It has been a mixed bag for the Bears in the pros this season. Aaron Rodgers is dominating the opposition on a weekly basis, while the stable of former Cal running backs have all struggled to hit the ground running this season. Keenan Allen and Marvin Jones caught touchdowns this week, while DeSean Jackson, Brandon Mebane, Mychal Kendricks and Marshawn Lynch are dealing with injuries.
Lorenzo Alexander: LB, Oakland Raiders (2-1)
Alexander played, but did not register any statistics during the Raiders' 27-20 road victory against the Cleveland Browns.
Steve Williams: CB, San Diego Chargers (1-2)
Williams intercepted his first career pass and also registered two tackles during their loss to the Vikings.
Keenan Allen: WR, San Diego Chargers (1-2)
Allen got back on track with 12 receptions for 133 yards and two touchdowns. The same cannot be said of his Chargers, though, as they were walloped by the Minnesota Vikings 31-14.
The Chargers' team website had some quotes from Cleveland Browns' star cornerback Joe Haden, who will be tasked with covering Allen this Sunday.
According to Haden, his game plan is to make sure he keeps Allen in front of him chasing the ball back toward Philip Rivers.
"When you study film it’s kind of just categories of wide receivers," he said. "You can tell a lot about guys in their quickness. They come out of their breaks in types of ways. I think with him, he’s one of those guys you have to make sure that you stay on top of. I just try to play him top down and make sure he catches the ball coming back to the quarterback."
Haden has never faced Allen on the field, but he’s impressed with what he’s put on tape.
"He’s very, very good. He’s smooth. He’s definitely good with the ball in his hands, runs good routes, he’s very crisp (and) he’s an all-around really good receiver. I like his game. I’ve never played against him before so just studying him on tape has been good."
Tyson Alualu: DT/DE, Jacksonville Jaguars (1-2)
Alualu registered one tackle during the Jaguars' 51-17 road defeat against the New England Patriots.
C.J. Anderson: RB, Denver Broncos (3-0)
The Broncos are off to a perfect start after defeating the Detroit Lions 24-12 at Ford Field, but Anderson still has yet to get it going on the ground. Anderson carried the ball just eight times for 18 yards, while catching one pass for nine yards. Anderson left the game against Detroit to undergo concussion protocol before returning.
Despite the early season struggles, Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak plans to keep trying to run the ball with Anderson, according to The Denver Post:
"We have to keep C.J. on the field. C.J. has been coming off the field the past three games because he's been nicked up," Kubiak said. "Things are going on, and we need to keep him on the field consistently."
Anderson missed time the first three weeks with ankle, toe and head injuries. He cleared the concussion protocol during the game at Detroit on Sunday and returned, but his abbreviated outing left him with 18 yards on eight carries. For the season, he sits at 74 yards on 32 attempts, admittedly struggling to have fun as he has tried too hard to make the perfect runs.
Bryan Anger: P, Jacksonville Jaguars (1-2)
Anger punted four times for an average of 48.8 yards (42.3 net). Anger is on pace for a career low in number of punts for the season, which is a sign of improvement for the Jaguars, at least thus far.
Chris Conte: S, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-2)
Conte notched seven tackles during the Bucs' 19-9 road loss to the Houston Texans. Conte now has 17 tackles this season, and is among the team leaders in tackles.
Justin Forsett: RB, Baltimore Ravens (0-3)
Forsett has struggled to replicate last season's breakout performance and ran for just 13 yards on 10 carries during Baltimore's wild 28-24 home loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. Forsett added four catches for 16 yards.
Forsett is averaging 3.2 yards per carry, his lowest since 2011 with the Seattle Seahawks.
The Baltimore Sun published a piece on the Ravens' struggling ground game:
"It's on everybody," Ravens running back Justin Forsett said. "It's on myself, I have to do a better job on reading and making cuts. That's what I look at first. It's a team thing, we have to look at the film and see what we can do better, but we have the guys to do it for sure."
The running game and the offensive line were expected to carry the Ravens, especially in the early part of the season as a young group of receivers developed. A year ago, the Ravens averaged 126.2 yards a game as Forsett rushed for 1,266 yards on 235 carries. He led the league with 17 runs of 20 yards or longer, a franchise record.
But against Cincinnati, Forsett had 13 yards on 10 carries. Backup Lorenzo Taliaferro had three carries for zero yards. That's embarrassing.
"I think it's little details," Forsett said. "We're also playing some great defenses. We just have to do better. We have to look at the film and just figure out what that is."
Forsett is correct. Cincinnati is ranked No. 5 in run defense, allowing 76.7 yards a game, while Denver is No. 7 (82.7) and Oakland 14th (91.7). But there are other issues. Both offensive tackles, Rick Wagner and James Hurst, have struggled, and those cut blocks that got opposing linemen on the ground last year don't seem as effective this year.
Forsett often evaded or ran through the first tackler and seldom was stopped behind the line of scrimmage in 2014, but he seems to go down easier this year on first contact. The cutback lanes of a year ago are nowhere to be found.
