BBAO: Musical chairs for Lions QBs


We're Black and Blue (and a bit late-rising) All Over:

The Detroit Lions are entering another practice week with significant uncertainty, at least from the outside, about the identity of their starting quarterback.

Drew Stanton has started the Lions' past three games but suffered a third-degree separation of his left shoulder in Sunday's victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, according to Tim Twentyman of the Detroit News. Tom Kowalski of Mlive.com reports that the injury might not be a deal breaker for Stanton, who obviously throws right-handed.

But No. 2 quarterback Shaun Hill (finger) returned to practice last week and might be ready to start regardless Sunday at the Miami Dolphins. It seems unlikely that starter Matthew Stafford (shoulder) will be ready for this game.

Continuing a quick mid-morning tour of the NFC North:

  • Lions coach Jim Schwartz's exuberant postgame celebration Sunday is all over YouTube, writes John Niyo of the Detroit News.

  • The Lions don't want Sunday's game to be the highlight of their season, writes Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.

  • David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune after the Chicago Bears clinched the NFC North title Monday night: "We can stop wondering how good the Bears are now. They are good enough to be one of 12 NFL teams to qualify for the playoffs, currently in position for a first-round bye. We can stop referring to their coach as 'Lucky' Smith too. Breaks every step of the way indeed have been part of the Bears' surprising resurgence -- and it was again with Adrian Peterson missing Monday night's game with a leg injury. But the Bears can say without apology they are more good than lucky."

  • Rick Morrissey of the Chicago Sun-Times: "They won a division title by knocking [Brett] Favre out of the game and ignoring all the pregame focus on the conditions at the University of Minnesota's field."

  • Bears rookie defensive end Corey Wootton on the sack that gave Favre a concussion, via Jeff Dickerson of ESPNChicago.com: "We had a pass-rush stunt and I just came around the edge and was able to get by Bryant McKinnie. I was able to get the sack and throw him to the ground, and I looked up and saw he was down. I didn't know [he was hurt] until I looked back. I didn't even know the ball came out, people were telling me it was a fumble."

  • Michael C. Wright of ESPNChicago.com: "Despite clinching the playoff berth that comes with a division title, the Bears want to hold on to their No. 2 seeding, which assures them a bye for the first round of the playoffs. That's the reason for the team's all-business demeanor in what should have been a celebratory postgame locker room."

  • Jon Greenberg of ESPNChicago.com: "[Lovie] Smith usually shows as much emotion as a parking meter, but he was glowing after the game in his NFC North title hat and shirt."

  • The Green Bay Packers don't know if they'll have quarterback Aaron Rodgers (concussion) for Sunday's game against the New York Giants, writes Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com. But they're more confident than ever with backup Matt Flynn.

  • Gary D'Amato of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: "So how in the world did the Packers lose, 31-27, at Gillette Stadium on Sunday night? The same way they lost their other five games this season: by failing to convert in critical short-yardage situations, by committing costly penalties and by making game-changing blunders on special teams."

  • Sunday's game at Lambeau Field must be considered a playoff game, writes Kareem Copeland of the Green Bay Press-Gazette.

  • Judd Zulgad of the Star Tribune: "Vikings executives spent last week working diligently to make sure Monday night's game was played in front of their home fans in part because it was meant to serve as a celebration of the franchise's 50th season in Minnesota. That was their first mistake. Given the team's performance in its 40-14, five-turnover loss to Chicago at TCF Bank Stadium, those execs might have done their fans a greater service by having shifted this game as far away from snowy Minnesota as possible. That way, many in the announced crowd of 40,504 wouldn't have had to witness a second consecutive listless performance from a team that might have played in the elements but mentally appeared to be in Maui."

  • Tom Powers of the St. Paul Pioneer Press: "How do you squeeze 62,000 ticket holders into a 50,000-seat stadium? It's very easy when 22,000 of them say "no thanks" and stay home. There was plenty of elbow room. Unfortunately for those hearty souls who did brave the slippery roads, the Vikings don't play any better outdoors than they do indoors. My guess is that they wouldn't play any better under water or at zero gravity, either. They will not win another game this season. And, please, somebody put poor Brett Favre on the injured reserve list before he winds up permanently taking his meals through a straw."

  • Monday night's loss to the Bears was a "sleepwalk," writes Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com.