Black and Blue all over: Go west

May, 13, 2009
5/13/09
7:00
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Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert

Green Bay officials made an interesting and aggressive move Tuesday by holding a promotional tour stop in Hudson, Wis. As most Upper Midwesterners know, Hudson is only a couple interstate exits away from the Minnesota state line and in many ways has become a suburb of St. Paul. I'd say it's 45 minutes, tops, from the Metrodome in Minneapolis.

But it's obviously border territory for the marketing arms of two NFC North teams. According to Patrick Reusse of the Star Tribune, tickets for Tuesday's event sold out the first day they were available. About 1,000 Packers fans flocked to Hudson to visit with team president Mark Murphy, safety Nick Collins, receiver Jordy Nelson and linebacker Brady Poppinga.

Murphy found himself answering questions about the organization's relationship with retired quarterback Brett Favre, who apparently is mulling a trip across the border himself. (Murphy reiterated that the Packers will retire Favre's number one day, according to Judd Zulgad of the Star Tribune.)

More interesting than the Favre issue, however, was the Packers' efforts to mobilize western Wisconsin. Reusse reports it's the first time they have visited Hudson in such a formal way. I'm guessing it won't be the last.

Continuing around the NFC North:

  • Poppinga on the Packers' decision to draft USC linebacker Clay Matthews: "I love playing with great players and I think he has at least the perception he could be one of those guys. To have a guy like that on our team only makes our team better. It's great." Greg A. Bedard of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has the story.
  • Missed this from the weekend: Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune considers Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers perhaps the most important newcomer in the division.
  • Detroit is being patient with offensive tackle Lydon Murtha, a seventh-round draft pick who isn't ready to practice yet because of a back injury, reports Joanne C. Gerstner of the Detroit News.
  • Carlos Monarrez of the Detroit Free Press notes that new offensive coordinator Scott Linehan typically makes good use of tight ends, one of the reasons the Lions selected Brandon Pettigrew with the No. 20 overall pick of the draft.
  • Bob LeGere of the Daily Herald notes common themes in the complaints of former Chicago tailback Thomas Jones, who reportedly is now unhappy with the New York Jets.
  • Bears backup quarterback Caleb Hanie has developed a close bond with new starter Jay Cutler, writes Jeff Dickerson of ESPN Chicago.

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