Packers coach says Bears improving on both sides of the ball

Packers coach Mike McCarthy sees improvement in the Chicago Bears’ offense since the teams met six weeks ago in Green Bay.

“They’re doing a really good job of running the football and the run-action and the QB movement game,” McCarthy said. “They’ve done an excellent job schematically tying it all together. That’s definitely something that jumps off the tape.”

McCarthy has been impressed with what he’s seen from rookie quarterback Mitch Trubisky, who did not play in the first meeting.

“He’s very smart with his decisions,” the Packers’ coach said. “He can make throws in the pocket, he can make throws out of the pocket. It’s clearly a better offense today than the one we saw going into the first game.

“They’re taking care of the football and they’re playing old-school, hard, John Fox football.”

McCarthy’s defense has struggled for most of the season, especially in rushing the passer, a former strength. The Packers are 27th in sack percentage; the Bears are No. 7.

“They’re playing excellent on defense,” McCarthy said, “and they’re doing a really good job running it and taking care of that ball, and time of possession is something that hasn’t been where it needs to be for us clearly the last two weeks. It’s a focal point for us.”

Giving it away:

The Bears were blown out by the Packers 35-14 in a Thursday night game in Week 4 at Lambeau Field, even though they outgained Green Bay 308-260.

“They took the ball away from us four times,” coach John Fox said. “I think that was a critical reason why that was a lopsided score.”

Bears quarterback Mike Glennon threw 2 interceptions and was charged with 2 fumbles, although a bad snap by Cody Whitehair was responsible for one of them. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers threw 4 touchdown passes.

Neither will start this time. Rodgers is on injured reserve with a fractured collarbone, and inexperienced Brett Hundley has stepped in. Glennon lost the starting job to Mitch Trubisky after that first meeting.

Early retirement:

The Packers have cut former Bears tight end Martellus Bennett with a “failure to disclose a medical condition” designation.

Because he was cut with that designation, the Packers could be looking to recoup a prorated portion of Bennett’s $6.3 million signing bonus, which would be $4.2 million. Bennett signed a three-year $21 million contract in the off-season but said before the Packers’ bye week at the end of October that he would probably retire after this season.

Bennett did not play in the Packers’ Monday night loss to the Lions because of a shoulder injury. He has played for five NFL teams in 10 years, including a productive three years with the Bears (2013-15). In 2014, Bennett had his best season, catching 90 passes for 916 yards and 6 touchdowns and was voted to his only Pro Bowl.

Injury report:

Although they’re coming off a bye, the Bears had six players who did not practice Wednesday.

Cornerbacks Bryce Callahan (knee) and Sherrick McManis (hamstring), guard Tom Compton (ankle), defensive lineman Roy Robertson-Harris (hamstring), linebacker Danny Trevathan (calf) and tight end (Dion Sims (illness) did not participate.

Guard Kyle Long (finger) and wide receiver Markus Wheaton (groin) were limited. Offensive linemen Hroniss Grasu (hand) and Cody Whitehair (elbow) and linebacker John Timu (knee/ankle) had full practices.

For the Packers, Morgan Burnett (groin) and offensive tackle Bryan Bulaga (knee) did not practice and have already been ruled out. Bulaga, a (Woodstock) Marian Central Catholic graduate, is out for the season after suffering a torn ACL in his right knee against the Detroit Lions Monday night.

By the numbers:

Coach John Fox is 10-5 after bye weeks but 0-2 with the Bears. Fox is 2-6 against Packers coach Mike McCarthy. … Jordan Howard’s 102-yard performance in the 20-12 loss to the Saints in Week 8 was the 10th 100-yard rushing game of his brief career, making him the fastest to achieve that in Bears history. The 2016 fifth-round pick (150th overall) is fifth in the NFL with 662 rushing yards. …

The Bears’ defense has allowed just 2 touchdowns in the past 13 quarters. … Defensive lineman Akiem Hicks has at least 1 sack in four straight games and is tied for fifth in the NFC with 7 sacks.

• Follow Bob’s Bears reports on Twitter @BobLeGere.

Source: Sports

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