2

December

Packers Reportedly Sign Running Back Kahlil Bell

Kahlil Bell

Bell was reportedly signed to replace Johnathan Franklin

The Green Bay Packers have reportedly signed former Chicago Bears and New York Jets running back Kahlil Bell, according to ESPN’s Rob Demovsky.  Bell hasn’t played a down this season, after spending time with the Bears and Jets over the past two seasons.

Bell had his best game as a pro against the Packers on Christmas Day, 2011 when he rushed for over 120 yards in a Bears loss to Green Bay.

Bell’s signing means the Packers will need to make a corresponding roster move to make room for Bell.  Neither Bell’s signing nor any indication of what the next move will be have been announced by the Packers.

One scenario would have the Packers sending a current injured player to injured-reserve.  Among the possibilities are center Evan Dietrich-Smith, receiver Randall Cobb, offensive lineman J.C. Tretter or quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

The  move to sign Bell became necessary when the Packers placed rookie running back Johnathan Franklin on season-ending injured reserve after he suffered a neck injury against the Minnesota Vikings in week 12.

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Jason Perone is an independent sports blogger writing about the Packers on "AllGreenBayPackers.com

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25

December

Packers vs. Bears Preview: 5 Things to Watch

Jermichael Finley caught three touchdowns back in Week 3.

The Green Bay Packers (13-1) and Chicago Bears (7-7) face off in Week 16 of the NFL season Sunday.

The basics 

When: 7:20 CST, Sunday, December 25, 2011.

Where: Lambeau Field, Green Bay, WI.

TV: NBC; Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth. Also streaming online at NBCSports.com and NFL.com.

Radio: 620 AM WTMJ (Milwaukee); Packers Radio Network; Westwood One, NFL Sunday Drive.

Series: Bears lead, 85-92-6 (Packers won last regular season game, 27-17, on Sept. 25, 2011 at Soldier Field.)

Five things to watch

1. Banged up offensive line
Matching up against the Bears’ defensive line is a task in itself, but doing so with a makeshift offensive line only compounds the difficultly. The Packers will be without Bryan Bulaga (sprained knee cap) on Sunday, and other injuries to Chad Clifton and Derek Sherrod have forced the Packers to shift T.J. Lang to right tackle and replace him with Evan Dietrich-Smith at left guard.
Understandably, the Packers shifting offensive line had its share of problems against Kansas City. How they handle a Bears defensive line that has 28 total sacks, including 10 from Julius Peppers and seven from Henry Melton, will be a focal point on Sunday. Another rough performance could make scoring points a struggle.

2. Not Cut-ting it

While the Packers are dealing with injuries on both lines, the Bears sustained a knockout blow when both Jay Cutler and Matt Forte went down with long-term injuries in consecutive weeks. Cutler has proven to be irreplaceable with the quarterbacks currently on the Bears roster. Caleb Hanie, who nearly brought the Bears back in the NFC Championship game against the Packers, threw nine interceptions in four starts with a 41.8 passer rating. The Bears lost all four games and have all but eliminated themselves from the playoff picture.

Now, Lovie Smith is turning to Josh McCown, a nine-year NFL veteran who hasn’t started a game since 2007. For the Bears to have a chance at beating the Packers at Lambeau Field, McCown needs to play a lot better than he did the last time he was there. In ’07, McCown was just 7-of-15 for 115 yards and two interceptions for the Raiders in a 38-7 Packers win.

3. Bouncing back