When the Packers and Bears get together Sunday for the second 2009 game of their annual series, an interesting subplot will play out when Chicago has the ball.
Green Bay nose tackle B.J. Raji and Chicago center Olin Kreutz will be pushing and shoving each other a bit harder, given the words they’ve already thrown back and forth at each other.
Raji got things rolling Thursday, explaining that Kreutz can’t match Raji’s raw strength.
“It’s nothing physical, it’s all technical,” Raji said, per Greg Bedard of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “I’m stronger than the guy. I mean, that’s not really talking [smack]; he’s just fast. That’s not his game, really, strength. He’s more trying to out-leverage you, get around you. Once I get the feel of that then the game will come a lot easier.
“It’s not going to take me a whole [game] to get used to him moving. Football’s football. He’s not going to change the way he plays because there’s a new nose on him. He’s going to play the way he’s been playing. So what I watch on film, it’s probably going to help me out the most, actually.”
Kreutz, who did not play when the Packers and Bears met in Week One, was asked about Raji’s comments on Friday.
Asked specifically if Kreutz is strong enough to face Raji, Kreutz said, “Is that his exact quote, or are you guys changing the quote a little bit?”
After being informed of Raji’s words, Kreutz said, “Is that his expertise after  games in the NFL?”
Kreutz later said that he’s not surprised by the comments. “[T]hat’s the way young players are nowadays, they are all pretty much clowns,” Kreutz said. “After 10 games, he probably thinks he’s the strongest guy in the NFL.”
Kreutz resisted any temptation to offer a specific comment regarding Raji’s skills.
“I’m not going to talk about a rookie,” Kreutz said. “This is too much attention for a rookie right here.”
Raji will likely be getting even more attention Sunday. Whether it’s good attention or bad attention depends on whether he can back up his words.