- Dan Pompei at the Chicago Tribune asked 5 personnel men to evaluate the NFC North by position. The Packers were voted to have the best head coach in Mike McCarthy. But the scouts had some interesting things to say about Bears head coach Lovie Smith:
“Every ballot was the same except one, in which a personnel assistant ranked the Bears first, ahead of the Packers.
“’Lovie Smith has had to deal with quarterback issues, job speculation and inconsistencies that Mike McCarthy has not,’ he said.
“Another front office man voted the Bears staff second but said, ‘Lovie does a nice job. He is steady and that is a team that is well coached, well prepared and ready to play.’”
- Michael Bush on his new role with the Bears. Via Pompei and Brad Biggs:
“Asked if he dislikes that role, he said, ‘No one likes to be a battering ram. It just happens that way.’”
- Also via Pompei and Biggs, Dave Toub is confident that D.J. Moore can take the departed Corey Graham’s place as gunner on the punt team:
“’We are going to hope to depend on him,’ Toub said.”
- It’s early but this nugget from same article could be significant:
“Tight end Kyle Adams had a place on first-team kickoff return, a good sign for second-year player from Purdue.”
- Starting cornerback Tim Jennings has a fight on his hands for his starting cornerback position. From Sean Jensen at the Chicago Sun-Times:
“[Kelvin Hayden] was the one DB that stepped up (Sunday), locking down Brandon Marshall so tightly on one rep that Jay Cutler didn’t even throw the football. When Marshall’s turn came around, he yelled for Hayden to get back out there and cover him, even though it wasn’t Hayden’s turn. Unfortunately, the horn ended the drill before Round 2 could take place.”
On the other hand we have this from Vaughn McClure at the Chicago Tribune after Tuesday’s practice:
“’Each day we see a few guys who step up and make a few more plays,’ Lovie Smith said. ‘Like what Tim Jennings was able to do today (and) Charles Tillman. Both of our corners were able to get a pick. There are good football players on the other side, so it’s a challenge for them every day.’’”
So sounds like some good things are happening there.
- McClure highlights a trend that I also noticed this year in the draft as he talks to defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli about new safety Brandon Hardin:
“Hardin already has quite an adjustment to conquer. He played cornerback in high school and in college at Oregon State. The guy in front of him, [Chris] Conte, made the same transition last season and drew rave reviews.
“Marinelli explained the philosophy behind drafting corners to play safety.
“’It’s athleticism,’ he said. ‘People are spreading the field on you more, opening the field up. That day of the guy wearing the big neck roll and coming down tackling is not there. You need athleticism.’”
- ESPN’s NFC North blooger Kevin Seifert is giving defensive end Corey Wooton his annual dose of training camp love:
“If anyone unexpected stood out in pass-rush drills, it was defensive end Corey Wootton, whose standing on the team is jeopardized by McClellin’s arrival and two previous years of minimal production. Wootton looked quick and confident on the edge.”
That’s fine but I think we’d all like to see it the games at some point.
- The Chicago Tribune’s Matt Bowen quotes rookie wide receiver Alshon Jeffery:
“’The speed of the game tells me I’m in the NFL,’ Jeffery said. ‘It’s a lot more faster.’”
Its training camp and the preseason. Jeffery ain’t seen nothin’, yet.
- I loved reading this from Biggs on new wide receiver Brandon Marshall:
“He’s difficult to cover in one-one-one situations because he’s so active with his hands, and he still can run past cornerbacks to get deep.”
On the other hand we had this:
“Fellow rookie Alshon Jeffery looked OK but was absolutely stymied at the line of scrimmage by cornerback Kelvin Hayden on one play. Hayden is big, physical and understands the elements of the Cover-2 scheme.”
Like most rookie wide receivers, Jeffery obviously has a long way to go. But the’s big and he should eventually do better against veterans like Hayden. Teams that have played aggressive man coverage on the Bears have given them a very hard time. Hopefully the acquisitions of Marshall and Jeffery are the first step towards changing that.
- Brandon Marshall calls quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates a “1940′s countryman”. Via Cowley.
- Pompei in response to a fan question about the offensive line:
“As for the overall line, I think it can be efficient enough. It’s not going to be a great offensive line, but the days of great offensive lines may be over. If you look around the league, there are not many impressive offensive lines. Most of them have question marks like the Bears do. It is a reality of the NFL in this day and age.”
- Mike Mulligan at the Chicago Tribune makes a good point:
“Outside the division the Bears play five of the eight worst returning offenses, including the bottom three: Colts (30), Rams (31) and Jaguars (32) — all in the first five games. The defense has a chance to establish itself early and hit that top-10 standing that has been so crucial in Smith’s tenure.”
- Jenny Vrentas at the Newark Star-Ledger says that Tim Tebow is already hearing it from Jets fans. There were moans and groans at wobbly and under thrown balls in a deep-ball passing drill and it didn’t get better:
“Later, during the 11-on-11 team period, Tebow received a few more jeers. On one play when he held onto the ball for too long, a couple fans called for him to ‘Throw it, Tebow!’ Later, on a shaky incompletion, they called out, ‘Tebow, come on!’ and ‘That’s a Tebow ball!’”
