As discussed, there’s been a lot of nonsense flying between the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears. Brandon Marshall said he “really disliked the team and the players.” Jermichael Finley said the Bears are better without “slow” Brian Urlacher in the lineup. Lance Briggs called Finley an “idiot.”
When receiver Greg Jennings brought up the war of the words unprompted in an interview, he responded in the best and most mature way possible – laughing the whole thing off.
“I think [Marshall’s] smart for saying whatever he said. So I’m going to be smart, too: man, I wish the Bears would play us one-on-one and man-to-man,” Jennings said, unable to keep a straight face. “That reverse psychology, I think it’s pretty impressive. So yeah, man, the Bears are always playing Cover-2. I think they’re scared not to play Cover-2,” he continued, before breaking into laughter again.
Jennings was having fun with the whole situation and dismissing what many people are trying to make a big deal. The whole back-and-forth is fun for the Packers and Bears fans, who hate each other, but really doesn’t have any bearing on the game at all.
“What receiver doesn’t want you to play man-to-man coverage the entire game?” Jennings pointed out. Even if a defensive back could cover a receiver man-to-man, he said, “why do it when you don’t have to? Hey, that’s why we’re a team. We help one another.”
Joking aside, Jennings gave glimpse to the amount of respect that the Packers have for the Bears. Multiple times he referenced cornerback Charles Tillman’s skill at forcing turnovers – “Tillman, leave us alone, please,” Jennings said with a smile. With the exception of Finley, none of the Packers players or coaches are silly enough to take the bait. They stick to their boring interview script: division games are tough, the Bears are a great team, have to win individual matchups, it’s all about execution, et cetera.
Sure those interviews aren’t terribly exciting, but they’re also true. Most players have a healthy respect for their opponents – they know them from college, or previous teams, or off-field organizations. Most of the players are professionals, who see Sunday’s game as a chance to clinch the division title and nothing more.
If players like Marshall and Finley need to use silly insults in order to pump themselves up for the game, so be it. But when Sunday comes around at Soldier Field, no one is going care about all the talk that was done in the preceding week – the only thing that matters is how the players perform on the field.