We're Black and Blue All Over:
Here's an interesting possibility for how the Detroit Lions might use new slot receiver Mike Thomas, whom they acquired Tuesday from the Jacksonville Jaguars: out of the backfield in a pass-catching role the Lions once intended for tailback Jahvid Best. I heard that through the grapevine Tuesday night, and it's also in Dave Birkett's report for the Detroit Free Press.
NFL teams have blurred the lines between running backs and receivers this season, especially in the NFC North. The Minnesota Vikings have used Percy Harvin frequently out of the backfield and have even given him 18 carries, while the Green Bay Packers used Randall Cobb in the backfield often during the early portion of the season.
I don't know that the Lions envision such a frequent or immediate role for Thomas, but he has the potential to give them some explosiveness they currently lack out of the backfield in passing situations.
Continuing around the NFC North:
The Lions' banged-up secondary has allowed only one 100-yard receiver this season, notes Josh Katzenstein of the Detroit News.
Anwar S. Richardson of Mlive.com on Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford: "Stafford's performance against Seattle this past Sunday was a good first step. His next steps are to help his team go into halftime with a lead, finally throw a touchdown pass to Calvin Johnson, and not stage a fourth quarterback comeback, but put away a team."
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers on the team's running game, via Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com: "Obviously we have to run the ball better. If we can do that, we're going to have the opportunity to make some of those play-action gains, make some of those gains in the big plays over the top --- and then you're going to see the runs in the fourth quarter pick up. I think that's maybe the one area we haven't been effective."
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel looks at the Packers' special teams.
Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press-Gazette doesn't think the Packers will make a move for St. Louis Rams running back Steven Jackson.
Judd Zulgad of 1500ESPN.com wonders if the Minnesota Vikings were sending a message to punter Chris Kluwe, who has been inconsistent this season, by working out former San Diego State and Indianapolis Colts punter Brian Stahovich.
The public is too quick to draw conclusions about the Vikings based on each week's performance, writes Mark Craig of the Star Tribune.
Former Vikings quarterback Fran Tarkenton, writing for the St. Paul Pioneer Press, thinks the team will rebound and win Sunday at the Seattle Seahawks.
Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher on ESPN 1000 radio: "If the fans want to boo, why can't we say what we want to say? They're allowed to say what they want, so can we."
Bears quarterback Jay Cutler "quickly is becoming the most scrutinized civic treasure since the Picasso sculpture was unveiled 45 years ago," writes Mike Mulligan of the Chicago Tribune.
The Bears miss receiver Johnny Knox's ability to stretch a defense with his raw speed, writes Mark Potash of the Chicago Sun-Times.