The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Sports

November 3, 2013

Hurting Bears take on hurting Packers

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Facing Aaron Rodgers and the streaking Packers on the road without your starting quarterback and top defender just seems downright unfair.

That’s exactly 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.

“It’s tough 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.

Coach Marc 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 month.

Things to watch ahead of the 187th meeting in the NFL’s oldest rivalry:

OVERCOMING 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.

Coach Mike 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).

“I look 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 season.”

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