NFC North: Dewayne White

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Bryant McKinnie, Minnesota left tackle. Julius Peppers' arrival in the NFC North is another hit in a tough offseason for McKinnie. In a nationally televised matchup last December, Peppers dominated McKinnie so thoroughly that the Vikings eventually benched him. In that game, Peppers notched one sack, had three quarterback hits and also batted down a pass. As Chicago's top free-agent pickup, Peppers will now face the Vikings -- and potentially McKinnie -- twice a season. Peppers has played on both the right and left side of the defensive line in his career, but the Bears are sure to be tempted to match him up on McKinnie when the teams play in 2010.


Gunther Cunningham, Detroit defensive coordinator. Good players make for good coaches. So you can expect Cunningham to be a better coordinator in 2010 after an overhaul of the defensive line that might not be done yet. The Lions already are better at two positions, with Kyle Vanden Bosch taking over for defensive end Dewayne White and Corey Williams succeeding nose tackle Grady Jackson. If the Lions draft a defensive tackle No. 2 overall, they will have pulled together a more-than-competitive defensive front that will create more havoc in the backfield and get more heat on the quarterback. The first place to address any woebegone defense is up front, and Cunningham will be the beneficiary in 2010.
Monday's activity concluded late in the evening when Minnesota signed kickoff specialist Rhys Lloyd to a two-year contract, according to Judd Zulgad and Chip Scoggins of the Star Tribune.

Lloyd said Vikings coaches told him they hope he can one day be their full-time kicker, but that in 2010 they would retain veteran Ryan Longwell -- who was the NFL's fourth-most accurate kicker in 2009. Longwell managed only five touchbacks on kickoffs last season, creating the need for a specialist like Lloyd.

The Vikings also have mild interest in running back LaDainian Tomlinson, the Star Tribune reported, but there is nothing imminent on that front. They will need to identify a primary backup to Adrian Peterson after losing free-agent tailback Chester Taylor to Chicago.

Continuing around the NFC North:

NFC North Friday injury report

December, 4, 2009
Getting inside the Friday injury report:

Chicago Bears: Offensive lineman Orlando Pace (groin) and linebacker Lance Briggs (knee) are listed as doubtful for Sunday’s game against St. Louis. Neither are expected to play.

Detroit Lions: Receiver Eric Fowler (knee) and safety Kalvin Pearson (hamstring) won’t play Sunday against Cincinnati. … Safety Louis Delmas (ankle), guard Daniel Loper (back), linebacker Ernie Sims (hamstring) and defensive end Dewayne White (toe) are all listed as questionable. Loper isn’t expected to play. Delmas and Sims both have a good chance.

Green Bay Packers: There was a frightening situation at the end of practice Friday when linebacker Jeremy Thompson suffered what coach Mike McCarthy termed a “neck stinger.” Thompson remained on the ground and eventually was taken to a hospital. Teammates told reporters that Thompson had movement in his hands and feet. Here is coverage from the Green Bay Press-Gazette, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and ESPN Milwaukee. … Rookie offensive lineman T.J. Lang suffered a concussion in Thursday’s practice and did not participate Friday. That leaves the Packers hoping that starter Chad Clifton (hamstring) will recover in time to start Monday night against Baltimore. Green Bay will release status designations on Saturday.

Minnesota Vikings: I’ve given up trying to guess when cornerback Antoine Winfield (foot) will return. Defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier acknowledged that Winfield had a setback last week. Although he again made it through a full week of practice, I’ll believe Winfield is returning when I see him on the field. … Right guard Anthony Herrera practiced for the first time since suffering a concussion two weeks ago, but his availability for Sunday night’s game at Arizona is questionable at best. The remainder of the Vikings’ questionable players -- running back Chester Taylor (ribs) and tight end Visanthe Shiancoe (ribs) -- are expected to play.

NFC North in the evening

November, 25, 2009
Some final tidbits as the countdown continues to Packers-Lions II:

Detroit Lions: What a mess the Lions have at safety. They placed starter Ko Simpson (knee) on injured reserve and declared Kalvin Pearson (hamstring) out of the game. Fellow starter Louis Delmas (ankle) is questionable but likely to play. Still, that leaves Marvin White as the only other safety available on the active roster. White was claimed off waivers from Dallas last month. … Linebacker Ernie Sims (hamstring) has also been declared out for the game, while quarterback Matthew Stafford (shoulder) and defensive end Dwayne White (toe) are doubtful and unlikely to play. … Receiver Calvin Johnson (knee, hand) is questionable but will be limited at best if he plays.

Green Bay Packers: An MRI showed no damage on center Scott Wells’ knee, so it appears he will start Thursday. Wells told Wisconsin reporters that “nothing’s torn” and that the swelling has receded. He’s officially listed as probable. Tailback Ahman Green (groin) and tackle Allen Barbre (ankle) are the only two players the Packers likely won’t have available to them.

