Black, Blue, and Ornery: NFC North News for Thursday, January 3rd, 2013
Good morning, folks! Welcome to the NFC North News for Thursday, January 3rd, 2013.
My goodness! I stop writing these articles for a week or two and all heck breaks loose! The Packers lose to the Vikings! The Vikings makes the playoffs! The Bears miss out and fire Lovie Smith! The Lions — they’re, ah, lyin’ in the same spot, I guess.
Well, nothing I can do about it now. I’m somewhat sad to see Lovie go, but I guess it’s time for a change. Until then, it’s still nice to have two NFC North teams in the playoffs. It helps to prove, once again, that the NFC North is the best division in football.
You know who else is the best? This nice group of celebrities who celebrate birthdays today: “elite” quarterback Eli Manning, outspoken actor Mel Gibson and Wonder Years star Danica McKellar.
NFC North News
What would you do, if I linked out of tune?
As previously mentioned, the Chicago Bears have parted ways with their longtime head coach Lovie Smith, but ESPN Chicago’s Scoop Jackson believes they have a few more tasks to complete before they can get ready to hibernate during the playoffs.
Old Scoop was even nice enough to list a few of them out, including:
- “Trade Devin Hester”
- “Get at least one superstar for the O-line”
- “Get Matt Forte some ankle-strengthening therapy”
- “Find/acquire a Tim Jennings-type at LB”
- “Make sure that Cutler understands that he will be next season’s Lovie Smith if the outcome is anything close to the same.”
Most of them are pretty obvious, until he threw out that last one. Again, I don’t think quarterback Jay Cutler is that much better than average, but I can’t make myself blame him for this season. The guy was constantly under duress because of no protection, few weapons and horrible play-calling. I have a hard time believing the organization would cut ties with him, regardless of whether they make the playoffs next season or not. They don’t really have any better options.
Speaking of head coaches, the Bears have added another name to their growing list of replacements for Lovie Smith. ProFootballTalk is reporting, via Twitter, that the Bears interviewed Saints offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael on Wednesday night. It’s clear the Bears have the offensive-minded coaches in their sights. Rotoworld points out that “The Saints finished No. 2 in total offense in 2012 and have finished No. 1 overall four times in the seven seasons Carmichael has been involved.”
The good folks over at Mlive.com discuss the inevitable changes coming for the Detroit Lion’s offensive line. As the article points out, they’ve been blessed with a pretty good cast for the past three years, but free agency and high salaries may force the team to shake things up a bit.
It sounds like guard Rob Sims is safe, considering he has two years left on his contract and his pay is manageable. While Sims wants the whole unit to remain intact, he’s specifically worried about losing longtime left tackle Jeff Backus. He stated:
I hope he plays. I’m going to call him every day to make sure he knows it.
Backus is only owed $2.5 million, so the the only reason he wouldn’t be around is if he chose to retire. The team may try to bring him back in a more limited role, considering they have first-round pick Riley Reiff waiting in the wings.
You may remember a little joke by head coach Jim Schwartz when he stated that Detroit Lions wide receiver Titus Young would undergo surgery “unless he didn’t show up for it.” Well, apparently he hasn’t yet, according to Anwar Richardson on Twitter.
Green Bay Packers
We’ve heard the good news that Green Bay Packers safety Charles Woodson has been cleared to play in this Sunday’s match-up against the Minnesota Vikings, but you may want to hold up on laying out the green and gold carpet for receiver Jordy Nelson.
In the Journal Sentinel’s Wednesday practice report, they note that while coach Mike McCarthy thought Nelson looked good in practice, the team doctor still had some concerns. He will continue to be evaluated tomorrow.
Bad news for defensive end Jerel Worthy, though. He has been ruled out for the rest of the postseason with some sort of injury. They weren’t giving out many details on what it was or how it happened.
For a complete list of the injured and their participation levels, click here!
How about a little injury update about the sixth-seed Minnesota Vikings? I thought you might be interested.
We’ll start with quarterback Christian Ponder. ESPN 1500 passes long that he was limited in practice on Wednesday dealing with an elbow bruise from Sunday’s win over the Green Bay Packers.
It doesn’t sound too serious, so he should be more than ready to handle the ball off to Adrian Peterson in Saturday’s Wild Card game.
The team is a little more unsure about cornerback Antoine Winfield. He missed practice for the second straight day on Wednesday because of a broken index finger. The Twin Cities Pioneer Press reports that defensive coordinator Alan Williams “doesn’t doubt Winfield will try to play,” though.
If he can’t go, the article details a few of the options that team has to replace him. No matter who they have filling in, it would be a downgrade over Winfield’s skills and experience. They’ll need the best from their best in order to try to slow down quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
About the author
I dont think the Bears are gonna be better next season because I just dont think their defense will have the take aways they had this year and I can see some real looker room decent with their leader Lovie Smith getting canned.
Lovie Smith to the Bills is an Ideal fit for him. He has the talent on defense with Dareus, Byrd, Mario Williams. And they have 2 runningbacks, a good WR and a good O-Line that put up a lot more points than the Bears. Sure you have to play Tom Brady but he had to play Aaron Rodgers so its definately a better situation. I hope Lovie does well in Buffalo
@Miracle Man bruised ass from the raping he took on Sunday?
@jwoude23 I guess that's why I'm confident about Saturday. Every break went Minnesota's way and we had some shitty play on defense. I think we'll right the ship - can't get much worse.
I think GJ is secretly telling GB fans good bye. Apparently he said he prefer the Dome over playing outdoors.
Man, I have been at work since 9am and I have not done 1 fucking thing but brows the net and talk to people.
someone suggested we need to cut Colston.
im currently beating him over the head with knowledge bombs.
2013 FF rankings per Matthew Berry
@Miracle Man also, I love the depth at WR next year. Guys like Cecil Shorts, Danario Alexander, Eric Decker, TY Hilton, Kenny Britt, and Pierre Garcon are all good contributors that can be had after grabbing a couple RBs and a QB early.
@Miracle Man I'm not touching Foster next year. Overworked this year. I will be grabbing Ben Tate.
@Miracle Man and I think Forte is undervalued at RB15. He finished as the #12 RB in my leagues this year despite being criminally underused by Tice.
I always give QB's better ranks than RB's. At least Rodgers.
@Miracle Man top 5 running backs and 7 of the top 10 running backs...no way