- Pete Dougherty at packersnews.com thinks Jason Spriggs might be near the end of his tenure in Wisconsin.
At this point, Spriggs might have to move to guard to try to salvage his career. Regardless of where he plays, you have to think the Packers will bring him back for his third training camp just to be sure. But unless he improves a lot this off-season, he could get cut after only two years with the team.
If that’s how it turns out, Spriggs will have been one of the biggest swings and misses of the Thompson era. It’s not just the fanning on a second-rounder. That happens to the best of them. But Thompson traded two extra picks – a fourth and a seventh – to move up nine spots to get him.
The statement is significant because the Packers may well have traded up to get ahead of the Bears, who “settled” by trading back and drafting budding potential pro bowler Cody Whitehair.
For once the Bears may have come out ahead on that one.
- Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer was none to happy with the officiating in Minnesota’s Thanksgiving match up with the Lions:
“We almost lost our composure a couple times,” Zimmer said. “We study each crew going into the game. I told them it could be like this today. They’ve got to play clean, smart football and (long, awkward pause] . . . I shouldn’t say anything else.”
I was pretty bad. There was a non-call on what was obviously pass interference committed on wide receiver Stephon Diggs and there was a taunting call on quarterback Case Keenum where he was getting up after a sack and he flipped the ball in the direction of Lions defensive end Ziggy Ansah that wasn’t much better.
Mike Florio at profootballtalk.com danced on the line of accusing the NFL of intentional bias:
[W]hile I’m a firm believer that the fix is never in, moments like this make me wonder whether the ratings dip has resulted in an unspoken message to give calls to a team that is on the verge of getting blown out, in order to help avoid it. And if I’m wondering, other people are, too.
I don’t believe that. But I’m honest enough with myself to understand that is largely because I don’t want to believe it.
The NBA is known for giving the leagues stars the benefit of the doubt when making calls and, as a result, I haven’t watched a full professional basketball game in many years. If the NFL ever did even hint that biased officiating would be acceptable to keep a game close to boost ratings, it would be the end of the league, at least as far as I’m concerned. I’m pretty sure I’m not alone.
- Adam Jahns wonders if defensive coordinator Vic Fangio is getting a free pass for the poor performance of his defense over the last two games:
Fangio’s defense didn’t deliver the win it should have against Packers backup quarterback Brett Hundley at Soldier Field. Instead, Hundley completed 18 of 25 passes for 212 yards, a touchdown and a 110.7 passer rating — his best mark this season — in Green Bay’s 23-16 victory.
As quarterback Matthew Stafford was passing for 299 yards and two touchdowns against the Bears in the Lions’ 27-24 victory, the Ravens’ defense played like a top-10 defense should against Hundley in Green Bay. He was intercepted three times and sacked six times. The Ravens held him to a 43.6 passer rating.
The disparity in Hundley’s performance made the Bears’ most disappointing loss of the season look even worse.
In fairness, the defense only gave up 27 points in the loss to the Lions. I consider 24 points to be average.
Fangio’s game plan was to switch up in the coverages in order to confuse Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford. It didn’t work as Stafford either did a better job than anticipated or offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter did a very good job of anticipating the coverages. Either way, the Lions got themselves into the right play and took advantage of the Bears zone coverages way too often.
No one is perfect and Fangio is still one the best defensive coordinators around. It will be tragic if the Bears lose him in the off-season as he becomes a free agent when his contract is up. Fangio wanted to take the defensive coordinator job in San Francisco last season but the Bear blocked the move. They won’t be able to block it this year if the 49ers decide to make a switch. The Raiders also recently fired defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. and they may not stick with replacement John Pagano.
Bottom line, the odds of Fangio staying look pretty slim at this point.
- Rich Campbell at the Chicago Tribune reports that defensive end Leonard Floyd will go on IR:
Floyd played 90 percent of the Bears’ defensive snaps in the first nine games, to that point achieving his goal of improved availability. But Thursday’s transaction will bring his two-year career total of missed games to 10.
While its disappointing that Floyd didn’t make it through the whole season there was a major piece of good news in all of this. Floyd didn’t suffer a single concussion.
Floyd suffered two concussions in the space of six weeks last year and the frequency of those things doesn’t go down. The Bears claimed that better tackling technique would solve the issue but I was frankly skeptical. Personally, I thought his career was in real jeopardy. But the Bears were evidently right and Floyd seems to have beaten the problem.