We're Black and Blue All Over:
Good morning. With three quarters of the NFC North now officially into their offseason, I thought it would be a good time to remind everyone of our priorities here on the NFC North blog. (Not that I don't expect and welcome your usual stream of suggestions, of course.)
We'll spend more time on playoff games than anything else. That means the percentages will shift a bit toward the Green Bay Packers until their season ends, whenever that may be. A good part of this week, then, will be about the Packers' upcoming divisional game against the New York Giants. Some of you might not be interested, but hang in there.
Our second priority is reacting to front office and coaching news. That means we'll keep a regular eye on the Chicago Bears' general manager search, the state of the Minnesota Vikings' defensive coaching staff and any changes that might occur for the Detroit Lions. The Vikings' stadium push will also be on our front burner.
Finally, when we have a chance, we'll circle back on some of our preseason themes to evaluate how they worked out.
For now, of course, let's take a morning spin around local coverage in the division:
Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: "The 2011 Packers don't have many reasons to dwell on the NFC Championship Game loss to the New York Giants four years ago, but they won't be able to avoid the growing sentiment that their upcoming divisional playoff game against the Giants is headed in the same direction."
The Packers knew they would face an opponent they had already played in the regular season. Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press-Gazette looks at whether that's an advantage.
Packers receiver Greg Jennings, appearing on ESPN 1050 in New York, chose his current quarterback (Aaron Rodgers) over his previous one (Brett Favre).
Minnesota lawmakers are increasingly telling the Vikings that their plan to build a stadium in suburban Arden Hills won't work, according to Baird Helgeson of the Star Tribune.
Vikings general manager Rick Spielman said that "nothing" is off the table in rebuilding the team, according to 1500ESPN.com.
Vikings coach Leslie Frazier will coach the North team at the Senior Bowl.
The Bears are considering two former coaches of quarterback Jay Cutler for their quarterbacks coach/passing coordinator job, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. They are Jeremy Bates and Jedd Fisch.
Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun-Times wonders whether Giants college scouting director Marc Ross could emerge as a candidate for the Bears' general manager job.
It's possible the Bears will go with Jerry Angelo protégé Tim Ruskell for the job, writes Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune.
The New Orleans Saints had success Saturday night running at Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, notes Justin Rogers of Mlive.com.
The Lions need to assess some of their shortcomings this offseason, writes Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.
John Niyo of the Detroit News: "For the Lions, this season's success -- a 10-win campaign capped by the franchise's first playoff spot since 1999 -- can't be viewed as anything more than a first step. Not if they want to get where they're going."