We're Black and Blue All Over:
Good Monday morning to everyone. It doesn't get a whole lot bigger than the first week of organized team activities, or OTAs as we call them in the business, and that's exactly the point we've reached in the NFL offseason.
The Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers have scheduled their first OTAs of the spring for Monday, and the Chicago Bears will have one Tuesday. The Minnesota Vikings will open OTAs a week from Tuesday. Over on our NFL Nation blog, we have a comprehensive schedule of all 32 team's OTA schedules.
For newcomers, OTAs are on-field practices without pads or (presumably) contact. Some are open to the media, so expect to see some coverage in the coming days of how your favorite players are performing in jerseys and shorts.
Before we move on to our morning roundup, I want to thank everyone for their feedback to Friday's post on our blog operations. If you missed the post and/or want to share further thoughts about what you like and don't like, by all means hit up the mailbag.
OK, now, continuing around the NFC North:
Here's a smart analysis of the Bears' negotiations with tailback Matt Forte from Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune. Pompei suggests a fair deal could include about $20 million in guaranteed money.
In this ESPNChicago.com video, ESPN's Cris Carter says that the ability to "catch the ball and separate" is what makes Bears receiver Brandon Marshall so good.
Bears linebacker Lance Briggs isn't concerned about Marshall's off-field behavior, writes Vaughn McClure of the Tribune.
The running back position is one of the storylines for the Lions' first OTA, writes Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.
Running back Kevin Smith thinks the Lions will have a better running game in 2012, notes Anwar S. Richardson of Mlive.com.
Carlos Monarrez of the Free Press takes a look at some of the young cornerbacks the Lions added this offseason.
Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel looks at the three young Packers receivers who will vie for roster spots this summer: Diondre Borel, Shaky Smithson and Tori Gurley.
Keeping receiver Donald Driver on the roster goes "against everything the Packers regime believes in," writes Tom Oates of the Wisconsin State Journal.
Mike Vandermause of the Green Bay Press-Gazette: "[I] t can be argued [Packers coach Mike] McCarthy is underpaid compared to some of his coaching brethren residing in the exclusive $7 million club."
The Vikings signed former Bears offensive lineman Levi Horn, notes Judd Zulgad of 1500ESPN.com.
Tom Powers of the St. Paul Pioneer Press: "The Vikings were 3-13 last season. Zygi and Mark Wilf and the entire Wilf family had a lot to do with that because for more than a year no one was in charge at Winter Park. In fact, the coach and personnel director often were at odds. It wasn't until after the season that [Rick] Spielman was given control after a leaguewide search netted, well, Spielman."