NFC North at night

November, 24, 2009
Today is like a Wednesday, Thursday and Friday all rolled into one for Green Bay and Detroit as they prepare for a Thanksgiving Day matchup at Ford Field. Both teams have long injury lists and a short time to get healthy. Here’s the best we can gather from both teams:

Detroit Lions: Quarterback Matthew Stafford (shoulder) and receiver Calvin Johnson (hand/knee) were among six players who didn’t practice Tuesday. Stafford said he felt “a little sore” but it seems pretty clear that Daunte Culpepper will start in his place Thursday. Johnson’s status is less certain. Coach Jim Schwartz said: “He probably won't do much this whole week, but we'll see when it gets to Thursday, how full speed he's going to be or how much up to speed he'll be or whether he'll be able to go.” Safeties Kalvin Pearson (hamstring) and Ko Simpson (knee), linebacker Ernie Sims (hamstring) and defensive end Dewayne White (toe) also have uphill battles to play Thursday.

Green Bay Packers: Center Scott Wells (knee) didn’t practice and might not be ready to return in a short practice week. If that’s the case, rookie Evan Dietrich-Smith would become the third player to start a game at center for the Packers this season. Running back Ahman Green (groin) and tackle Allen Barbre (ankle) also didn’t practice. Brandon Jackson’s strong performance Sunday against San Francisco gives the Packers every reason to let Green heal fully before returning. Meanwhile, the Packers promoted cornerback Trevor Ford from the practice squad, according to Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press-Gazette.

Winfield, A. Green among inactives

November, 22, 2009
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Here are the highlights of the NFC North inactive lists Sunday morning:

  • Minnesota cornerback Antoine Winfield (foot) worked out before Sunday’s game against Seattle but was left off the active roster for the fourth consecutive game. Listed as doubtful, it seemed unlikely Winfield would play.
  • Green Bay running back Ahman Green, who strained a groin during practice last week, won’t play against San Francisco.
  • Detroit deactivated defensive end Dewayne White (toe) and kick returner Derrick Williams (hip). Cliff Avril will start in White’s spot and Aaron Brown likely will replace Williams. Daniel Loper will start at right guard for Stephen Peterman (ankle).

NFC North Friday injury report

November, 20, 2009
Catching up on the Friday injury report and other NFC North news:

Chicago Bears: It looks like the Bears will be without tight end Desmond Clark (neck) and safety Kevin Payne (back) on Sunday night against Philadelphia. Both players are listed as doubtful. … The Bears also placed running back Garrett Wolfe (kidney) on injured reserve and promoted running back Khalil Bell from the practice squad.

Detroit Lions: Right guard Stephen Peterman (ankle) is lost for the season. He was placed on injured reserve Friday and replaced on the roster by practice squad receiver Eric Fowler. … Linebacker Ernie Sims (hamstring) and safety Kalvin Pearson (hamstring) were ruled out for Sunday’s game against Cleveland. Other players who could be sidelined by injury include linebacker Zack Follett (neck), defensive end Dewayne White (toe) and receiver/kick returner Derrick Williams (hip).

Green Bay Packers: Center Scott Wells (concussion) returned to practice Friday and coach Mike McCarthy indicated he will start Sunday against San Francisco. That’s a good thing, because backup center Evan Dietrich-Smith (ankle) didn’t practice and is questionable for Sunday’s game. … Tailback Ahman Green strained his groin in practice Thursday and is questionable. … It looks like tight end Jermichael Finley (knee) will be available. … McCarthy said that Mark Tauscher will start at right tackle but didn’t rule out a rotation with rookie T.J. Lang.

Minnesota Vikings: It doesn’t look good for cornerback Antoine Winfield (foot) to return to the field Sunday against Seattle. He participated in three days of practice this week, but the Vikings listed him as doubtful for the game. A final determination won’t occur until Sunday, but it appears Winfield will miss his fourth consecutive game. He suffered the injury Oct. 18. … The Vikings also listed receiver Bernard Berrian (hamstring) as questionable, but he is expected to play.

NFC North at night

November, 18, 2009
Checking in on key injury situations as the NFC North practice week begins:

Chicago Bears: Center Olin Kreutz (ribs), tight end Desmond Clark (ribs) and safety Kevin Payne (back) did not practice. Coach Lovie Smith told reporters that he believes Kreutz will play Sunday night against Philadelphia.

Detroit Lions: Safety Kalvin Pearson (hamstring), guard Stephen Peterman (ankle), linebacker Ernie Sims (hamstring), defensive end Dewayne White (toe) and receiver Derrick Williams (hip) all sat out practice. According to John Niyo of the Detroit News, White is the most likely of that group to play Sunday against Cleveland.

