Behind Enemy Lines: Bears/Packers, Part IV

In Part IV of an exclusive four-part series,'s John Crist and's Todd Korth finish their back-and-forth breakdown with five final questions from John to Todd. Can A.J. Hawk win Defensive Rookie of the Year, is Charles Woodson an elite corner again, and who is Aaron Kampman? These Q&As and more inside.

John Crist, Editor in Chief, Along with Mark Anderson of the Bears, A.J. Hawk will be on the short list of possible NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year candidates. Tell me if you think Hawk deserves to win the award, and if so, what has he done to separate himself from Anderson and Detroit's Ernie Sims?

Todd Korth, Managing Editor, Hawk has lived up to his billing after the Packers selected him fifth overall in last April's NFL draft. He leads the team in tackles with 115, has 3.5 sacks and an interception. More importantly, he has gotten much better at covering tight ends and running backs out of the backfield since Week 1 when Desmond Clark and others ran free around the linebackers and secondary.

JC: Charles Woodson has been labeled one of the more overrated players in football the last few seasons, but he seems to have played pretty well as a first-year Packer. Do those seven interceptions prove he is still a top corner in this league, or are his best years behind him already?

TK: Woodson started the year slow, but he has come on strong, played through a nagging shoulder injury and has shown that he is still a top cornerback in the NFL. His seven interceptions is a career high, and he can thank Al Harris, who covers the opponents' top receiver each week. Woodson and Harris also are a reason why Aaron Kampman has a career-high 15.5 sacks this season. A lot of Kampman's sacks are because of the drum-tight coverage by Woodson and Harris.

JC: Not a lot of casual NFL fans around the country know the name Aaron Kampman, but he just got elected to his first Pro Bowl. Those 15.5 sacks are pretty impressive, but what has he done to get better this year and become a more well-rounded player than Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila?

TK: Kampman focused on losing some weight over the offseason, and that has made a big difference. He played in the low 280-pound range in recent seasons. He said last week that he weighs in the 260-range. With less weight, Kampman has been able to use his newfound speed along with excellent technique and mechanics to consistently sack opposing quarterbacks.

JC: Tell me more about Green Bay's special teams. I know that Woodson and Vernand Morency have been average at best returning punts and kickoffs, respectively, but what about the coverage teams and specialists? Has Dave Rayner done anything to secure his job?

TK: Rayner kicked his first game-winning field goal with less than two minutes remaining last Thursday to lift the Packers past the Vikings. He is in his first season as the main kicker and second season overall. Green Bay has struggled covering kickoffs and punt returns at times this season. The Packers, no doubt, will do their best to limit Devin Hester, who returned a punt 84 yards for a touchdown against them in Week 1. Woodson has been reliable at returning punts but far from spectacular. Still, McCarthy probably sleeps better at night knowing that the chance of Woodson dropping a punt or fumbling it away on a return are slim. Morency has been OK at returning kickoffs, but that's about it. The Packers drafted Cory Rodgers from TCU in the fourth round last April to return punts and kickoffs, but Rodgers proved in training camp that he can't field the ball consistently and was cut. The Packers also drafted cornerback Will Blackmon to compete with Rodgers in camp, but Rodgers has been bothered by a broken bone in his foot and missed most of this season. He is currently on injured reserve.

JC: There are rumors floating around that the Bears will give this game away in order to help the Packers make the playoffs because they pose no real threat. But if Green Bay does somehow make the NFC tournament, do they have any chance of pulling an upset or two?

TK: Who knows? In the crazy NFC, anything can happen. Hey, Pittsburgh was the sixth seed last year in the AFC and ran the table. The Packers are nowhere near as good as the Steelers were last year. If the Packers get past the Bears, I would expect them to lose to whomever they play in the first round – probably Philadelphia or Dallas. The Packers have yet to beat a team this season with a winning record.

The Bears will host the Packers on NBC's Sunday Night Football at Soldier Field.

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