We're Black and Blue All Over:
Here's a jarring nugget from Dave Birkett's story in the Detroit Free Press on the Detroit Lions' defensive line: None of their top four defensive ends have had a double-digit sack season, either in the NFL or college.
That group includes current first-teamers Jason Jones and Willie Young, along with top backups Ziggy Ansah and Israel Idonije. Double-digit sack totals aren't necessarily the litmus test for good pass-rushers, but in this case it reflects the Lions' decision to part ways with two proven pass-rushers -- Kyle Vanden Bosch and Cliff Avril -- to pave way for an unproven group.
Here's the way Lions coach Jim Schwartz put it: "Some of our guys haven't had a career yet. Everybody's excited about the combinations that we can work out there. You're not just judged on what you've done in the past. Some of those guys are getting plugged into a different scheme. We have confidence in those guys being able to execute the blitzes we have and also the four-man rushes that we have."
Continuing around the NFC North:
Chris McCosky of the Detroit News: "This is a bad year to be a developmental player in Lions camp. If you are a sixth- or seventh-round pick, this year or last, if you are an undrafted rookie, if you are inexperienced and unproven, your potential or upside might not be enough to keep you on the 53-man roster."
The Lions appear comfortable with their situation at offensive tackle, writes Justin Rogers of Mlive.com.
Everyone has an opinion on Minnesota Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder, writes Dan Wiederer of the Star Tribune.
Ben Goessling of the St. Paul Pioneer Press: "If there was going to be any kind of a rivalry between Erin Henderson and Desmond Bishop -- two linebackers who theoretically could have been fighting for the same spot on the Vikings' roster -- detente began over Twitter."
Andrew Krammer of 1500ESPN.com speaks with Vikings rookie linebacker Michael Mauti, who is attempting to come back from a string of knee injuries.
Melissa Isaacson of ESPNChicago.com thinks that Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler is "quite possibly looking at going from a starting quarterback some (albeit) misguidedly label as top tier, to a player teetering on the edge of No. 2 status."
The Bears have experimented with various offensive line combinations in training camp. More from Adam L. Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times.
Bears returner Devin Hester on the NFL's decision to eliminate kickoffs from the Pro Bowl, via Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune: "If you are taking the returner out of the Pro Bowl, you're taking two positions out. That will suck for me. They are trying to change up the whole game of football and they're messing with people's jobs and lives."
B.J. Coleman hasn't given up on being the Green Bay Packers' No. 2 quarterback, writes Lori Nickel of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
The Packers' second tier of receivers is talented, according to the Green Bay Press-Gazette.
David Bakhtiari is ascending the Packers' depth chart at offensive tackle, writes Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com.