NFC North: John Standeford
Posted by ESPN.com’s Kevin Seifert
During our SportsNation chat Tuesday, I saw more questions about the possibility of Chicago acquiring Buffalo receiver Terrell Owens than any other. At the time, I replied that I would be stunned if the Bears traded for him. I still feel that way -- and not because the Bears couldn’t use more receiving help.
I agree with ESPN Chicago’s Jeff Dickerson. There’s nothing in the way general manager Jerry Angelo has built this team that suggests he would be interested. He has always maintained faith in his current group, and those players -- especially Devin Hester, Earl Bennett and Johnny Knox -- have given him no reason to think otherwise.
Taking the risk of adding Owens is an emergency measure, and the Bears just aren’t at that level. Stranger things have happened, but there’s no reason to believe at this point that it’s a possibility.
Continuing around the NFC North:
- Bears rookie offensive lineman Lance Louis was charged with misdemeanor assault stemming from an altercation last November when he was at San Diego State. Here’s a full report from Brent Schrotenboer of the San Diego Union-Tribune.
- Detroit signed cornerback Demarcus Faggins and receiver John Standeford on Tuesday, writes John Niyo of the Detroit News. Defensive tackle Chuck Darby was waived, suggesting the Lions might get rookie Sammie Lee Hill (ankle) back in the lineup Sunday at Green Bay.
- Lions tailback Kevin Smith on the team’s running game: “The running game's obviously not doing well, and obviously it's me.” I think he’s being a bit harsh on himself, but that’s what he told Carlos Monarrez of the Detroit Free Press.
- It’s not unusual for second-year quarterbacks to fall off in their performance, writes Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press-Gazette.
- The Packers want to recommit to throwing shorter passes that allow their receivers to make plays after the catch, writes Lori Nickel of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
- Packers cornerback Tramon Williams tells Jason Wilde of ESPN Milwaukee what he’s reading and driving.
- Sean Jensen of the St. Paul Pioneer Press looks at the emergence of young Minnesota receivers Sidney Rice and Percy Harvin.
- The Vikings aren’t concerned about the higher yardage total they’re giving up on defense, writes Chip Scoggins of the Star Tribune.
As we review preseason action this summer, I won't pretend to bring you brilliant insight from games I don't cover live. We'll save that kind of thorough analysis for the games that I actually see and conduct interviews at afterwards. (Yes, there was some sarcasm there. Lighten up. It's Sunday morning!)
With that said, it's important to get a feel for every NFC North preseason game in a timely fashion. So while I covered Friday night's Minnesota-Kansas City game, below are some thoughts on the three games that took place Saturday night. I've also included links to the local coverage of reporters who were in attendance as well as some NFL.com video so you can see for yourself.
Chicago 17, New York Giants 3
- Everyone can agree that quarterback Jay Cutler was sharp (8-of-13) and productive (17 points in his first three drives) during his second start of the preseason. He threw well on the run, scrambled once on his own for 12 yards and threw a beautiful touch pass to receiver Devin Aromashodu for 38 yards. Working at times from the no-huddle, the Bears gave their future opponents plenty to think about with their passing performance. Cutler and backup Caleb Hanie combined to complete 18 of 31 passes for 241 yards.
- If you were worried about tailback Matt Forte's hamstring, it didn't look bad Saturday night on a 32-yard touchdown dash up the middle. Overall, Forte finished with 58 yards on nine carries. On the downside, backups Kevin Jones and Garrett Wolfe each lost a fumble.
- Defensive tackle Tommie Harris started but didn't show up in the box score. Fellow defensive linemen Alex Brown, Adewale Ogunleye, Dusty Dvoracek and Marcus Harrison all finished the game with a sack.
Cleveland 27, Detroit 10
- Incredibly, the Lions fought among themselves before the game. Defensive end Dewayne White and tight end Carson Butler were the culprits, fighting long enough that they both ended up on the ground. It's always good to be in a "fighting mood" during pregame warm-ups. But actually fighting? Unheard of. I'm guessing Butler, at least, will have his ticket punched out of Detroit soon.
- Quarterback Matthew Stafford had a tough night. Getting a start as he competes with Daunte Culpepper, Stafford threw an interception on his first pass and later overthrew two wide-open receivers (John Standeford and Adam Jennings) on passes downfield. Overall, Stafford completed 5 of 13 passes. Neither he nor Culpepper led the Lions to a score. We go to Week 3 of the preseason with no better idea of who will win the starting job.
- Let's just say it: Saturday night was terrible all around for the Lions. The special teams gave up two touchdown returns to Cleveland's Josh Cribbs, although one was called back by penalty. And Browns quarterback Derek Anderson picked apart the Lions' defense for 130 passing yards.
Green Bay 31, Buffalo 21
- The Packers' top defense held Buffalo scoreless in the first half and continued to swarm the ball. Safety Nick Collins forced an early interception, and Green Bay got some good pass rush out of its 4-3 nickel alignment. Defensive lineman Johnny Jolly finished with two sacks. The Packers led 21-0 when starters left the game. The only downside: Collins left with a rib injury.
- Quarterback Aaron Rodgers was locked in, completing 8 of 9 passes for 98 yards and two scores. His 5-yard touchdown pass to Donald Driver was an athletic play, and fantasy players everywhere are going to like that he connected multiple times with second-year tight end Jermichael Finley.
- Backup quarterback Brian Brohm got extended playing time because of a shoulder injury to Matt Flynn that isn't deemed serious. But Brohm didn't give anyone reason to believe he can overtake Flynn on the depth chart if everyone is healthy.
Detroit's depleted receiving corps got a bit of good news Wednesday when Bryant Johnson was activated off the non-football injury (NFI) list. But it could be some time before Johnson is ready to participate fully in practice, let alone play in a preseason game.
Johnson had to halt all conditioning work in the immediate aftermath of a golf cart accident last month, and Wednesday he only participated in some individual drills. He is ahead of the Lions' original timetable but the process will still be slow, according to coach Jim Schwartz.
Schwartz: "He's not there yet, but we're going to take it slow with him. He got out in individual, made some catches, did some more running on the side, we'll get him moving a little bit more. I think from the very beginning we didn't have any question that he would be back and then once he was, [that he would] get back he would be full speed. But it's just a matter of when and he's actually ahead of the timetable we had in the back of our minds."
It will be interesting to see how many Lions receivers will get on the field in the team's preseason debut Saturday against Atlanta. Johnson, of course, won't play. No. 1 receiver Calvin Johnson is practicing with a cast around his sprained right thumb. Receivers Dennis Northcutt (thumb) and John Standeford (thumb) have also been limited in practice.
DETROIT -- Greetings from a hushed Ford Field. We have a few of lineup changes to bring you as players start warming up:
- Artis Hicks will return as Minnesota's right tackle this week. Backup Ryan Cook is active but won't start. Anthony Herrera, whose status was uncertain following the death of his brother, will start at right guard.
- Detroit receiver John Standeford will replace Shaun McDonald in the starting lineup. McDonald is inactive Sunday.
- Ikaika Alama-Francis will start in place of rookie Andre Fluellen at left end.
- Kalvin Pearson will start in place of Dwight Smith at free safety.