We're Black and Blue All Over:
Posting will be light Monday, based on the assumption that far less of you will be in front of your computers, phones and other Internet devices during the holiday. Hopefully, you're somewhere demonstrating your appreciation to the men and women of our armed forces.
[Narrator steps off soapbox.]
For those of you who happen to be checking out the blog today, I want to point you in the direction of Jeffri Chadiha's ESPN.com interview with Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher. In the piece, Urlacher acknowledges a new sense of urgency as he enters the final stages of his career. Meanwhile, here is a key passage that offers some context to Urlacher's verbal exchange with Hall of Fame running back Gale Sayers:
He ignited even more controversy last week when he heard that Bears Hall of Fame running back Gale Sayers had uttered some unflattering remarks about this year's team. After Urlacher learned of the comments, he basically told the Chicago Tribune that Sayers shouldn't be talking negatively about current Bears because he had never won anything in his day.
Urlacher is more diplomatic about that response now -- "I've never won a championship, either, but I just don't want to hear that stuff from one of our guys," he said -- but it's fair to assume Sayers' remarks inflamed Urlacher's own frustrations with the Bears. Four years ago, this team was in the Super Bowl. Ever since that point, it's been hampered by injuries, shaky personnel moves, and a recent inability to hang with Minnesota and Green Bay in the NFC North. The arrival of Cutler last year was supposed to help matters. It wound up only providing upset fans with one more reason to be unhappy.
Continuing around the NFC North:
Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune: "The one area on the Bears that still has holes like a honeycomb is cornerback. The problem isn't with starters Zack Bowman and Charles Tillman, even though the actions of Bears coaches are telling us they don't think Tillman is what he used to be. More on that later. The problem is with what's behind Bowman and Tillman. Or what's not behind them -- a proven backup. There is a clump of possibilities on the cornerback depth chart, but nothing really has separated the contenders. Minimally, the Bears will need three corners to play a lot, probably four when injuries are factored in."
Tom Kowalski of Mlive.com: "One of the misconceptions about receiver Nate Burleson and his role with the Detroit Lions is that he needs to be a downfield threat to help take pressure off fellow receiver Calvin Johnson. Actually, it's just the opposite."
Lions center Dominic Raiola is proceeding with caution as he anticipates team-wide improvement this season, writes John Niyo of the Detroit News.
Lions cornerback Eric King made an impression during organized team activities, according to Carlos Monarrez of the Detroit Free Press.
Chip Scoggins and Judd Zulgad of the Star Tribune wonder if the Minnesota Vikings are thinking about adding at least one veteran to their offensive line before training camp.
Tom Powers of the St. Paul Pioneer Press takes a serious stance on the "X-Files" Twitter-talk between members of the Vikings and New Orleans Saints: "We've got players threatening to end careers by deliberately going after surgically repaired ankles and knees in the Vikings-Saints opener. We've got players offering to bet their paychecks on what happens in the game! Why is this being tolerated? This is like a hard-throwing pitcher threatening to hit somebody in the head. Would that be OK, too? And if that pitcher made his intentions public, wouldn't Major League Baseball be upset?"
Plans for enhancing Lambeau Field, according to Don Walker of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, include: "simply adding more club seating -- anywhere from 6,000 to 8,000 more seats -- to concepts that include a barbecue-tailgate area, a Bavarian-style brew pub or a play-zone area."