Ran down the list of Pro Bowl quarterbacks and wide receivers that the Bears face in the first eight games of the season in the print edition this morning.
Pretty impressive list.
Sept. 13 at Green Bay Aaron Rodgers, Greg Jennings, Donald Driver (3)
Sept. 20 Pittsburgh Ben Roethlisberger (1), Santonio Holmes, Hines Ward (4)
Sept. 27 at Seattle Matt Hasselbeck (3), T.J. Houshmandzadeh (1)
Oct. 4 Detroit Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson
Oct. 18 at Atlanta Matt Ryan, Roddy White (1)
Oct. 25 at Cincinnati Carson Palmer (2), Chad Ochocinco (5), Laveranues Coles (1)
Nov. 1 Cleveland TBA, Braylon Edwards (1)
Nov. 7 Arizona Kurt Warner (4), Larry Fitzgerald (3), Anquan Boldin (3)
(Pro Bowl appearances in parentheses)
You have to figure Rodgers and Ryan both have all-star games ahead of them as brightly as they began their careers last season. I think you could put together a case for the Packers presenting the most challenging group, too. Cornerback Charles Tillman was asked Monday if the Packers' receivers are among the best in the league.
"Driver and who was the other one, Jennings, Greg Jennings,'' Tillman said. "They get a lot of YAC after the catch. I think they do a great job of catching the ball and going north and south. They don't dance around. They go north and south. They do a good job of turning up the field and getting as much yardage as they possibly can. So we've definitely got our hands full.''
Tillman, who is no lock to play in the game, pointed out that Rodgers bring a different dimension to the Green Bay offense than Favre did. He's less prone to errors and threw just 13 interceptions last season in 536 attempts. Only one quarterback, Peyton Manning, had more attempts (555) and less interceptions (12).
"Brett Favre was just a gunslinger,'' Tillman said. "I think Aaron Rodgers does a great job keeping down the INT's. Most of the time we played Brett, if he was going down, he would still kind of throw it. It was still a 50-50, 60-40 chance he would complete it/we might get an INT. But Aaron, I think he's a little more disciplined in just taking the loss of the down vs. just getting what he can get. He'll take that loss. So just trying to get some INT's it will be pretty hard against him.
"I give Aaron a lot of credit. I give him his props. He's worked hard to get to this stage of his career. Obviously, he doesn't want to be remembered as Brett Favre's backup. It's his team now.''