Sweep talk spices up duel with Packers
By Neil Hayes and Sean Jensen email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
As if having a chance to prevent the rival Green Bay Packers from reaching the playoffs weren’t incentive enough, the Bears have another goal heading into Sunday’s regular-season finale at Lambeau Field.
With a win, the Bears would finish 6-0 against NFC North opponents. No team has been perfect in the Central/North division since the Bears last were in 1987.
“It would be awesome,” linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa said. “Green Bay has always been a rival and our goal is to sweep the division, so this one would be a huge one to be able to get that.”
Quarterback Jay Cutler said the primary focus is continuing to improve as a team while sweeping the division is a lesser source of motivation.
“That’s definitely in the back of our mind,” Cutler said “We don’t really want to take a step back as a team or as an offense the way we have played the last couple games. We’re kind of putting things together. We want to keep that going.”
Toys for blocks
Because he couldn’t do it alone, Bears receiver Devin Hester thanked blockers who helped him break the kick-return touchdown record by buying them remote-controlled cars, helicopters and airplanes.
“The big ones,” Hester said, noting he purchased 14 or 15 in all.
It’s been a nice run for Hester. In addition to breaking the record, he was named to his third Pro Bowl team.
“It’s an honor and pleasure to be selected to the Pro Bowl,” Hester said. “I thank God first, all the way down to my teammates. It’s a great opportunity, to put the return game back on the map. It’s something you’ve all been looking forward to for about two or three years now.
“We’re finally getting it going. And the credit goes out to the coaches, as well.”
Hester the best
Mike McCarthy paid Hester quite the compliment.
“He’s the best player on their football team,” the Packers coach said. “They have a lot of fine football players, too. No disrespect to [Julius] Peppers, [Lance] Briggs and the rest of those guys. He’s having probably his finest year there.”
Receiver Earl Bennett (ankle) and linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa (knee) didn’t participate in Wednesday’s practice. Center Olin Kreutz got a veteran’s day off.
For the Packers, safety Atari Bigby (groin) and fullback Korey Hall (knee) are out. Defensive end Cullen Jenkins (calf), guard Marshall Newhouse (back) and linebacker Frank Zombo knee didn’t practice. Tackle Chad Clifton (knees), safety Nick Collins (ribs), linebacker Clay Matthews (shin), cornerback Sam Shields (knees) and center Scott Wells (back) were limited.