Green Bay Packers: Tight end Jermichael Finley (knee) practiced for the first time in three weeks. His availability for Sunday’s game against San Francisco remains in question. … Linebacker Aaron Kampman (concussion) returned to practice after missing one game. … Those who sat out practice include: linebacker Desmond Bishop (ankle), defensive end Cullen Jenkins (ankle) and linebacker Brady Poppinga (quadriceps).

Minnesota Vikings: Cornerback Antoine Winfield (foot) participated in practice on a limited basis but said nothing has occurred to suggest he won’t be able to play Sunday against Seattle. A final decision won’t come until Sunday morning, but it appears only a setback will keep Winfield off the field.

NFC North Friday injury report

November, 13, 2009
Detroit Lions: Linebacker Ernie Sims (hamstring) was ruled out of Sunday’s game against Minnesota. He’s likely to be replaced by rookie DeAndre Levy. Middle linebacker Larry Foote (knee), linebacker Jordon Dizon (neck) and defensive lineman Dewayne White (toe) are questionable. Foote, however, returned to practice Friday and said he plans to play.

Green Bay Packers: Four players have been ruled out for Sunday’s game against Dallas: Tight end Jermichael Finley (knee), linebacker Aaron Kampman (concussion), linebacker Brady Poppinga (quadriceps) and tackle Mark Tauscher (knee). Linebacker Brandon Chillar (hand) is questionable but wouldn’t have a big role if he does play Sunday. All other players will be available. Coach Mike McCarthy told Wisconsin reporters that rookie Brad Jones would start in place of Kampman and that rookie T.J. Lang would start for Tauscher.

Minnesota Vikings: As expected, cornerback Antoine Winfield (foot) is at least a week away from returning. The Vikings ruled him out on their injury report. They should have no other injury-related absences Sunday. Punt returner Darius Reynaud will be available but might not be active based on other rosters decisions.

Third and one: Lions

November, 9, 2009
Posted by’s Kevin Seifert

After Detroit’s 32-20 loss at Seattle, here are three (mostly) indisputable facts I feel relatively sure about:
  1. Some of coach Jim Schwartz’s lineup changes are taking on a Belichickian quality. Schwartz got his NFL start under Bill Belichick in Cleveland. And like his mentor, Schwartz isn’t afraid to match starting lineups with an opponent’s strengths and weaknesses. On Sunday, that meant deactivating nose tackle Grady Jackson and jumbling his starting lineup. Schwartz started three defensive ends -- Turk McBride, Cliff Avril and Dewayne White -- and linebacker Julian Peterson as his four defensive lineman in a nickel arrangement. (At least, that’s what the NFL’s official gamebook reported.) That smaller, quicker group helped limit Seattle tailback Julius Jones to 36 yards on 16 carries. Unfortunately, the Lions couldn’t do much to stop quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, who completed 39 of his 51 attempts.
  2. I’m continually amazed by the revolving door not only in the Lions’ starting lineup, but on their roster overall. Three of their starters Sunday -- McBride, nickelback Kevin Hobbs and safety Ko Simpson -- joined the team after Sept. 1. I don’t know that any of them have futures with the team, but it’s clear that the Lions will continue to give real-time tryouts as they try to upgrade their talent following the Matt Millen era.
  3. Losing a 17-0 first-quarter lead was only the latest chapter in a season’s worth of missed opportunities. “Sustaining” should be among the mantras of their offseason. I don’t think the Lions are consciously relaxing after taking leads. If anything, it represents an understandably shallow pool of options in Schwartz’s first season. NFL games are chess matches, and the Lions don’t have enough countermoves yet. Sunday, they accomplished their goal of stopping the Seahawks’ running game but couldn’t do much to limit Hasselbeck.
And here is one question I’m still asking:
It’s clear quarterback Matthew Stafford’s right knee isn’t fully healed from an Oct. 4 injury. But the question is this: Is Stafford healthy enough to play effectively? I don’t see him struggling to move or putting himself in an otherwise compromising situation. So I don’t think the Lions are risking further injury by playing him. But some of the ducks he threw Sunday are indicative of a quarterback who doesn’t feel totally confident while stepping into a throw or has lost some leg strength or upset his mechanics while recovering.

Last-minute personnel update

October, 18, 2009
Posted by’s Kevin Seifert

MINNEAPOLIS -- Here are some lineup highlights Sunday morning in the NFC North:

NFC North Friday injury report

October, 16, 2009

Posted by’s Kevin Seifert

Getting inside the Friday injury report:

Chicago Bears: To little surprise, tailback Adrian Peterson (knee) and linebacker Hunter Hillenmeyer (ribs) are doubtful and won’t play Sunday night at Atlanta. Defensive lineman Israel Idonije (knee) returned to practice and has a shot to play. Defensive tackle Anthony Adams (toe) is questionable, as is linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa. But Tinoisamoa is expected to play.

