NFC North: Chris Polk

The Film Don't Lie: Packers

November, 11, 2014
Nov 11
A weekly look at what the Green Bay Packers must fix:

The film review from Sunday's 55-14 victory over the Chicago Bears was so easy that coach Mike McCarthy said he and his staff moved on to the Philadelphia Eagles earlier on Monday than they usually would to start on the opponent.

But one area they need to shore up is their special teams coverage units after allowing the Bears' Chris Williams to return a fourth-quarter kickoff 101 yards for a touchdown.

Sure, it came in garbage time with the Packers already leading 55-7. And yes, the Packers had several backups on their coverage team. But the Eagles bring a dangerous return game to Lambeau Field on Sunday.

In case they needed to be reminded, it was on display Monday night against the Carolina Panthers. Veteran Darren Sproles returned a punt 65 yards for a touchdown in the first half against the Panthers, who foolishly kicked right down the middle of the field to Sproles. That was Sproles’ second punt return for a touchdown this season. Kickoff returner Chris Polk already has a 102-yard return for a touchdown this season; it came in Week 3 against the Washington Redskins.

The Packers came out of Sunday's game ranked 26th in the league in kickoff coverage, allowing an average of 26.07 yards per return. However, their punt coverage unit has fared much better, ranking fifth in the league after allowing an average of only 5.87 yards per return.

The Packers should be able to neutralize Sproles with Tim Masthay's outstanding directional punting. Masthay is averaging a career-best 41.38 net yards per punt.
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, 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: