Monster’s Mash: Mitch and the rivalry
CHICAGO – The importance of a professional sports rivalry sometimes can be debated.
Fans like to get caught up in games against bitter foes and sometimes the teams themselves buy into the rhetoric. Others say that the game’s against longtime opponents are just one step towards a bigger goal and no more.
The former tends to be the one that’s prominent in Chicago when discussing the rivalry for the Bears against the Packers. Certainly the fans get behind it, especially with Green Bay’s success proving problematic during a rough stretch in in the team’s history.
It’s one that Mitchell Trubisky has only been exposed to for a matter of months instead of years. He was on the sidelines for the first game against the Packers at Lambeau Field in Week 4, now he’ll be on the field for the Week 10 match-up against Green Bay at Soldier Field on Sunday.
It marks another first for Trubisky, becoming one of a group of quarterbacks to face the Packers in a revolving door at the position for the franchise. Few have been able to beat Green Bay recently, and the rookie is getting an idea of what it would mean for him to do so.
“I’m starting to figure it out. It’s a pretty big deal,” said Trubisky when asked if he understood the depth of the rivalry. “But no matter who our opponent is, we’re trying to be 1-0 each week. I know this is a big rivalry for the fans and the City of Chicago.
“So we’re just going to go out and give everything we’ve out.”
ANOTHER OFFENSIVE OPTION?
While Trubisky doesn’t want to let the fans down, he is a bit short on those to help him on offense.
Worries about his long-term help have trumped his impact on the field the past two weeks, but losing Zach Miller adds to the list of offensive weapons out for the rest of the year.
Perhaps he’ll finally add one this week as Dontrelle Inman gets ready to make his Bears debut after being acquired from the Chargers in late October. He didn’t play against the Saints before the bye week.
Inman was lost in the shuffle in Los Angeles in 2017 after recording a career-high 58 catches for 810 yards and four touchdowns the year before.
Which receiver will show up won’t be known until Sunday when Inman likely makes his Bears’ debut. But goal No. 1 for Inman is to make sure he pumps up the spirits of his rookie quarterback.
“Be in the right spots. Catch everything. Even if it’s a bad ball, still catch it,” said Inman. “That gives him a ton of confidence. If he incompletes a ball he’s like ‘Ah, almost.’ If he throws a bad pass but it’s still complete, he’ll think ‘Ah, OK. I’ve still got it.'”
Even the most competitive of football players wouldn’t be complaining with the situation the Bears have this weekend.
Instead of facing Aaron Rodgers, who has made a career of succeeding against the Bears, Brett Hundley is taking the snaps under center as the starter sits out with a broken collarbone.
Since he’s been out, the Packers haven’t won a game. Meanwhile the Bears’ defense has improved steadily since their loss in Week 4 at Lambeau Field.
So is there any disappointment for the Bears not getting a shot to face one of the best quarterbacks at their best?
“As long as you play quarterback, I’m trying to get you,” said linebacker Leonard Floyd when asked if he missed having the chance to play against one of the NFL’s best. “It don’t really matter who the person is.”
“Nah. It could be a third-string quarterback,” said Floyd. “I’d feel the same way about sacking him.”
STAT OF THE WEEK: 8
The number of turnovers forced by the Bears over their last three games. In 16 contests in 2016, the Bears had just 11 total turnovers.