BBAO: No Packers emphasis for Bears?

February, 22, 2013
2/22/13
7:25
AM ET
We're Black and Blue All Over:

INDIANAPOLIS -- In juggling the availabilities of multiple NFC North luminaries Thursday, I missed the announcement of a new (public) path by new Chicago Bears coach Marc Trestman. Speaking informally to reporters after his news conference at the NFL scouting combine, Trestman called an end to the Bears' public priority of beating the Green Bay Packers.

Per Don Banks of SI.com, Trestman said:

"I'm not as familiar [with the NFC North] as I'm going to be down the road, but certainly I recognize there's a rivalry in Chicago, and that's important. But we have to treat every team we're playing with the utmost respect. There's difference-makers on every team, we all know that, without going into names. And in every game you have to try and neutralize the difference-makers first.

"It's a highly competitive division and highly competitive league and everything starts in your division. But you're not going to play your division harder than you're going to play teams outside of your division. That'd be disrespecting the game completely. That's the reality."

Most new coaches seek distance from their predecessors, and we all know that former Bears coach Lovie Smith made the Packers a big part of his introductory news conference in 2004. That pronouncement didn't look too good in the latter stages of his career, as the Packers won a Super Bowl in 2010 and division titles in 2011 and 2012 while owning the Bears in head-to-head matchups.

I don't mind Trestman publicly downplaying the rivalry as long as he recognizes it internally. For the time being, at least, the Packers are the Bears' biggest obstacle to success. That in itself makes them a priority.

Continuing around the NFC North:

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