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Backup Josh McCown gives Bears a chance against Packers

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Updated: December 2, 2013 12:52PM



The Bears acquired Brandon Marshall to maximize Jay Cutler’s untapped potential. But it’s situations like this where he might be even more valuable — against the Packers, at Lambeau Field, on Monday Night Football, with backup Josh McCown at quarterback.

He knows he can make McCown’s night a lot easier on multiple levels.

‘‘Yeah — stay out of his ear,’’ said Marshall, who has a penchant for reminding quarterbacks how open he is. ‘‘Josh doesn’t need anyone talking to him. He knows what he’s supposed to do. He’s a professional. He’s probably the best No. 2 you could have. He doesn’t have a ‘C’ on his chest, but he’s definitely one of our captains. So there’s no worry.’’

Marshall being at his best and on his best behavior will go a long way toward giving McCown a chance to pull off the upset Monday night — because he’s done it before. In 2010, Marshall helped turn the very McCown-like Chad Henne into a rare winner at Lambeau. Henne led the Miami Dolphins to a 23-20 overtime victory over Aaron Rodgers and the Packers, with Marshall contributing 10 receptions for 127 yards.

How rare is that? Only five visiting quarterbacks have won at Lambeau in 37 games since Dom Capers became the Packers’ defensive coordinator: One Hall of Famer (Brett Favre), three No. 1 picks (Eli Manning, Carson Palmer and Alex Smith) and one Chad Henne.

That’s the uphill climb McCown faces Monday night. Backup quarterbacks — ranging from Shaun Hill to Jon Kitna to Joe Webb and Drew Stanton — are 0-7 with a 59.3 passer rating (six touchdowns, 12 interceptions) against the Packers at Lambeau in the Capers era. That includes the Bears’ 35-21 loss with McCown in 2010.

But therein lies hope for the Bears. McCown’s performance was the best for a Bears quarterback at Lambeau in the Cutler era. In his three starts in Green Bay, Cutler has thrown two touchdowns and 10 interceptions with 15 sacks and ratings of 43.2, 43.5 and 28.2. In his lone start at Lambeau, McCown was
19 of 28 for 242 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions for a 76.8 rating — and he was not sacked.

With the weapons he has now in Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, tight end Martellus Bennett and running back Matt Forte, McCown has a chance to survive if he can avoid the disaster that usually envelops the Bears in Green Bay. In nine games against the Bears home and away, 16 different Packers from nine different positions have sacked Cutler 30 times.

‘‘First off, it’s hats off to Dom [Capers],’’ McCown said. ‘‘He’s a heck of a football coach and a man. You’ve got to give him credit.

‘‘Every staff is different. But I feel we’ve shown this year with our offensive game plans and our ability to move the ball that hopefully I feel like we’ll be prepared. I feel like we’ll be ready to put our best foot forward as good as we ever have here in the past. That obviously gives you a comfort level as a quarterback going into this game.’’

Email: mpotash@suntimes.com

Twitter: @MarkPotash



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