NFC North: Joe Cullen

Those of you who followed the story of former Detroit defensive line coach Joe Cullen should be sure to check out this post from my AFC South colleague Paul Kuharsky. Cullen is trying to resurrect his career in Jacksonville, where coach Jack Del Rio said: “Motivated guys are great, right? Players or coaches, that’s what you want… I know Joe’s very hungry for an opportunity, when he’s been in the league and the line’s he’s worked with he’s done a nice job with and I think he’s very thankful for a second shot."

Former Green Bay defensive end Aaron Kampman, who know plays for Cullen and the Jaguars, said: “All I know is that there isn’t a single one of us that’s perfect, I know I’m not. This profession obviously puts you in a fishbowl and the great thing is that I know he’s addressed it with the group and is moving forward. Each and every one of us needs to be about redemption.”
Chicago running back Matt Forte’s production fell during his second NFL season. Did a knee injury have something to do with it?

Forte has already undergone surgery on his left knee this offseason, according to Vaughn McClure of the Chicago Tribune. The exact nature of the procedure wasn’t available, but it was revealed late in the season that Forte had played much of the season with a sprained medial collateral ligament.

Typically, that injury isn’t treated with surgery. Assuming that’s the case here, Forte’s surgery was to address another issue.

Forte rushed for 929 yards this season, down about 25 percent from his yardage total as a rookie in 2008.

Continuing around the NFC North:
  • We’re getting close to crunch time for the Bears’ offensive coordinator job, writes Jeff Dickerson of ESPN Chicago. San Diego assistant Rob Chudzinski is in town for an interview.
  • It’s time for Minnesota tailback Adrian Peterson to step up in the NFC Championship Game, writes Mark Craig of the Star Tribune. New Orleans has had spotty run defense this season.
  • The Vikings would have full confidence if this game comes down to field goal kicking, writes John Shipley of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Placekicker Ryan Longwell had an NFL-best 92.9-percent conversion rate.
  • Vikings defensive end Jared Allen is into Hank Williams Jr.’s music … and Poison’s as well. Solid.
  • Former Green Bay executive Andrew Brandt, writing for the National Football Post, on John Schneider’s move to Seattle as general manager: “The role of a general manager is so much more than picking players. He has to build consensus and communicate freely and effectively with all members of the football operation. John will do that well. Mark my words, John Schneider will be a star in the Northwest.”
  • Former Detroit assistant Joe Cullen -- yes, that Joe Cullen -- could surface as an assistant in Jacksonville. AFC South maestro Paul Kuharsky has the story.