NFC North: Michael Gaines

Saturday roster moves

October, 17, 2009
10/17/09
5:36
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com’s Kevin Seifert


A couple of Saturday roster moves to catch up on:
  1. Hopefully this isn’t confusing. Chicago released tight end Michael Gaines to create a roster spot for new defensive end Gaines Adams. Gaines (the tight end) was on the bubble as final cuts approached last month and appeared in only one game this season. Adams (the defensive end) was acquired Friday night from Tampa Bay.
  2. Minnesota re-signed quarterback John David Booty to its practice squad, according to this note on the team’s Web site. Booty was released Tuesday to make room for offensive lineman Clint Oldenburg. Saturday, they reversed that move. The swap brings to mind one of coach Brad Childress’ most frequent sayings: “We typically roll guys through the practice squad.”

Posted by ESPN.com’s Kevin Seifert


Chicago tight end Desmond Clark revealed on a radio show that he cracked a rib in the third quarter of Sunday night’s 21-15 loss at Green Bay, making his status uncertain for this weekend’s game against Pittsburgh. Brad Biggs of the Chicago Sun-Times has details.

Clark actually spent some time at a Green Bay hospital following the injury. He’s only missed two games in his 11-year career, playing in 147 of a possible 149 contests.

The Bears do have decent depth at the position after deciding to keep four tight ends on their 53-man roster. Without Clark, starter Greg Olsen would be backed up by Kellen Davis and Michael Gaines. We should know more later Wednesday when the Bears distribute their first injury report of the week.

Continuing around the NFC North:

Bears: Cutdown analysis

September, 5, 2009
9/05/09
6:19
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com’s Kevin Seifert


Check here for a full list of Chicago’s roster moves.

Biggest surprise: The Bears kept 11 defensive backs and nine defensive linemen. That means those two positions make up almost 40 percent of the entire roster. More than anything, the figure reflects health concerns in those areas. No one knows how much defensive tackle Tommie Harris (knee) will play, and the Bears are hoping that safety Danieal Manning (hamstring), along with cornerbacks Charles Tillman (back) and Zack Bowman (hamstring) will be ready to go. But in case they’re not, the Bears kept safeties Josh Bullocks and Craig Steltz. They also have four backup cornerbacks in Nate Vasher, Trumaine McBride, Corey Graham and rookie D.J. Moore.

No-brainers: One of the final roster battles was tailback Adrian Peterson vs. tight end Michael Gaines. But tailback Kevin Jones’ season-ending ankle injury rendered the decision moot. For now, Peterson will join Garrett Wolfe as the primary backups to Matt Forte. Gaines won a job, at least for now, as the Bears’ No. 4 tight end behind Greg Olsen, Desmond Clark and Kellen Davis.

What’s next: You wonder if the Bears are satisfied with their backfield depth or whether they’ll seek another tailback to join Wolfe and Peterson. Among the runners available is Dominic Rhodes, whom Buffalo released Saturday. Chicago will almost certainly sign a quarterback to the practice squad after releasing Brett Basanez. That’s the typical course of action for a team that keeps only two quarterbacks on the active roster.

Previewing tonight's 'action'

September, 3, 2009
9/03/09
3:00
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com’s Kevin Seifert


If you were ever to make an argument for shortening the NFL preseason, this would be the week. Be careful about blinking; you might miss the players you were hoping to watch as teams approach their final game hoping to preserve health above all else.

We’ll truncate our coverage of these games accordingly, but I still want to take a look at the three NFC North matchups set for Thursday evening. (Minnesota will wrap up Friday night against Dallas.)

Detroit at Buffalo (6:30 p.m. ET)

Starters will play… An undetermined amount of time. But coach Jim Schwartz did say that quarterback Matthew Stafford will be on the field for the first 20 or 25 plays.

I’ll be watching… Stafford to see if he can lock down the starting job with a strong performance. It’s possible that Daunte Culpepper will make a surprise return from a toe injury, but otherwise Stafford is in the driver’s seat. Brooks Bollinger and possibly Kevin O’Connell will follow Stafford. … Whether we like it or not, we’ll also get a look at the Lions’ depth at cornerback. Starters Anthony Henry and Philip Buchanon aren’t expected to play. Neither will linebacker Ernie Sims, giving Jordon Dizon another chance to prove himself. … We’ll also get a chance to see whether Daniel Loper can hold off Manny Ramirez in the competition at left guard.

