Ahead of the 16th Annual Rockford Football Training Camp, former Green Bay Packer Frank Winters and former Chicago Bear Lance Briggs put their rivalries aside for an autograph dinner at Franchesco’s Ristorante Friday night in Rockford. Winters admitted he didn’t care too much about the age-old rivalry with Briggs because of the age difference.
That competition reignites come game time on September 5th, when the Bears host the Packers for the season opener at Soldier Field.
“[The] Thursday night game [is] in Chicago [and] I reside in Chicago so it should be fun,” Winters said. “I have a lot of Bears fans that are friends of mine so I catch a lot of heat down there.”
“Shoot, let me tell you – football can’t come soon enough,” Briggs admitted.
The Bears are coming off the better season, going 12-4 before they lost in the NFC North Wild Card game. Hoping to pick up where they left off, Briggs says it can only go up from here for Chicago.
“I think they’re picked 10-6 but if they play the way that they’re capable, I think 12-4 is more realistic,” Briggs said. “It can be more realistic for them.”
While the Bears didn’t make any drastic choices in this year’s draft, they do have a new defensive coordinator, Chuck Pagano.
“He’s taking over a very dominant unit and I think Chuck’s smart enough to know less is better,” Briggs said. “[He should] allow these guys to go out and do what they’ve been doing and to just continue to do it better.”
Chicago seems to have that side of the ball covered, so it didn’t seem like a coincidence for Green Bay to cover its own bases by choosing multiple defensive guys in this year’s draft.
“They drafted some defensive players [so] only time will tell,” Winters said. “It’s a long season. If you can get a couple breaks here or there and you stay healthy, I think they should be okay.”
With the new guys, Winters hopes new head coach, Matt LeFleur can help lead Aaron Rodgers and company in the right direction.
“It’s a new start so everybody’s got to prove themselves all over again – especially to a new coach,” Winters said. “You get used to that in that business. It’s a tough business. In that business if you don’t win, you’re not there for long.”
Briggs and Winters are the guest instructors for the 16th Annual Rockford Football Training Camp on Saturday, May 11th. Boys and girls ages 5-15 will learn foundational football skills and techniques from not only Briggs and Winters, but local high school and college coaches as well. The one-day camp is held from 9 AM – 1 PM at Mercyhealth Sportscore Two in Lovespark.