We're Black and Blue All Over:
How concerned should the Chicago Bears be about their offense? ESPNChicago.com's Jeff Dickerson and Michael C. Wright examined that question as part of this Four Downs post.
Dickerson wrote that despite the ample set of skill players on the offense, it hasn't looked sharp, and that quarterback Jay Cutler has been intercepted "far too often." Those interceptions might be cause for concern, but Wright countered: "It's important to remember that the Bears are executing a brand new offense, and the truth is the first-teamers executed fairly well" in the preseason opener against the Carolina Panthers.
My sense is that it's unreasonable to expect the Bears to work out all of their kinks before the regular season starts. The development of the offense will continue into the regular season. The trick is finding enough things they can do well right away to give them a chance to win during the early part of their schedule.
Continuing around the NFC North:
The Bears need defensive ends Corey Wootton and Shea McClellin to elevate their games regardless of who starts, writes Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune.
Rick Morrissey of the Chicago Sun-Times: "The Bears just can’t seem to get the offensive line right. As long as that’s an issue, we never really will get a definitive answer about whether Cutler is the franchise quarterback so many people desperately want him to be. It’s like trying to judge the talent of an artist who uses defective brushes."
Detroit Lions teammates think that tight end Brandon Pettigrew is poised for a career year. More from Kyle Meinke of Mlive.com.
Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press checks in with Lions quarterback hopeful Thaddeus Lewis.
Josh Katzenstein of the Detroit News profiles Lions undrafted rookie Darren Keyton, a local product trying to make the team as an offensive lineman.
Minnesota Vikings players failed in a (somewhat) light-hearted attempt to convince coach Leslie Frazier to not have a full-pads practice Monday. More from Mark Craig of the Star Tribune.
Ben Goessling of the St. Paul Pioneer Press: "As the Vikings have waited to get a look at Desmond Bishop in a game at weak-side linebacker, they've been able to evaluate Marvin Mitchell, who has been practicing with the first team at the position and started there in the preseason opener last Friday. Mitchell, who played 11 games and started one at middle linebacker for the Vikings last year, re-signed with the team on a one-year deal last spring. He has put himself in the mix for a starting job, especially as Bishop misses time with a groin injury."
Vikings rookie punter Jeff Locke needs to even out his performances, writes Andrew Krammer of 1500ESPN.com.
Green Bay Packers running back DuJuan Harris is hoping to back up coach Mike McCarthy's faith in him, writes Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
There was a grain of truth to the "Applebees line" of former Packers place-kicker Ryan Longwell, notes Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com. Longwell is set to retire as a Packer on Tuesday.
The Packers' place-kicker competition has intensified, writes ESPN.com's Rob Demovsky.
Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press-Gazette: "Lane Taylor might be this year's Don Barclay."