BBAO: Gloves gone for Matthew Stafford

We're Black and Blue All Over:

It's official. Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford won't be wearing his infamous gloves Sunday night when the Lions play at the New Orleans Saints. Chris McCosky of the Detroit News includes that information in this notebook.

Whether the gloves were a coincidental circumstance or a contributing factor, the numbers are undeniable: Stafford threw nine interceptions in the three games he wore gloves to protect a fractured right index finger. The finger has healed enough to allow him to play without the splint that the gloves were holding in place.

Stafford said playing without the gloves will be "more normal" but has steadfastly refused to blame them, or the injury, for his run of interceptions.

Continuing around the NFC North:

  • The Saints have learned how to deal with the adversity the Lions are experiencing, writes McCosky.

  • Jamie Samuelsen of the Detroit Free Press cautions about drawing connections between Lions coach Jim Schwartz and defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh.

  • Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press-Gazette: "Barring an unexpected disciplinary ruling by the NFL this week, outside linebacker Erik Walden will start for the Green Bay Packers on Sunday against the New York Giants."

  • Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel speaks with Evan Dietrich-Smith, who will man the Packers' right guard position for at least the next few weeks.

  • Dietrich-Smith, via Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com: "It’s not really cool to be famous for getting stepped on, but it doesn’t really matter to me."

  • Chicago Bears receiver/kick returner Devin Hester is dealing with a number of leg injuries that are preventing him from playing receiver, notes Vaughn McClure of the Chicago Tribune.

  • Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz on the decision to call a throwback screen Sunday at the Oakland Raiders, via Mark Potash of the Chicago Sun-Times: "I've thrown that for 20 years, and it's never been anything but a good play. We didn't execute it well. And the ball got tipped. Screens aren't hard. It's just that something happened. I didn't think twice about the call."

  • Melissa Isaacson of ESPNChicago.com examines the reduced production of Bears running back Matt Forte over the past three games.

  • Minnesota Vikings coach Leslie Frazier isn't planning to lighten the load of prominent players down the stretch, according to 1500ESPN.com.

  • Frazier on not using young players more liberally, via Mark Craig of the Star Tribune: "Well, you still want to give yourself a chance to win, without jeopardizing. You want to be smart about when you put a guy out there."

  • Jeremy Fowler of the St. Paul Pioneer Press looks at the college rivalry between-now Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder and Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow.