Wes and Ryan discuss James Jones' return to Green Bay and Mike McCarthy's comments on beating the Bears. (Sept 7, 2015)
Mike McCarthy had jokes to defuse his statement, but he wasn't backing down from the promise he offered during the Green Bay Packers' annual Welcome Back Luncheon last week.
McCarthy told the audience his Packers would make them proud when they "kick Chicago's (butt)" during the team's opener Sunday. He smiled when asked about it Monday.
"I don't really talk to our football team the way I talk to the Chamber of Commerce," McCarthy said. "It was all in fun, but I think it's really just an example of why you shouldn't say things like that in public. The reality of it is, it is really the way the game is looked upon. It's a great rivalry. I'm sure a lot worse is said in private about the opposing teams and so forth, but it is with great respect.
"It's the oldest rivalry in the National Football League. In my opinion, I think it's the best rivalry game that I've played in. so playing down there opening day, it's going to be a lot of fun. It's a big challenge."
Coaches cringe at any potential of providing an opponent with proverbial bulletin board material. In football, emotions already run high. There's no need to give a team extra motivation.
In the past, McCarthy said, he's worked for head coaches who would use such statements to fire up players. He isn't worried about his statement doing that to the Bears.
Packers receiver James Jones and coach Mike McCarthy talk Monday about Jones' return to Green Bay. (Sept. 7, 2015)
"If you're using that," McCarthy said, his voice trailing off. "I mean, that wouldn't fire me up, and I'm a coach. These guys have to play. So, I don't know.
"To me, it's the reality of the rivalry. I mean, let's be real here. We're not going down there to play hopscotch."
In recent years, the Packers have enjoyed one-sided success against their NFC North rival. They've won nine of their past 10 games against the Bears, including a 55-14 drubbing last season at Lambeau Field. The Packers led 42-0 at halftime of that game.
Their lone loss to the Bears since 2010 came at Lambeau Field during the 2013 season, when quarterback Aaron Rodgers exited in the first quarter with a broken collarbone.
New Bears coach John Fox took no offense to McCarthy's statement, at least not publicly. Fox played nice when he addressed reporters Monday, lending credence to McCarthy's confidence.
"I looked at the tape," Fox told Chicago reporters. "They should be confident."
— firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @ByRyanWood