the "mentor" kept the "protégé" constantly twisting in the wind with his annual threats to retire.

Nevertheless, on conference call Thursday with the Bears media at Halas Hall, one obviously-oblivious reporter had the nerve to ask the following question six minutes and 28 seconds into what turned out to be a suddently-shortened eight-minute and 14-second interview: "How much did having a player like Brett Favre as a mentor help make you the player you are today?

After a long pause – probably because he was shaking his head in total disgust and thinking to himself, You have got to be @#$&ing kidding me – Rodgers eventually responded, "Say again?"

With Rodgers no doubt hoping the question would simply go away so he didn't have to answer it in politically-correct fashion for the millionth time, the reporter piped up yet again: "How much did having someone like Brett Favre as a mentor help turn you into the player you are today?"

"Well," Rodgers begun, following another lengthy dose of dead air, "I think it was good to be able to watch someone who played at a very high level for a number of years, and just look for ways to pick up things in the offense and the footwork and stuff like that every day, and trying to incorporate them into my own game."

For the record, Favre has now retired at least three times from three different teams since Rodgers was elevated to No. 1 in Green Bay, and he has already done twice what no Bears passer has ever done dating back to 1920 (throw for 4,000 yards in a single season), yet the shadow cast by Favre – as well as the stupidity of the average member of the media – seems to know no bounds.

McCarthy knows Bulaga will see Peppers
Because veteran left tackle Chad Clifton isn't expected to suit up Monday at Soldier Field due to an injured knee, look for first-round choice and Woodstock, Illinois, native Bryan Bulaga to get his first career start for the Packers against the rival Bears.


Mike McCarthy
Morry Gash/AP

He couldn't draw a tougher assignment, as Chicago lists five-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro Julius Peppers as its starter at right defensive end.

Packers coach Mike McCarthy believes Peppers to be an elite pass rusher in the NFL, so he gives the Midway Monsters a presence up front that they haven't had in quite some time.

"Julius Peppers is a premier defensive player," said McCarthy, "and I think he's a very good fit for their scheme. They're doing a good job of moving him to the left and the right side, or open and closed side, however you view it. But I think he definitely gives them another Pro Bowl-type player on that defense."

While Peppers has indeed done a bit of flip-flopping back and forth between right and left end, common sense suggests the Bears will keep their prized free-agent addition on the right side in Week 3, as that way he'll be matched up with Bulaga more often than not.

"He plays over there a lot already," McCarthy said, "so it would not surprise me if they left Julius on Brian. I would not be surprised by that."

Chicago is starting to learn that Peppers is much more than a sack artist, as the Bears are currently No. 1 in the league defending the run, surrendering just 28.0 yards per game – he's helping free up linebackers Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs to make tackles without having to shed blockers first.


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John Crist is the Publisher of BearReport.com, a Heisman Trophy voter and a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.


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