Black, Blue, Grits, and Gravy: NFC North and NFC South News for Friday, April 19th, 2013

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Updated: April 19, 2013

No one is more excited about the Minnesota Vikings’ 2013 prospects than quarterback Christian Ponder himself.

Greetings, friends, on this very strange afternoon in which the sun is shining brightly and yet the sleet is falling hard and fast. Welcome to Black, Blue, Grits, and Gravy, a brief glimpse into the latest NFC North and NFC South news on this Friday, April 19th, 2013.

Now that the anticipation of the 2013 Water Cooler Awards is over and the excitement of Schedule Thursday has died down a bit, I thought I’d try something new today: looking at both of our favorite divisions a bit more briefly instead of one division in depth. Think of it as an elegant hors d’oeuvres table instead of a fully stocked smörgåsbord. Okay, so I’m cheap. What are you going to do about it?

Before we get on with the business of headlines, let me just take a moment one more time to congratulate our Water Cooler Awards winners — in particular, my esteemed colleague, Luke Hendricks, who walked away with both Best News honors for his widely heralded Black, Blue, and Ornery morning links series and the Best Writer nod. Forgive me as I bask in the reflected glory of his shiny new trophy. Well done, Luke.

Actress Jayne Mansfield would be turning 80 today, if she were still gracing us with her stunning beauty.

We might be light on links today, but we’re full of fun facts. Take, for example, the following tidbits:

  • On today’s date in 1775, the “shot heard ’round the world” was fired in Lexington, Massachusetts, as a skirmish between the Colonial Minutemen and British regulars became the opening conflict to the War for Independence.
  • On this date in 1897, the first Boston Marathon was run. The first man across the finish line was John J. McDermott of New York with a time of 2:55:10. He completed the course in thick leather boots, as was the custom at the time.
  • Eighty years ago today, the United States abandoned the gold standard.
  • Twenty years ago, the siege at the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas came to an unfortunate end.
  • Two years later, the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City was decimated by an explosion.
  • And in 2005, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger was elected Pope Benedict XVI.

Not all of those facts were as fun as they could have been, I suppose. How about I make it up to you? Did you know that in 1938, someone invented a revolver camera? Pressing the trigger caused it to take a picture. William Hung would have gone to town with that camera. Instead of saying, “Say cheese!” — he could have said, “She . . . BANGS!”

Some bangin’ celebrities who are celebrating birthdays today include actress Kate Hudson (34), tennis star Maria Sharapova (26), and actress Alexis Thorpe (33). Then again, so are professional pouter Hayden Christiansen (32); Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu (32); and Dr. Frank N. Furter himself, actor Tim Curry (67). So it’s a mixed bag.

NFC North News

I don’t like links. They’re coarse and rough and irritating, and they get everywhere.

Detroit Lions

Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o sure seems fit to be tied . . . to the NFC North, that is. Other than perhaps the Green Bay Packers, it’s hard to think of a team in the division that hasn’t been linked to the controversial player at some point. This time it’s the Detroit Lions, according to Anwar S. Richardson of MLive.com. Richardson writes that general manager and that he successfully answered all of Detroit’s predraft questions.

Assuming he does get picked up by a team in the Black and Blue Division, I’m curious what will happen the first time he steps foot on the field. Will there be a moment of silence in the stadium for his dearly departed girlfriend? They could do it in the name of increasing leukemia awareness.

Tennis star Maria Sharapova turns 26 today.

Chicago Bears

You know things are either going really well or really badly when the coach calls practice off early. This time it was the former. First-year head coach with what he saw from his Chicago Bears squad that he broke off the third day of offseason activities earlier than planned. In particular, he was pleased with the committed by the players, according to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune.

Of course, it’s easy enough to look good in shorts and shell, so it’s entirely too early to know how this will translate to performance on the field come the regular season, but it’s good to know that the team appears to be responding well to Trestman’s tutelage.

