NFC North: Chris Ballard

We're Black and Blue All Over:

The Chicago Bears have completed a restructuring of their front office following the departure of two key employees.

According to the team's website, Kevin Turks has been promoted to director of pro personnel and Dwayne Joseph has been made the associate director of pro personnel. The pair moved up after the departure of director of pro personnel Chris Ballard, who is now the Kansas City Chiefs' director of player personnel.

As Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune notes, scout Ted Monago was allowed to depart for a promotion as the St. Louis Rams' new national scout. Earlier this offseason, the Bears let go of regional scout James Kirkland. Finally, the Bears have hired Ryan Kessenich as a new scout. He has spent four seasons with the Chiefs.

New general managers often shake up the front office after their first draft, and the Bears' Phil Emery made a number of changes last year at this time. These most recent adjustments appear to be the coincidental result of several promotions available to current staff.

Continuing around the NFC North:
  • Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press: "The [Detroit] Lions took punter Sam Martin in the fifth round of last month’s draft with the expectation that he’ll steady what has arguably been their most unsettled position the last few years. Though most of the league’s top punters were drafted coming out of college, recent history suggests that drafting a specialist is no guarantee of present or future success."
  • Lions coach Jim Schwartz on rookie guard Larry Warford, via Chris McCosky of the Detroit News: "I don't know if you can say 'Larry' without saying 'big' in front of it. He probably hasn't been just Larry since he was about five years old; he was Big Larry."
  • The Green Bay Packers will wear their throwback uniforms Oct. 20 against the Cleveland Browns, notes Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers has called the pants of that uniform "the most comfortable pants I've ever worn."
  • Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on the busy week of Packers draft pick Micah Hyde: "On Wednesday, he'll appear in court for a public intoxication charge from October. On Thursday, he'll fly to Green Bay for rookie orientation. On Sunday, he'll fly back to Iowa to take two exams. And then, it's off to Green Bay again."
  • Packers draft pick Nate Palmer made only one pre-draft visit, and it was to Green Bay, notes Weston Hodkiewicz of the Green Bay Press-Gazette.
  • Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com has the list of bonuses the Minnesota Vikings gave to their undrafted rookie class.
  • The Vikings signed undrafted rookie receiver Adam Thielen after their rookie minicamp, notes Ben Goessling of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. That means they are unlikely to sign Duron Carter, the son of Hall of Fame receiver Cris Carter, who also tried out for a roster spot, at least for now.
  • Mike Rand of the Star Tribune has a Q&A with Cris Carter.
We're Black and Blue All Over:

Conventional wisdom suggests Monday could be the day the Minnesota Vikings part ways with punter Chris Kluwe.

As we've discussed, the Vikings made UCLA punter Jeff Locke their fifth-round draft pick last month. Teams rarely use draft picks on specialists if they haven't decided to make a change, and Locke went through a three-day minicamp over the weekend with the rest of the Vikings' rookies.

Kluwe has told Chip Scoggins of the Star Tribune and others that he is scheduled to meet Monday with general manager Rick Spielman, presumably after the Vikings had seen what they needed to see from Locke in rookie minicamp. The Vikings followed a similar approach when transitioning last year from veteran place-kicker Ryan Longwell to rookie Blair Walsh. Stay tuned.

Let's continue around the NFC North:
  • Scoggins: "Kluwe’s departure will make the Vikings locker room a lot more dull because he is incredibly intelligent, articulate and passionate about societal issues. He's a fascinating individual in a sport that breeds conformity. The NFL has become so big and so powerful that players often cling to political correctness for fear that a ripple might swell into a tidal wave. Kluwe is that surfer dude on top of the wave, hanging 10 on any issue that stirs his emotion."
  • Linebacker Gerald Hodges said he didn't come to the Vikings to be a backup. More from Andrew Krammer of 1500ESPN.com.
  • Duron Carter, the son of Hall of Fame receiver Cris Carter, was "nervous" on the opening day of Vikings rookie minicamp, according to Ben Goessling of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Carter was among 34 players trying out for a roster spot.
  • Weston Hodkiewicz of the Green Bay Press-Gazette profiles Green Bay Packers draft pick Datone Jones, whose mother never wanted him to play football.
  • The Packers' annual shareholder meeting is scheduled for June 24, notes Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com.
  • Receiver Myles White, signed by the Packers as a rookie free agent, is fast. Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel explains.
  • Anwar S. Richardson of Mlive.com doesn't think the Detroit Lions and quarterback Matthew Stafford will reach a contract agreement this offseason.
  • There are still questions about the protection Stafford will receive this season, writes Josh Katzenstein of the Detroit News.
  • It's pretty evident that Lions rookie defensive end Ziggy Ansah is smart, writes Carlos Monarrez of the Detroit Free Press.
  • Chicago Bears director of pro scouting Chris Ballard has departed to join the Kansas City Chiefs' front office, according to Jeff Dickerson of ESPNChicago.com.
  • Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune examines some of the athletic and physical measurements of the Bears' draft class. Among them: First-round draft pick Kyle Long has 15.8 percent body fat, lowest among all offensive linemen tested at the scouting combine.

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