Cleveland at Chicago (8 p.m. ET)

Starters will play… no longer than the first quarter.

I’ll be watching… to see how rusty cornerback Zack Bowman (hamstring) and safety Danieal Manning (hamstring) are. Both will make their preseason debuts and are projected starters if they can make it through this game. … Fans will also want to see veteran Adrian Peterson put the finishing touches on his bid to win a roster spot. It seems Peterson will have to beat out tight end Michael Gaines. … Plenty of people have been watching to see which receivers new quarterback Jay Cutler feels most comfortable with. We know the group includes Greg Olsen, Earl Bennett and Matt Forte. But will his apparent chemistry with Devin Aromashodu help determine the final depth chart at receiver?

Green Bay at Tennessee (8 p.m. ET)

Starters will play… likely one series. Two at the most.

I’ll be watching… to see which tailback lays claim to the No. 2 job behind Ryan Grant. Brandon Jackson is sidelined by an ankle injury. So will DeShawn Wynn grab the job? Rookie Tyrell Sutton? Kregg Lumpkin? … Linebacker Nick Barnett will make his preseason debut. Will his performance be enough to convince coaches to put him in the starting lineup when the regular season begins? … With quarterback Matt Flynn (shoulder) still sidelined, we should get a long look at quarterback Brian Brohm. That might or might not be a good thing, depending on your perspective. You wonder if Brohm will get released if he can’t demonstrate some progress. That would leave the Packers in the market for quarterback depth when teams begin paring down their rosters this weekend.

Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert


Jeffri Chadiha's profile of Detroit linebacker Ernie Sims contains a blunt -- but, I would say, accurate -- description of the Lions' recent linebacker groups. (This season, Sims has been joined by veterans Julian Peterson and Larry Foote.)
Sims: "We always talk about football and techniques but one the best things J.P. [Peterson] told me was that I have some players to help me now. That was important for me to hear because I've always had dogs around me since I came here. It's good to know I have that kind of support."
Indeed, not many people outside of Detroit could name the players Sims has started next to since the Lions made him their top draft choice in 2006. Last year's group of Alex Lewis and Paris Lenon were particularly underwhelming. Sims knew it, too. It's just a bit jarring to hear them described as "dogs."

You could argue that Sims hasn't always played like a Pro Bowler over that time. But to whatever extent his teammates held him back in the past, that dynamic should not be a factor in 2009.

Continuing around the NFC North:
Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert

Rosalita came out Monday night at the Xcel Energy Center. Let's see if she visits you Tuesday at the United Center. Best of luck.

And maybe, just maybe, she'll feat new Chicago tight end Michael Gaines -- who agreed to terms Monday with the Bears. (Killer segue, if I do say so myself.) Gaines, released shortly after the draft by Detroit, offers a strong blocking option to the Bears' receiving duo of Desmond Clark and Greg Olsen.

Unless Clark or Olsen is injured, Gaines will be competing for the No. 3 tight end spot. Gaines could also figure in a hybrid role as a tight end/blocking fullback, writes Vaughn McClure of the Chicago Tribune.

If he makes the team, Gaines will earn $1.25 million in 2009, according to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Sun-Times.

Continuing around the NFC North:

  • Bob LeGere of the Daily Herald wonders if the Bears were soured on veteran receivers after Marty Booker and Brandon Lloyd produced underwhelming seasons in 2008.
  • Green Bay safety Nick Collins insists he has stayed away from some offseason workouts because of family reasons, not because he is unhappy with his contract. Greg A. Bedard of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has the story. Bedard also notes that Collins' statement contradicts that of coach Mike McCarthy, who has said that "business" has played a role in the situation.
  • If you come to Packers games via U.S. 41 -- including anyone in the Appleton, Wis., area -- you might want to read about the construction planned for the highway. Patti Zarling of the Green Bay Press-Gazette has details.
  • Detroit signed former Green Bay defensive end Jason Hunter, according to Scout.com via the Detroit News. The Packers released Hunter because he didn't fit into their new 3-4 scheme.
  • Judd Zulgad of the Star Tribune offers more details from Vikings president Mark Wilf's public comments on the possibility of acquiring quarterback Brett Favre. Included is this quote from Wilf: "We just feel as a whole, as a roster, we are trying to improve every day, but we feel we made a lot of steps to improve off an NFC North Division win, and I think we are ready to take that next step and to go all the way."
  • Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway on Favre: "He's retired a couple of times, so you wonder where his loyalties lie." Sean Jensen of the St. Paul Pioneer Press has that and more.
Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert

Minnesota linebacker E.J. Henderson wouldn't mind at all if his team moves past its infatuation with retired quarterback Brett Favre. Resolution is good, Henderson told Rick Alonzo of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

Henderson: "I think it's good to have that resolution so we can just move on and focus on us, and focus on getting ready for the season without all these outside distractions. I definitely think it's good to have a resolution, if there is one. But who knows what the personnel guys, and the guys we got upstairs, what they're going to end up doing."

Who knows, indeed. And while there isn't much to distract Vikings players from right now -- their offseason practices don't begin until May 19 -- there's definitely some value to getting their minds set on having either Tarvaris Jackson or Sage Rosenfels as their starting quarterback.

Continuing around the NFC North:

Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert

You'll find a bit of interesting news embedded in this story from Judd Zulgad and Chip Scoggins of the Star Tribune: Brett Favre is willing to undergo a relatively minor procedure on his partially torn right biceps tendon.

During the surgery, believed to be a tenotomy, surgeons would complete the partial tear Favre suffered last year. Once fully torn, the injury will no longer cause pain, irritation or inflammation. It also isn't likely to have much impact on his ability to throw and will allow him to recover long before training camp would begin in July.

Vikings coach Brad Childress reportedly was en route to a meeting Wednesday with Favre. With the question of a possible surgery already solved, the pair could make a quick agreement for Favre to join the Vikings, according to the Star Tribune.

We'll keep you updated. For now, let's take a spin around the division:

  • Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty said Wednesday that signing Favre would be "a wonderful little salt to rub in the eyes of some of our Green Bay Packer friends," according to the Associated Press. Must have been a slow day in government.
  • Mike Vandermause of the Green Bay Press-Gazette notes other instances in which a Packers legend has moved on to other teams. Among them: Herb Adderly and Forrest Gregg.
  • Chicago general manager Jerry Angelo addresses his reputation for being conservative in a Q&A with Brad Biggs of the Chicago Sun Times. Angelo: "[W]hat you don't want to do is miss big. So we have a very pragmatic approach to making decisions. We don't do things knee-jerk; we don't do things based on perception. We do things based on how it's going to impact us now and going forward. Nothing great probably looked good early."
  • Free-agent tight end Michael Gaines, released this spring by Detroit, has a visit scheduled Thursday with the Bears. Dave Hutchinson of the Newark Star-Ledger has details.
  • Lions coach Jim Schwartz showed off his love of heavy-metal music during an in-studio radio appearance Wednesday. John Niyo of the Detroit News brings details, The Scorpions, Judas Priest and Black Sabbath were all part of the conversation. Nice.
  • Michael Rosenberg of the Detroit Free Press is uncharacteristically ga-ga over the Lions' decision to sign linebacker Larry Foote.

NFC North at night

April, 29, 2009
4/29/09
6:06
PM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert

A couple of NFC North notes to take you through the evening:

  • Detroit released tight end Michael Gaines on Wednesday, four days after drafting tight end Brandon Pettigrew. It's possible you could see a further thinning of the Lions' tight end group; Will Heller and Casey Fitzsimmons are among the tight ends that remain on the roster.
  • Minnesota has invited the brother of Arizona receiver Larry Fitzgerald to its rookie camp this weekend on a tryout basis, according to Sean Jensen of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Like his brother, Marcus Fitzgerald was a ball boy for the Vikings earlier this decade. The younger Fitzgerald went to Marshall as a running back but was switched to receiver.
Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert

A tip of the hat to NFC West colleague Mike Sando, who flagged the latest offering from a fellow known as AdamJT13 -- a blogger who has gained some cyber-fame for his ability to predict the NFL's awarding of compensatory draft picks.

The league has never publicized the formula it uses for this program, which gives extra selections to teams that lost more talent than it gained in free agency the previous year. The picks can be as high as the third round and as low as the seventh. I won't overwhelm you with too many details, but in general AdamJT13 -- whose true identity is unknown -- believes it is primarily based on the average annual value of the contracts in question.

Here is AdamJT13's personal blog, which lays out his methods.

Now, for the moment you've been waiting for: AdamJT13 predicts two NFC North teams will net extra picks when the NFL announces the results later this month.

Chicago Bears (3)

Detroit Lions (2)

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