- On the other hand we have his from Pro Football Weekly’s Audibles section:
“Rex Ryan knows that when you are a defensive coach and you are inside the 5 or 10, you don’t account for the quarterback. When Tim Tebow is on the field, now you have to account for the quarterback. It’s much more difficult to get away running cover zero (man) and pinching the ends. With Tim Tebow, Cam Newton, Michael Vick or Robert Griffin, you have to account for the quarterback — so it takes one less player away from stopping the run. The other thing Tebow brings — as a defensive coordinator, even if it’s only five or seven plays, every team will now have to spend X amount of time preparing for a package with Tebow. If you don’t, he can make you pay. And even if you do, he might still catch you off guard. He can be a weapon.”
- Here’s another good Audible specially for Bear fans:
“Watching Danieal Manning in Houston (last year), he has great instincts. He’s a smart player. He just kept moving positions in Chicago. It was a question of development — not instincts. He is very talented.”
- Packer’s tight end D.J. WIlliams must feel right at home in Green Bay because there’s apparently nothing to do in his home state of Arkansas, either. From By Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
- And Lions head coach Jim Schwartz continues to be Jim Schwartz. From Carlos Monarrez at the Detroit Free Press:
“The Lions announced that Schwartz had signed a “multiyear” extension June 29. Schwartz has been steadfast in his refusal to speak about his contract status and remained tight-lipped in his first public comments about his contract.
“Early in his 35-minute news conference, Schwartz and reporters engaged in verbal jousting.
“Reporter: ‘Why won’t you reveal the length of it?’
“Schwartz: ‘It’s my choice.’
“Reporter: ‘But why?’
“Schwartz: ‘It’s personal to me. Do you make your contract terms public?’
“Reporter: ‘I don’t have a contract.’
“Schwartz: ‘You choose to reveal that.’
“Reporter: ‘I’ll tell you mine if you tell me yours.’
“Schwartz: ‘I don’t play that game.’”
Here’s a prediction: Detroit will be shocked when [insert name of latest troubled Lion player here] is in hot water with the league for being uncooperative with the press.
- Michael David Smith at profootballtalk.com notes a reported incident in which Schwartz laid into receiver Ryan Broyles for getting in line for a drill without buckling his chin strap:
“Schwartz, who said last year that he didn’t appreciate it when he heard an obscenity when attempting to shake the hand of 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh, brushed off his own obscenities toward Broyles.
“‘I barked at a lot of people,’ Schwartz said.”
- Speaking of bad head coaches, Andy Benoit at The New York Times pulls no punches on Andy Reid as he previews the 2012 Eagles:
“The real reason the Eagles underachieved was they never figured out how to properly piece their tremendous individual parts into a fine-turned machine. It had nothing to do with “attitude” or “focus” or “desire.” It had everything to do with strategy and execution. The offense relied too much on big plays and did not always feature enough of LeSean McCoy, even though he had become arguably the best all-around running back in the N.F.C. The defense was stale and ill-conceived, featuring the now infamous wide-nine front looks that worked perfectly to highlight Philly’s weaknesses at linebacker. The star-studded secondary was incongruent, thanks to youth at safety and miscast players at cornerback (Nnamdi Asomugha in the slot!?). These are the things that lead to losing five games just on blown fourth-quarter leads alone.”
“If all this sounds like a description of bad coaching, well…it is.”
- ESPN’s NFC North blogger Kevin Seifert says that the Packers are emphasizing tackling in their camp. They should. From what I say it was 85% of their problem on defense last year. If they can just reduce their missed tackles they’ll be consideerably better.
- Forty-niners owner Jed York gets it. From Sam Farmer at the Los Angeles Times:
“What are some of the high-tech features [of the planned stadium]?
“Some stadiums focus all their money on the scoreboards. That’s a hardware solution. You can only show certain things on a scoreboard. There’s only one screen, or two, three or four. If you have a tablet or some kind of smartphone device, it will be, what do you want to learn? You might like the offensive-line battle. And it’s hard for you to see that, and that’s not something that’s going to be on the scoreboard. But you might want to watch Justin Smith maul an offensive guard and figure out, what’s he doing? So to have a Justin Smith-cam that you’re going to be able to watch on your tablet, those types of things are going to allow you to connect to the game in ways that you want to connect to the game.
“A lot of people would rather watch games on TV than pay to see them live. And what about the fans who have fantasy teams and want to watch all the Sunday games?
“One idea is to put the Red Zone Channel on the scoreboard for the early games and let people in the stadium. One of the things we’ve talked about is opening concessions before the game at reduced prices. When you look at the food and beverage consumed on a Sunday at a football game, 50% is consumed in the parking lot before people actually come in. So why not open that up and have sort of a tailgate atmosphere inside the stadium and watch games?”
- Something tells me that if the NFLPA had its way, this is the what it would be like everywhere. From The Sports Pickle.
- Also from The Sports Pickle:
- Building a team or building a sandwich – What’s the difference? From The Onion.
- What Staley should have been:
- This funny but too close to the truth point from The Onion, isn’t really football-related…
- Looks like a typical Packer fan to me:
One Final Thought
The Onion thinks Matt Forte’s long-term contract with the Bears will be “career-ending”:
“’It’s such a shame to see such a promising young talent fall victim to a multi-year deal with the Bears,’ said ESPN’s John Clayton, adding that he had to look away when Forte announced the painful signing. ‘We’ve unfortunately seen this fate befall so many players through the years and while some of them try to recover, after a few years spent battling with a Bears contract, nobody is ever the same.’”