Detroit Lions: Quarterback Matthew Stafford (knee) and receiver Calvin Johnson (knee) are listed as questionable but missed practice Friday and likely won’t play Sunday at Green Bay. The Lions are also likely to be without three other starters: Defensive tackle Sammie Lee Hill (ankle), defensive end Dewayne White (hamstring) and defensive end Jason Hunter (ankle). That could leave Turk McBride and Cliff Avril as the starting defensive ends. Safety Ko Simpson (hamstring) is doubtful.

Green Bay Packers: Korey Hall (calf), tackle Mark Tauscher (knee) and tailback DeShawn Wynn (knee) won’t play. The Packers should have all other players available, including tailback Brandon Jackson (ankle) as the primary backup to Ryan Grant. That also includes left tackle Chad Clifton (ankle).

Minnesota Vikings: Punt returner Darius Reynaud (hamstring) isn’t expected to play Sunday against Baltimore. Receiver Percy Harvin (shoulder) is listed as questionable but should play. If right tackle Phil Loadholt (ankle) can’t play, Artis Hicks would start in his place.

NFC North at night

October, 14, 2009

Posted by’s Kevin Seifert

Catching up on a busy day of news in the Black and Blue:

Chicago Bears: Linebacker Hunter Hillenmeyer (ribs) was one of four players to sit out practice. It doesn’t look like he’ll be ready for Sunday night’s game at Atlanta. The same is probably true for tailback Adrian Peterson (knee) and defensive lineman Israel Idonije (knee).

Detroit Lions: Quarterback Matthew Stafford (knee) returned to practice and took the first snap with the starting offense, according to this Associated Press account. That increases the possibility that Stafford will make a quick return from a dislocated right knee, but coach Jim Schwartz said no decision will be announced until just before Sunday’s game at Green Bay. … Receiver Calvin Johnson (knee) did not practice Wednesday, and ESPN Insider Adam Schefter reported that Johnson is unlikely to play Sunday. … Including Johnson, eight Lions players missed practice. That list includes six starters: Fullback Jerome Felton (shoulder), defensive tackle Sammie Lee Hill (ankle), defensive end Jason Hunter (ankle), Johnson, safety Ko Simpson (hamstring) and defensive end Dewayne White (hamstring).

Green Bay Packers: Safety Atari Bigby (knee) and tackle Chad Clifton (ankle) both practiced Wednesday and appear on track to play Sunday. … Fullback Korey Hall strained his calf in Monday’s practice, and coach Mike McCarthy said he likely will miss several weeks of action. … Linebacker Brady Poppinga missed practice because he was ill. … Tailback DeShawn Wynn (knee) did not practice, but tailback Brandon Jackson (ankle) did.

Minnesota Vikings: Quarterback John David Booty was waived from the practice squad, and while coach Brad Childress said it is possible he’ll be re-signed at some point, I think you should have a pretty good idea of his long-term future with the team. The Vikings needed an extra practice squad offensive lineman with right tackle Phil Loadholt limited by an ankle injury. .. Receiver Percy Harvin (shoulder) and punt returner Darius Reynaud (hamstring) did not practice.

NFC North Friday injury report

October, 9, 2009

Posted by’s Kevin Seifert

A look at the NFC North’s abbreviated Friday injury list:

Detroit Lions: The Lions listed quarterback Matthew Stafford (knee) as questionable because he participated in a portion of practice, but there seems to be little chance that he will start Sunday against Pittsburgh. Assuming that’s the case, Daunte Culpepper will make his first start of the season. Meanwhile, the Lions aren’t likely to have the services of defensive tackle Sammie Hill (ankle) or defensive end Dewayne White (hamstring).

Minnesota Vikings: Right tackle Phil Loadholt popped up as a late-week concern because of an ankle injury. He first appeared on the injury list Thursday, didn’t participate in practice at all Friday and is listed as questionable. Candidates to replace him in the starting lineup Sunday at St. Louis are Artis Hicks and Ryan Cook, with Hicks probably the leading candidate. But that’s assuming Loadholt doesn’t feel better by Sunday morning. The Vikings have no other major concerns. Punt returner Darius Reynaud won’t play after spending the week tending to a family matter.

Kevin Smith will play

October, 4, 2009

Posted by’s Kevin Seifert

CHICAGO -- As’s John Clayton reported earlier Sunday morning, Detroit tailback Kevin Smith will be in uniform for the Lions’ game against the Bears at Soldier Field. Smith was not among the eight inactives the Lions just announced.

But, as expected, the Lions will be without defensive lineman Sammie Lee Hill and Dewayne White. Landon Cohen and Jason Hunter will start in their places, respectively. The Lions also have named Ko Simpson their starting safety in place of Marquand Manuel.