We're Black and Blue All Over:
With so much discussion recently about the future of Chicago Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz, we've hardly noted that another prominent Bears assistant also has an expiring contract and is uncertain to return.
Highly regarded special teams coordinator Dave Toub is a coaching "free agent" and has aspirations to be a head coach. In a story first reported by the Chicago Tribune, Toub is a candidate for the Miami Dolphins' job and has been scheduled for an interview.
Toub would seem likely to return to Chicago if he doesn't get the Dolphins job, but as a free agent he would have the opportunity to field offers to fulfill the same job elsewhere. The Bears might have to match a big contract offer to retain him. Stay tuned.
Continuing around the NFC North:
Bears coach Lovie Smith was pretty neutral on the future of Martz during a news conference, notes Michael C. Wright of ESPNChicago.com.
Here's how Melissa Isaacson of ESPNChicago.com interpreted Smith's comments on Martz: "In Lovie-speak, that reads as much like Martz is not coming back as anything short of a press release announcing it."
Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune grades the Bears' offense.
The Detroit Lions aren't just happy to be in the playoffs, writes Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.
The Lions haven't been great with their blitz, writes Chris McCosky of the Detroit News.
The Lions' front seven deserves some of the blame for giving up 480 passing yards to Green Bay Packers quarterback Matt Flynn, writes Philip Zaroo of Mlive.com.
The Packers are considering making Brad Jones their starting right outside linebacker for the playoffs, according to Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
The Packers are an awfully healthy team heading into the playoffs, writes Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press-Gazette.
After finishing last year with 15 players on injured reserve, the Packers have six at the moment, notes Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com.
Minnesota Vikings players are bracing for significant personnel changes in 2012, writes Chip Scoggins of the Star Tribune.
The Vikings have nearly 20 free agents heading into the offseason, notes Jeremy Fowler of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com breaks down the tape of the Vikings' loss to the Bears, noting among other things that rookie tight end Kyle Rudolph got more snaps than veteran Visanthe Shiancoe for the third consecutive week.