Minnesota Vikings

Dan Wiederer over at the StarTribune continues his tour around the Minnesota Vikings roster as the franchise gears up for the 2013 NFL Draft. This time he checks out the defensive line. Featuring starters like defensive ends Jared Allen and Brian Robinson alongside defensive tackles Kevin Williams and Letroy Guion, this is a unit most teams would be happy to field. Minnesota also has he benefit of having experienced no turnover along the line this offseason.

Nevertheless, the average age of the starters is creeping over 30, and the reserves have yet to prove they have the potential to take over when one of the veterans moves on. Wiederer writes that Christian Ballard in particular is approaching the “.” Head coach Leslie Frazier remains steadfastly unconcerned, however. From his standpoint, age is just a number, and this line is holding up just fine.

Wiederer rates the draft need for this unit as “moderate.”

Green Bay Packers

If there is one thing besides his penchant for avoiding interceptions that Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is proud of, it’s his sense of humor. They might be snide, they might be snarky, but no matter where he goes, he’s always cracking jokes.

Actress Kate Hudson turns 33 today.

Actress Kate Hudson turns 33 today.

Take, for example, the swing he took at former Packers wide receiver Greg Jennings at the second annual Wisconsin Sports Awards ceremony, where he accepted the Inspirational Player of the Year Award in proxy for wideout James Jones. When asked about Jennings’ relocation to Minnesota, Rodgers responded with one word:

“”

The zinger elicited the desired response from the crowd, to which Rodgers added: “Must be some Vikings fans in here.” He was booed for that crack.

Hopefully now that he has worked off a little comedic energy, he can get down to the business of signing his recordsetting contract.

NFC South News

Don’t dream it . . . link it!

New Orleans Saints

A growing contingent of fans feels uncomfortable with the New Orleans Saints’ draft position, which at 15th overall is smack-dab in the middle of the first round. Perhaps their anxiety is amplified by the fact that New Orleans has no second-round pick in 2013. But is trading back to pick up some extra picks really the right move at this time?

Mike Triplett of the Times-Picayune thinks if the Saints gave up the opportunity to snag a high-impact defensive player for the chance to pull in more depth. He argues that the team is loaded with depth already; it simply lacks any players that scare other teams. Although he acknowledges that there is no such thing as a sure-fire hit at No. 15, the Saints pursue someone like Louisiana State defensive end Barkevious Mingo, Georgia linebacker Alec Ogletree, or Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro.

I tend to agree with him. New Orleans has a lot of talent on their roster already. What the don’t have is a defense that is able to withstand the pressure of a high-octane offensive attack. Loading up on talent will only perpetuate their defensive mediocrity.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano has promised a quarterback competition, but whom does he intend to pit against incumbent Josh Freeman?

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

So head coach Greg Schiano has made no bones about the fact he wants to spice things up with a quarterback competition. Rick Stroud and Stephen R. Holding of the Tampa Bay Times look at some possible options the Tampa Bay Buccaneers might explore. They’ve done nothing at all to bring in quarterback talent this offseason, so that pretty much leaves them for whatever they can find.

Most draft experts are not expecting more than one or two quarterbacks to be taken in the first round. That means the Bucs will be looking later in the draft to fill holes. One option Stroud and Holding discuss is Florida State E.J. Manuel, who they describe as shooting up people’s boards right now. Schiano want to run a downfield, deep-passing offense, and Manuel fits that bill. Another possibility they explore is Ryan Nassib out of Syracuse, who also matches the description of the kind of quarterback Schiano favors.

Actress Alexis Thorpe is celebrating a birthday today.

Will any quarterback taken in this draft unseat starter Josh Freeman? Highly unlikely. But a young pup nipping at his heels might spur Freeman to take strides and attain the next level. In either case, the Buccaneers benefit.

Carolina Panthers

Although he has been a staple of NFL draft rooms for almost three decades, 2013 marks the first year that Carolina Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman will be the man in charge, and he has a message for anyone willing to listen: “.” He acknowledges that everyone on his scouting team will have input, but he intends to make the decisions.

Right now Gettleman is immersed in long, laborious days of film study, according to Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer. Steeped in his New York Giants background, he is keeping a weather eye out for beefy bodies — or as he likes to call them, “big hog mollies” — to plug the holes along the defensive line. He’s also poring through tape on cornerbacks and offensive linemen. How does he feel about the fact that the three deepest positions in the draft are also those areas of greatest need for the Panthers?

