Thursday, April 19, 2012
BBAO: Bears seeking linebacker depth
By Kevin Seifert
We're Black and Blue All Over:
It's safe to say the Chicago Bears are interested in upgrading their depth at linebacker after a whirlwind of veteran free-agent visits this week. According to ESPNChicago.com, the list includes Rocky McIntosh, Bryan Kehl and Zac Diles.
The Bears were thin at the position last year behind starters Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs and Nick Roach. But anyone they sign at this point should be viewed as a backup who could potentially compete with Roach to start during training camp.
The bigger issue the Bears face is finding eventual replacements for Urlacher, who turns 34 next month and Briggs, who turns 32 in November. That work will have to be done during the draft.
Continuing around the NFC North:
- The Bears signed veteran guard Chilo Rachal, notes Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune.
- The Bears will "do just fine" with defensive tackle Henry Melton, writes Dan Pompei of the Tribune.
- The NFL has turned up the heat on the Minnesota Vikings' stadium situation, but at least one state legislator wasn't happy to hear the league trying to "drive policy" for state government, according to Doug Belden of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
- Sid Hartman of the Star Tribune repeats a familiar message: Replacing a relocated team is always more expensive than giving the original team a new stadium.
- Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton has spoken with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, according to the Associated Press via 1500ESPN.com. Another conversation is expected Thursday morning, which will include Pittsburgh Steelers owner Art Rooney.
- Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews privately lamented the loss of defensive end Cullen Jenkins last season, writes Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press-Gazette.
- Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel begins his position-by-position draft evaluations with quarterbacks.
- Young Detroit Lions players will benefit from the team's offseason program, writes Justin Rogers of Mlive.com.
- Washington running back Chris Polk could be a target of the Lions, writes Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.
- Lions season-ticket sales appear to be brisk this spring, according to Eric Lacy of the Detroit News.