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Around the NFC North

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Around the NFC North

Chicago Bears – The Packers won’t be the only team opening the season with suspended players.  The Packers opponent that first weekend will also have a key member of their team watching instead of playing.  Bears defensive lineman Jeremiah Ratliff (formerly known as Jay as a member of the Dallas Cowboys) has been suspended for the first three games of the 2015 regular season for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy, the league announced Monday.  He will not appeal.

The Bears are also thin on receivers.  Bears receiver Alshon Jeffery did not participate in Monday’s practice at Halas Hall, still bothered by the strained left calf he suffered during an Aug. 12 practice. WR Marquess Wilson was also sidelined Monday  after suffering a hamstring injury in Saturday night’s 23-11 victory over the Colts.  Coach John Fox is focusing on Jeffery for the Bears opener with the Packers rather than rushing him back in pre-season.

Detroit Lions – Injuries, albeit none too serious, have hit the Lions too.  The Lions lost starting right guard Larry Warford and defensive tackle Caraun Reid to high ankle sprains last week, though, with both players expected to return next month.

In this week’s foot-in-your-mouth award goes to Lions safety Grover Quin.  Commenting on the Jordy Nelson injury which will sideline the Packers star receiver the entire season, safety Glover Quin said today that God will decide every player’s fate, and changing the NFL’s preseason schedule can’t change that.  Surely it wasn’t meant to be mean, but the comment has taken a life of its own much to the dismay of Quin.

Detroit travels to Jacksonville to take on the Jaguars this Friday night in week three of the NFL pre-season.

Minnesota Vikings – The Vikings are worried about the anemic state of their running game so far this pre-season.  The Vikings are averaging just 3.1 yards per carry in the preseason, and gained only 87 yards on 32 carries Saturday night against the Oakland Raiders. Head Coach Mike Zimmer had several points of emphasis for players when they returned to work on Monday; improving the run game was among the top priorities.  It is important to note that former All Pro Adrian Peterson is sitting out the pre-season.

When Peterson does play however there may be major changes in the formation compared to what he was used to running out so successfully in years past.  The Vikings were in the shotgun or pistol about 65 percent of the time after Teddy Bridgewater took over as the starting QB in Week 4 last season -- the 13th-most in the league, according to ESPN Stats & Information -- and their 565 shotgun snaps in that time were only 210 less than they had in 2012 and 2013 combined.

Peterson, of course, was in the backfield both of those seasons, and has yet to play his first game with Bridgewater at quarterback. In those two seasons, Peterson ran just 40 times out of the shotgun.

Elsewhere there is rising concern over place kicker Blair Walsh.  He has missed three field goals and one extra point already this pre-season.

Minnesota continues pre-season play this week by visiting the host Dallas Cowboys on Saturday night.

Green Bay Packers – I won’t re-hash the Packers misfortune after losing Pro Bowl receiverJordy Nelson for the season but will comment on those who wanted to rush into signing a FA receiver to take his place. 

Note: It won’t happen folks! 

Some fans saw a golden opportunity to ink former big-name pass catcher and former Colt Reggie Wayne.  The 15 year players was a former Pro Bowler and word was that he was hoping for a call from the Packers before signing with the NE Patriots.  There was reportedly no real interest by the Packers, and rightfully so.  Wayne could not take Nelson’s place and neither would James Jones, Randy Moss or Greg Jennings.  The Packers are built from within and that is where they will stay.  It will be a replacement by committee rather than plug-and-pay replacement.

Randy Moss a Packer?  Can Brett Favre be too far behind?

Undrafted rookie DB Ladarious Gunter from Miami University continues to sparkle in practices and the pre-season.  It is looking more and more like Gunter will be following in the footsteps of another fellow undrafted DB from “The U” Sam Shields.

The puzzling snub of former Packers Pro Bowler guard Jerry Kramer continues.  This past week it was announced that he would not be considered by the Pro Football Hall of Fame yet again this year.  Kramer was voted as the best guard in the first 50 years of the game and is the lone remaining member of that honorary team not be inducted.  For the life of me I cannot understand why he is being shut out.  Despite the outcry from fellow HOF players who have requested that the senior committee get off their collective prejudices and make this happen (obviously my words, not theirs) the snub continues. 

The Packers host the Philadelphia Eagles this coming Saturday night in their pre-season home opener.  All eyes will be on the progress of the Jordy Nelson-less receiving corps and the patched up offensive line which will have to do a better job of protecting  QB Aaron Rodgers than they did last week in Pittsburgh.


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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (9) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Nick Perry's picture

Haven't been here much this week but as bummed out as I was about the Nelson injury, how awesome is it he's out there like a coach with the younger WR's on the Packers getting them ready. It speaks volumes about what kind of teammate and person Nelson is. You can't replace Jordy Nelson but Nelson is going to help the rest of the WR's come as close to replacing him as they can. My thought is Ty Montgomery having a Keenan Allen type rookie season. Allen had 71 catches, 1046 yards, and 8 TD's as a rookie. Montgomery has that ability without a doubt.

If Barclay is filling in at either Tackle position this weekend please don't subject Rodgers to that again. I don't want to see Rodgers get pummeled like that again in a exhibition game. Barclay is a Guard at best, find another solution at backup Tackle Ted, Barclay isn't it.

croatpackfan's picture

Well, regarding Barclay - I understand what MM wants to achieve. Barclay needs a lot of snaps to regain confidence in himself and his knee. But it looks like he is pushed to do on others sake... I think we have to give the chance to Barclay, but not by price of other players possible injuries...

Dan Stodola's picture

" how awesome is it he's out there like a coach with the younger WR's on the Packers getting them ready."

Raji did the same last year. He was around all year last year, helping out, getting others more ready, coaching. It says as much about the culture the Packers have built in the lockerroom and community that the players stay in GB, when they are injured and can leave if they wish.

Nick Perry's picture

Exactly Dan, business as usual in Green Bay but it's still pretty damn cool. I'd bet my bottom dollar if it was Dez Bryant he'd be at home sulking or doing something for Dez.

Dan Stodola's picture

Its very cool. Just thought I'd mention Raji since I don't think he was given enough credit for doing it last year. And, no way Dez does that. Don't think I've heard any other team that happens.

Ibleedgreenmore's picture

I love Nelson he is a Packers Packer and his attitude and his drive can not be replaced. I watched last years games with the Bears and I tell you Jordy was all over the place.

NewNikeShoes's picture

I got an idea, how about Jake Long?
Hella cheap, injury-prone, but still decent.

ray nichkee's picture

Jordy has been nothing but humble and respectful. I expected him to stick around and help, watch, and learn from the sidelines. He hops on the tractor when he goes home. He is going to come back even better after seeing the game in a different view. (As if he aint good enough already)

egbertsouse's picture

Hmmm...not only does God watch football, he speaks directly to the Detroit Lions. I always thought it would be the Eagles because they have Tebow.

I guess its only fair since Satan speaks directly to Belicheck.

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