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Emma: Packers Always Know Who's In Charge

By Chris Emma-

GREEN BAY, Wis. (CBS) -- Go inside the Packers' locker room, and you find how vastly different it is from the Bears' home. It's a large  circle, not a cramped rectangle, allowing for plenty of space. It's comfortable and conveniently located.

But the more important contrast is in atmosphere. There's no tension or infighting like at Halas Hall. It's clear who the leaders are, starting with coach Mike McCarthy.

"We know who's in charge," Packers running back Eddie Lacey said.

The Bears don't. Authority is lacking in Lake Forest, where Chicago's season is spiraling out of control at 3-5. A recent report suggested Bears coach Marc Trestman's job is in jeopardy, largely because he seems to have lost the team. Brandon Marshall has yelled at teammates, Lance Briggs prioritized his restaurant opening over practice and Lamarr Houston tore his ACL celebrating a sack while his team was getting blown out.

All of these problems seem more distant than the two-game lead Green Bay (5-3) has over Chicago (3-5) in the NFC North standings as the squads ready to meet again Sunday night at Lambeau Field. Problems are few and far between for the Packers' tight-knit locker room. McCarthy need not worry about "growing the man," as is Trestman's constant concentration. The Packers are already grown men.

"The biggest part of that comes from the players," McCarthy said of the team chemistry. "We have a leadership council, we have strong veteran leadership on this team. I think that's part of the head coach's responsibility, to keep your finger on the pulse on the team."

Outside of the challenges the next for presents in any given week, there's little to worry about for the Packers. When they started the season 1-2, star quarterback Aaron Rodgers went on a Wisconsin radio station and said, "R-E-L-A-X. Relax." He was speaking to the fans. He wasn't speaking to teammates, because nothing needed to be said.

Green Bay's culture stems from a tradition of titles, entrusted in its coach. That is passed down through the players, held accountable to carry on the winning ways.

"He sets the foundation for this football team," Rodgers said of McCarthy.

On the contrary, Trestman's attempts to lead have failed in Chicago to this point. He wrote a book entitled "Perseverance: Life Lessons on Leadership and Teamwork," yet managed to lose the players he worked to win over here. Trestman has worked to build camaraderie with minor techniques, from rotating team captains each week to moving players' locker locations so they can build relationships.

The Packers don't over-analyze leadership the way their rivals do. It's just not needed with a healthy environment.

"Anybody can be a leader at any point," Packers rookie receiver Davante Adams said. "It's not just the top guys. Anyone can step up, and the leaders are respectful of others trying to be a leader."

Veteran players like Rodgers are looked to by young teammates as the example. The Pro Bowl quarterback sets the tone for the team -- in contrast to the Bears, where quarterback Jay Cutler is inconsistent with his play and not outgoing with his personality.

Rookies in Green Bay recognize immediately how Green Bay's hierarchy functions. There was no question of who's in charge.

"Being in the locker room, it's a really chill-type environment," Adams said. "It's not like people are yelling at each other, saying this because they're in a certain part of their career."

Added center Corey Linsley: "Nobody in here is a complete jerk. Nobody in here is putting you down, making you feel like crap."

Part of the Bears' problem is that they're a losing football team, lost in finding their way out of the hole. To what extent toxic chemistry and poor play intermix is a mystery, but they seem to function as one.

The Packers are a team playing strong football, poised for another playoff run, whereas the Bears are on the brink of disaster with another loss. Winning cures all, and it seems to come naturally in Green Bay.

"Everyone knows what we're about," Green Bay receiver Jordy Nelson said. "We're going to work extremely hard when we're on the field, we're going to have fun when we're off the field."

Green Bay has authority at head coach and players to create a positive culture, while Chicago has a coach who has lost control of egos out for themselves.

It's why the Packers have found their winning ways, and the Bears are on a wayward path.

Follow Chris on Twitter @CEmma670.

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