We're Black and Blue All Over:
It appears the Green Bay Packers' success will cost them at least one prominent member of their organization. Reggie McKenzie, the director of football operations who has been a key talent evaluator for the team since 1994, is set to become the general manager of the Oakland Raiders. ESPN's Adam Schefter has the story.
McKenzie was originally hired by former Packers general manager Ron Wolf, who has been advising the Raiders on their search. He will be the second member of Packers general manager Ted Thompson's front office to be hired in a similar role elsewhere; two years ago, executive John Schneider became the Seattle Seahawks' general manager.
McKenzie had been linked to the Chicago Bears' job because of his friendship with Bears coach Lovie Smith, but it appears the Raiders swooped in first.
The Packers are also monitoring the interviews of offensive coordinator Joe Philbin, who has drawn interest for the head-coaching job in Kansas City and Miami. Quarterbacks coach Tom Clements was a candidate for the Penn State job, but it appears he will be staying after reports that New England Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien will be hired.
Continuing around the NFC North:
The father of Packers guard T.J. Lang passed away Thursday, notes Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com.
Being the top seed in the playoffs is no guarantee of postseason success, notes Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press-Gazette.
Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Packers cornerback Tramon Williams: "But, bottom line, Williams' hasn't been the same shut-down, no-trespassing cover man of a year ago. For the Packers to return to the Super Bowl, they may need him to be. Williams remains confident."
Mitch Albom of the Detroit Free Press: "We've got a quarterback. No matter what happens Saturday night in New Orleans, no matter what unfolds in this first Lions playoff season since the last millennium, Detroit fans can say that sentence and take comfort in it."
Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams appears to have the following plan for dealing with Lions receiver Calvin Johnson, via Carlos Monarrez of the Free Press: "But we do play very physical, and one of the things that we do is guys that are 6-5 end up being 5-5 when they get flipped over on their head. They didn't say that the rule says that the ground couldn't hurt their head. So we've got to find ways to make the ground be a part of it. We won't make helmet-to-helmet contact."
Lions safety Louis Delmas has been silent this week as he prepares to return to the field. John Niyo of the Detroit News explains.
Last year, the Minnesota Vikings began interviewing potential replacements for offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell before firing him. It appears they're doing the same in 2011. They have scheduled former Tampa Bay Buccaneers assistant Raheem Morris for an interview Friday, according to ESPN's Chris Mortensen. Current defensive coordinator Fred Pagac remains employed.
Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton wants all stadium proposals from all sites in his hands by Jan. 12. More from the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
Jeff Dickerson of ESPNChicago.com looks at four candidates for the Chicago Bears' general manager job.
The Bears stack up well against other teams seeking general managers, writes Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun-Times.
The only candidate believed to have been contacted for the job is Baltimore Ravens executive Eric DeCosta, according to Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune.