By Jeff Joniak-
(CBS) The Bears (2-1) host the Packers (1-2) in an NFC North showdown this Sunday at Solider Field. Here are a few thoughts heading into the game.
Bears defensive end Willie Young has high expectations for an intense game Sunday, the 189th in the rivalry.
“It’s going to be extreme,” Young said. “This is my first year here, but I can just feel it in the atmosphere already.”
Young played six games against the Packers as a Detroit Lion.
“It was bad, it was nasty,” he said. “As you know, there were some guys who built up some bad reputations in this same game. Guys are going to come out ready to go. It’s not going to be a slow-starting game. It’s going to be physical up front from the get-go.”
Putting Young in quotes doesn’t quite capture his inflection and feeling about this game. He insisted it’s going to be “nasty.”
For safety Ryan Mundy, it was a great feeling to return to MetLife Stadium on Monday night and intercept Geno Smith and score his first NFL touchdown. A year ago, that was home as a member of the New York Giants.
“We always say speed is behind you,” Mundy said. “The intended receiver should be trying to get you down on the ground, and he’s likely fast. So we make sure we try to protect the football and have a scoring mindset.”
Jets running back Chris Johnson, who once reportedly ran a 4.24 40-yard dash, caught Mundy near the goal line, but he was too late.
“I was just thinking score,” Mundy says.
In the 2013 opener, Mundy intercepted Dallas quarterback Tony Romo. He took it 91 yards but was caught at the one-yard line by running back DeMarco Murray.
Several times this week, I’ve heard stories about the tight-knit 2014 Bears rookie class. That group feels the chemistry off the field and in the meeting room is helping them on the field.
“We just all bonded,” defensive tackle Will Sutton said. “We all go out to eat, and there are 20 of us in group messages. We just all click. It’s just great. The majority of us to go out there and have an impact on this team.”
Sutton credits offseason rookie meetings discussing multiple issues facing NFL players put together by former Bears defensive back Terry Cousin, the new player relations director for getting the players to interact.
Another note on Sutton, who said since sixth grade he’s been a Bears fan. With extended family in the area, frequent trips were made here and subsequently he received a significant amount of Bears swag. He said you can ask anyone who knows him — he always wears his Brian Urlacher and Walter Payton jerseys.
Jeff Joniak is the play-by-play announcer for the Bears broadcasts on WBBM Newsradio 780. Follow him on Twitter @JeffJoniak.