“Let’s just say I’m not angry.”

Atlanta Falcons

General manager Thomas Dimitroff can’t be too pleased to hear that Atlanta Falcons safety . According to a complaint, he got into an argument with a woman, grabbed her shoulder, and threw her phone. He is expected to be released on $2,500 bond today.

It’s doubtful this incident will affect Moore’s job security in Atlanta. I just hope someone has the sense to pull him aside and give him a bit of useful advice: If someone is starting to piss you off, step away and count to ten. It’s solid counsel for anyone, but particularly when you’re in a high-profile job like the NFL. Little things get blown into major situations these days, so it’s best to avoid them if at all possible.

Because Maria Sharapova.

About the author

Rourke Douglas Decker covers the Green Bay Packers beat for the Water Cooler Sports Network. He resides with his family in La Crosse, Wisconsin. He can be reached for questions or comments at . Connect with .

3056 comments
JVince 11
JVince 11

One thing that isn't recognized is that because GB plays on Thanksgiving Day.. they technically get a full bye week and a mini bye week as they will have a 10 day period before they play another game and usually get 4 days off after a Thanksgiving game.

Prit
Prit like.author.displayName 1 Like

.... What can you say.... olo 

JVince 11
JVince 11 like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

Anyone catch Ryan Braun putting "the belt on" after hitting a HR this weekend while Rodgers was in attendance and pointed at him?

andylet445
andylet445 like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

sounds gay

Prit
Prit

  Just Braun saying, I know we'll never win the Series, at least they have you...

Prit
Prit

    Poor taste... 

andylet445
andylet445

    but in the team game of banging your mom > jwoude's mom.

Prit
Prit

    ... That's cool, but in the team game of baseball, Bravos > Brew crew.... 

Bro Montana
Bro Montana

   And actually both Uptons combined

JVince 11
JVince 11 like.author.displayName 1 Like

  Cubs fan I bet.... hater in the house.

andylet445
andylet445

  no I'm a wisconsin native so a fan of most things wisconsin.  with that said, still sounds gay. 

Prit
Prit like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

Don't know why I had the urge to post this here when I seen it. 

JVince 11
JVince 11

 they look high as fuck.

Prit
Prit

  Wouldn't surprise me. I'm more held up on the fact, the "blankit" is a dish towel. 

JVince 11
JVince 11 like.author.displayName 1 Like

New reports are saying that only the 20.5M signing bonus that Clay Matthews received is guaranteed.  There is no other money guaranteed in that contract.

JVince 11
JVince 11

a 6 year 96M contract... with NO MONEY guaranteed... how is that even possible??

niemerg1
niemerg1

 who got this?

Prit
Prit like.author.displayName 1 Like

  Revis.

JVince 11
JVince 11

   I think the whole thing with that is that TB was waiting to see what he looked like after he was approved to run on that knee.  

Bro Montana
Bro Montana

J-Mike in trouble

andylet445
andylet445 like.author.displayName 1 Like

this smells like crazy chick syndrome + i can't keep my dick in my pants syndrome

Mr._Horse
Mr._Horse

  If any of that is true.  A pissed off chick on Twitter isn't authoritative.

Prit
Prit like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

That's just funny.

Mr._Horse
Mr._Horse

That's McGinn on the top DL in the draft, worth reading for the quotes from scouts.

robertj72
robertj72 like.author.displayName 1 Like

Well I just submitted an article on the Revis trade.

robertj72
robertj72

I think it was a very smart deal for the Bucs. Not sure what the Jets were thinking. But the article is more of a historical look at how/if moves like this have changed the fortunes for teams.

Mr._Horse
Mr._Horse

 The Jets weren't thinking. They were Woody Johnsoned, have been Woody Johnsoned and forever will be Woody Johnsoned until he's dead or sells.  

jwoude23 Bear Down
jwoude23 Bear Down moderator

 what are your thoughts on it?  That contract is fucking huge, but very little guaranteed money.