We're Black and Blue All Over:
Wednesday evening, shortly after ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that Green Bay Packers linebacker Nick Barnett (wrist) will miss the remainder of the season, I put out the following mad-lib on Twitter:
If you're a knee-jerker, you see 3 starters down in GB, Cutler woozy in CHI and Moss now in MIN and say _____.
More people than I thought were up and tweeting at that hour, and @cavalawyer offered my favorite response:
Don't conform to media standards of extremism and start writing off preseason favs or assuming Vikes now unstoppable
I agree wholeheartedly. It's been a rough couple days for Packers and Bears fans, and certainly those who follow the Vikings have received a much-needed boost. But let's not start suggesting that the Packers and Bears are cooked or that the Vikings are poised to rise into their spots. It's Week 5. Halloween is still distant on the horizon, much less Thanksgiving or Christmas. Let's let this thing play out a bit.
Continuing around the NFC North:
The Bears made clear that veteran Todd Collins remains the backup to quarterback Jay Cutler and would start Sunday against the Carolina Panthers if Cutler (concussion) is unable to, notes Vaughn McClure of the Chicago Tribune. That scenario would be confusing, however, after Cutler was cleared for limited participation in Wednesday's practice.
Bears tailback Matt Forte on the running game, via Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun-Times: "It's frustrating to the nth power. It's very disappointing and frustrating. I'm a running back; you want to run the ball.''
Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz took the blame for his group's performance Sunday night at the New York Giants, via Michael C. Wright of ESPNChicago.com: "Let me tell you this: I just feel terrible. I tried to do waaaay too much in a short week with these guys. They're not ready for that. We've got a bunch of young guys trying to learn how to play, and we lost our poise, and got on our heels. We couldn't do much of anything right. That's just an old coach's fault right there. The calls, whatever, whatever went wrong, that game is my responsibility. The preparation for that game, we felt good about it. But it was way too much stuff for those guys to deal with. Just leave it at that, if you would. These guys are going to be fine. I promise they will be just fine. We'll make sure of that."
It sure looks like receiver Nate Burleson (ankle) will return to the Detroit Lions' lineup this week, writes Shawn Windsor of the Detroit Free Press.
Chris McCosky of the Detroit News on Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford's throwing session Wednesday: "He played three-way catch before practice, throwing soft 15-yard passes with [Shaun] Hill and Drew Stanton. He did not have his helmet and will not take part in practice all week."
The Lions are missing Stafford for several reasons, writes Tom Kowalski of Mlive.com. Among them: They're not finding out whether he made the progress they hoped he had made in the offseason.
Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press-Gazette digs deeper into the Green Bay Packers' offensive issues.
Packers cornerback Charles Woodson during an appearance on the Jim Rome radio show, via Greg A. Bedard of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: "It would be a logical thing to do to get another big-time back like Marshawn Lynch. And it didn't pan out."
Packers safety Nick Collins on the failed Lynch deal and the Vikings' acquisition of Moss, via Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com: "What can I say? Anybody is going to say, 'Yes, Lynch would have helped; Randy Moss would have helped.' But who cares? We can't make that decision. We're going to stick with the guys we have here and move forward. It's out of my hands. I'm just a player. It's out of my hands. I'm going to do my job, and my job is to perform and go out there and win games. That's my duty. [And the front office's job is] to make all the calls."
Former Vikings owner Red McCombs, who originally traded Moss away in 2004, told Judd Zulgad of the Star Tribune that the trade to bring him back was "dynamite."
Bob Sansevere of the St. Paul Pioneer Press: "Putting Moss back in a Vikings uniform has this team going back to being a favorite to win the Super Bowl. Considering what's at stake, this could go down as the franchise's biggest blockbuster deal, knocking down to second place the trade that brought back Fran Tarkenton from the New York Giants."
Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com: "At 33, though, Moss increasingly has enhanced his reputation around the league as a contact-averse, one-trick pony -- albeit a productive one who remains capable of changing a game downfield and commanding coverage adjustments that open things up for teammates."