NFC North: George Iloka

Fines signal officiating mistakes

September, 27, 2013
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- When players are fined for hits that were not penalized during the game, it’s essentially an admission of an officiating error.

For the second straight week, that applied to a Green Bay Packers' opponent.

On Friday, the NFL announced it fined Cincinnati Bengals safety George Iloka $15,000 for his unpenalized hit during the first quarter of Sunday’s game that left Packers tight end Jermichael Finley with a concussion.

A league spokesman said Iloka was fined for “unnecessarily striking a defenseless player in the head and neck area.”

Finley could not return to the game, and his status is unknown for the Packers’ next game, following their bye, against Detroit on Oct. 6.

That fine came a week after Washington Redskins safety Brandon Meriweather was fined $42,000 for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Packers running back Eddie Lacy, who also was forced to leave the game with a concussion. Lacy did not play against the Bengals. Like in the case with Iloka, the game officials did not call a penalty on Meriweather.

Also on Friday, the league announced that Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict was fined a total of $31,000 for two infractions against the Packers -- one that was called a penalty and one that was not. He was docked $21,000 for “unnecessarily striking a defenseless player (Packers receiver James Jones) in the head and neck area” and another $10,000 for “striking” Packers tight end Ryan Taylor in the groin area. Burfict was not flagged for striking Taylor, who was penalized but not fined after he retaliated against Burfict.

Two other Packers players who were called for personal fouls -- linebacker Nick Perry and cornerback Tramon Williams -- were not fined. Neither was Bengals safety Reggie Nelson for his roughing the passer penalty against Aaron Rodgers, nor defensive end Michael Johnson for hitting Rodgers low, which also wasn’t penalized.

Mel Kiper mock: Three rounds!

April, 18, 2012
ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. took a stab at a three-round mock draft Insider using only his personal rankings of players. In this edition, Kiper did not take into consideration who he thought the teams might be leaning toward. Kiper is the judge and jury here. My comments follow his picks:

Chicago Bears
1. Illinois defensive end Whitney Mercilus
2. Appalachian State wide receiver Brian Quick
3. Penn State defensive tackle Devon Still
Seifert comment: Most everyone agrees the Bears need to find some help at defensive end, and their inability to do so in free agency leaves the draft as their final option. Mercilus has gotten as much attention as anyone at that pick. Quick is a 6-foot-3 receiver who ran a 4.55 at the scouting combine but, like veteran Brandon Marshall, would offer a different skill set than what the Bears have been using in recent years.

Detroit Lions
1. Nebraska outside linebacker Lavonte David
2. Montana cornerback Trumaine Johnson
3. Boise State safety George Iloka
Seifert comment: I like the David pick mostly because it mirrors the thought process Lions general manager Martin Mayhew usually takes in the draft. Need, or lack thereof, won't influence his decisions anywhere but at quarterback. If David or another linebacker sits high on the Mayhew's draft board, the Lions won't hesitate to take him if he's there at No. 23.

Green Bay Packers
1. Boise State linebacker Shea McClellin
2. Nebraska defensive end Jared Crick
3. South Carolina safety Antonio Allen
Seifert comment: McClellin is getting a lot of discussion as a so-called late riser who would fit the versatile pass-rushing role the Packers would like to have. Meanwhile, the third round is a solid place to find a potential replacement for safety Nick Collins if he retires.

Minnesota Vikings
1. USC tackle Matt Kalil
2. Notre Dame safety Harrison Smith
3. Iowa receiver Marvin McNutt
Seifert comment: Kiper notes he would try to trade down in the first round and would consider LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne if he couldn't. But in the end, there aren't many people who think the Vikings will look elsewhere from Kalil if they keep the No. 3 spot. Getting Smith in the second round would be a nice pick if he is still available.