Bears notebook: Coaches coy about ex-Packers DC Mike Pettine’s role this week
Plus, a roundup of the latest injury news and a special moment for outside linebacker Trevis Gipson.
Bears coach Matt Nagy had a lot of reasons to hire former nemesis Mike Pettine when the Packers fired him as their defensive coordinator.
Pettine has overseen four defenses that ranked among the top 10 in the NFL in points allowed, he can fill Nagy in on flaws in his offense and — of particular importance this week — he’s very familiar with the Bears’ archrival.
‘‘He has great insight into their people,’’ offensive coordinator Bill Lazor said. ‘‘The scheme has changed . . . but the personnel and even the mentality of some of the players, I think he has great insight.’’
Pettine was the Packers’ defensive coordinator in 2018-20, and their defense ranked 10th in points allowed, 11th in opponents’ yardage and 12th in third-down success rate.
He has been helpful on both sides of the ball since Nagy brought him in as a senior defensive assistant to coordinator Sean Desai.
Desai typically tries to say as little as possible about his scheme, staff and personnel and veered into an emphasis on execution when asked about Pettine’s expertise on the Packers.
‘‘Everybody’s got ideas, and these ideas can come from all different avenues,’’ Desai said when pressed about Pettine. ‘‘We try to listen to everything, and then that’s my job as a coordinator to consolidate that and come up with a clear vision of how we want to play this game.’’
Two of the Bears’ best players, defensive tackle Akiem Hicks and receiver Allen Robinson, remained out of practice.
Hicks suffered a groin injury early against the Lions in Week 4 and missed the game Sunday against the Raiders. He has yet to practice since getting hurt.
Robinson played 83% of the offensive snaps against the Raiders and didn’t indicate he had an injury when he talked with the media Tuesday, but he has been out with an ankle injury. He hasn’t missed a game because of injury in three seasons.
Robinson led the Bears in receiving yards in each of his first three seasons with them and is second to Darnell Mooney this season. He has 17 catches for 181 yards and a touchdown.
Outside linebacker Khalil Mack (foot) also hasn’t practiced this week, but he is expected to play.
Outside linebacker Trevis Gipson spent most of his rookie season on the bench, but he has been a solid backup to Mack and Robert Quinn this season. He has two sacks, including one against the Raiders that turned surreal when he saw Mack and Quinn celebrating him from the sideline.
‘‘I was talking to my grandfather, and I was telling him it was an amazing feeling,’’ Gipson said. ‘‘To see them cheering me on . . . especially going back two or three years ago, being fans of those guys, [and now] they would be cheering for me like I did for them.’’