Jared Allen preparing for a grind against Aaron Rodgers
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Defensive end Willie Young answered a question with a question. But he made his point about Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
“Have you seen a quarterback like him be that mistake-free?” a reporter asked.
“Have you?” Young replied.
Jared Allen, though, might have some answers. Allen missed the Packers’ 38-17 romp in Week 4 because of pneumonia.
But Allen and Rodgers burst on the NFC North scene in 2008, and no player has harassed Rodgers more than Allen, who has 151/2 sacks and two safeties against him.
In 2009, Rodgers’ first Pro Bowl season, Allen sacked him 7½ times.
“Goodness, he’s one of the best,” Allen said. “I’ll bet when his career is over, he’ll be up there with the all-time greats.”
As Allen laid out Wednesday, a lot has to go right to beat one of the best. It starts by disrupting the routes of the Packers’ receivers and includes making their offense one-dimensional by locking down the running game.
Getting the Packers “into longer down and distances to where he has to throw the ball downfield” is essential, Allen said. The Bears’ special teams and offense, especially with ball security, have to hold up their ends of the bargain, too.
Allen tells his younger teammates to be patient. He reminds them that Rodgers “will give you shots to get to him’’ because he looks downfield for big plays.
“It’s that continual grind,” Allen said. “You have to grind, grind, grind, grind, grind.”
Allen, 32, only has 1½ sacks, so there are questions about the impact he can have at this point in his career. He raised some eyebrows before the bye week when he said he had to find “half a step.”
“I heard that you guys [the media] tried to make it sound like I was old,” Allen joked. “You guys need to put things into context, people.
Thought you were professionals. Goodness gracious. I think I could still run 4.6, so let’s get that out there.”
As he always does, Allen spent time studying himself over the break. The Bears’ coaches provided him with tape of every rush he had.
“It usually starts with an alignment issue if I’m too close or too vertical versus playing tilted or something like that,” Allen said. “So there are little things that I find that could save a step, shorten a corner.”
That said, he’s ready for Rodgers.
“I wish we were playing the game right now,” Allen said. “I try to tell the guys I’ve been in worse situations with lesser players and still made the playoffs. Green Bay is Green Bay, but [it’s] Green Bay-Chicago Bears on ‘Sunday Night Football’ in Lambeau.”