"We just need to run the ball better," Ravens guard Marshal Yanda said. "I feel like we haven't gotten it going yet, and we need to just figure it out and get better. And it needs to start right now."
DeSean Jackson: WR, Washington Redskins (1-2)
Jackson remains out with a hamstring injury. The Redskins lost 32-21 to the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium.
Marvin Jones: WR, Cincinnati Bengals (3-0)
Jones caught five passes for 94 yards and one touchdown as the Bengals beat the Ravens 28-24. Jones has nine receptions for 161 yards and two touchdowns this season. As other former Golden Bears falter, Jones is building momentum as the season progresses.
Cameron Jordan: DE, New Orleans Saints (0-3)
Jordan had just two tackles during the Saints' 27-22 road loss to the Carolina Panthers. The former Pro-Bowl defensive end is off to a slow start this season just like the rest of his team.
Mychal Kendricks: LB, Philadelphia Eagles (1-2)
Kendricks missed the Eagles' 24-17 road victory versus the New York Jets due to a hamstring injury. Kendricks has been practicing this week and is expected to play against the Redskins.
L.P. Ladouceur: LS, Dallas Cowboys (2-1)
Ladouceur extended his consecutive games played streak to 160 during the Cowboys' 39-28 home loss to the surging Atlanta Falcons.
Marshawn Lynch: RB, Seattle Seahawks (1-2)
Beast Mode is dealing with a struggling Seahawks' offensive line and a hamstring injury, which puts his availability for the Monday Night Football game against the Lions in doubt.
Against the Chicago Bears, a 26-0 victory for the Seahawks, Lynch carried the ball just five times for 14 yards with one catch for nine yards.
The Seahawks might not have clarity on whether Lynch will be able to play until this weekend. Coach Pete Carroll said Monday that Lynch would undergo an MRI this week.
Since being traded to the Seahawks in October 2010, Lynch has missed just one game: at Cleveland in 2011, when he sat out because of a back injury.
He has played in 60 consecutive regular-season games and eight playoff games since then.
His five carries Sunday against the Chicago Bears were his fewest in any regular-season game for the Seahawks. Lynch sustained the injury while making a 4th-and-1 reception with 26 seconds left in the first half.
Alex Mack: C, Cleveland Browns (1-2)
Mack made his third start of the season during their loss to the Raiders.
Chris McCain: LB, Miami Dolphins (1-2)
McCain played in Miami's 41-14 home loss to the Buffalo Bills, but did not record any statistics.
Brandon Mebane: DT, Seattle Seahawks (1-2)
Mebane exited early with a groin injury during their victory against the Bears.
Pro Football Talk has more on his availability for the game against the Lions:
Head coach Pete Carroll said Monday it would take the week of practice to figure out whether Mebane would be able to play against the Lions.
"He kind of got in an awkward position in a pileup and he strained his groin," Carroll said of how Mebane was injured. "We need to see what that feels like in a couple days too. He was getting around okay today, with what the trainers said, but we’ll have to wait and see."
Mike Mohamed: LB, Houston Texans (1-2)
Mohamed has yet to be active this season.
Ron Rivera: HC, Carolina Panthers (3-0)
Rivera's Panthers defeated the Saints 27-22.
Aaron Rodgers: QB, Green Bay Packers (3-0)
Rodgers drew comparisons to Michael Jordan from teammates and media, per NFL.com:
"Well, I appreciate the kind words," Rodgers said Wednesday, via ESPN.com. "I don't know if the comparison is ... I'm not worthy of that comparison. I enjoyed watching Michael. I was a big fan as a kid."
"It's a nice comparison," Rodgers said. "I'm just trying to be a guy they can count on every week. I know my play is very important to this team, but it takes all the guys that dress playing well for us to win."
While we appreciate the humbleness, Aaron, there is no one playing the most importation position in sports with nearly the same aplomb.
"I think Tolzien said it best the other day, it's like watching Michael Jordan in his prime," receiver James Jones said. "Every time he goes out there, the dude does something special. Like I've been saying these first three weeks, we're all witnessing something special. We probably won't realize it until he's done and retired how good he was."
Richard Rodgers: TE, Green Bay Packers (3-0)
Rodgers caught two passes for 15 yards.
Mitchell Schwartz: T, Cleveland Browns (1-2)
Schwartz started his 51st consecutive game for the Browns during their loss to Oakland.
Brian Schwenke: C, Tennessee Titans (1-2)
Schwenke made his third start of the season during the Titans' 35-33 home loss to the Indianapolis Colts.
Craig Stevens: TE, Tennessee Titans (1-2)
Stevens caught two passes for 29 yards. Stevens has three catches for 42 yards this season, which is more than he has had the last two seasons combined.
Nick Sundberg: LS, Washington redskins (1-2)
Sundberg played in his third game of the season.
Shane Vereen: RB, New York Giants (1-2)
Vereen carried the ball six times for 23 yards against the Redskins, but failed to catch a pass for the first time this season.
Check back next week to find out what Aaron Rodgers does next and if the running backs can get their seasons back on track.