We're Black and Blue All Over:
The Chicago Bears' re-creation of the Denver Broncos' 2008 offense includes the quarterback (Jay Cutler), the primary receiver (Brandon Marshall) and one of the key assistant coaches (Jeremy Bates). But who will play the role of Eddie Royal, the slot receiver who caught 91 passes for the Broncos that season?
Here's an idea, courtesy Jeff Dickerson of ESPNChicago.com: Earl Bennett. In fact, Bennett has already reached out to Royal via phone and discussed the possibilities. Here's how Bennett recounted the conversation following a Bears minicamp practice this week:
"I picked his brain about this offense and the role of the slot guy and also playing outside. Both of us play the position pretty much the same way. We both have the same fundamentals, get in and out our routes the same way and have good body control. Eddie is probably a little quicker than I am but there are definitely similarities between the two of us. He's one of the guys I call and ask about the plays and he helps me out with that.' We watch tape and I see what Eddie did right and what Eddie did wrong in the offense when he played. I just want to come out, stay focused, make plays and learn from what he and Brandon Stokley did in this offense."
Bennett predicted the Bears could have "three or four" receivers exceed the 1,000-yard mark this season, an accomplishment that not even that 2008 Broncos offense achieved. But in the middle of June, at least, anything and everything seems possible. Why not?
Continuing around the NFC North:
ESPNChicago.com offers observations of the second day of Bears minicamp.
Rookie safety Brandon Hardin is standing out in Bears spring practices, writes Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune. Hardin's 6-foot-3 frame is largely responsible for that.
New Bears cornerback Kelvin Hayden is pursuing a starting job, writes Neil Hayes of the Chicago Sun-Times.
Detroit Lions receiver Titus Young has had "a good run" since returning to spring practices, coach Jim Schwartz said via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.
Lions general manager Martin Mayhew on defensive tackle Nick Fairley, via Anwar S. Richardson of Mlive.com: "He's had an outstanding offseason out here on-the-field. Not so good off-the-field, but he's been outstanding in practice here. He's worked his butt off. He's in great condition. He's done some things on tape just out here running around that make you run the tape back and go, 'Who was that?' He has a tremendous, tremendous talent level, and hopefully he can fulfill that."
Mayhew is starting to talk championships, writes John Niyo of the Detroit News.
Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy on taking his team clay shooting Wednesday, via Mike Spofford of Packers.com: "It's definitely an event that generates a lot of testosterone. We just wanted to change it up. We have a number of guys who are avid hunters, and we have guys who have never shot a gun. We just wanted to do something different to get them away from Lambeau."
Packers receiver Diondre Borel has been turning heads this spring, reports Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press-Gazette.
The NFL has approved the use of Adderall by Packers defensive end Mike Neal, according to Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com. Neal said that his unapproved use of the drug led to his four-game suspension to open this season.
Minnesota Vikings linebacker Erin Henderson is ready to move out of his brother's shadow, writes Brian Murphy of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph via the Pioneer Press: "I want to be the best tight end in the league, not just an emerging tight end. I come out here every day with that mindset."
New Vikings guard Geoff Schwartz is working on conditioning as the final step in recovery from hip surgery, according to Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com.