Move Afalava back to strong safety

December, 9, 2009
12/09/09
2:51
PM ET
[+] EnlargeAl Afalava
AP Photo/Nam Y. HuhAl Afalava faces a bigger challenge than the Rams Sunday against the Packers.

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Al Afalava's debut at free safety went fairly smoothly last Sunday against St. Louis.

Do we want to stick around for an encore?

"It was different, but coach Gill [Byrd] did a great job at coaching us this past week," Afalava said.

There's no doubt Byrd (a former Pro Bowl defensive back in San Diego) is an excellent teacher, but Aaron Rogers is an entirely different breed of quarterback than the Rams' Kyle Boller. You can get away with sticking Afalava at free safety versus a terrible Rams' offense, but the Packers present a multitude of problems in the passing game.

Rogers has the luxury of throwing to either Donald Driver or Greg Jennings, who have combined for 109 catches, 1,675 yards and nine touchdowns.

"They're both good players. You can't worry about just one," Afalava said. "You've got to play them both the same."

True. But you don't have to leave the safeties the same this Sunday. Moving Afalava back to strong safety and re-inserting Danieal Manning at free safety may be the best route against Green Bay. Then Lovie Smith can re-evaluate the situation on a week-by-week basis in the final month.

Jeff Dickerson | email

Chicago Bears beat reporter
Dickerson has been the Bears beat reporter for ESPN Chicago since 2004. He also hosts weeknight radio shows on ESPN 1000.

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