NFC North: Steppenwolf

NFC North weekend mailbag

March, 20, 2010
3/20/10
12:00
PM ET
Get your motor runnin'
Head out on the highway
Lookin' for adventure
And whatever comes our way
Yeah Darlin' go make it happen
Take the world in a love embrace
Fire all of your guns at once
And explode into space


I like smoke and lightning
Heavy metal thunder
Racin' with the wind
And the feelin' that I'm under
Yeah Darlin' go make it happen
Take the world in a love embrace
Fire all of your guns at once
And explode into space


Like a true nature's child
We were born, born to be wild
We can climb so high
I never wanna die


Born to be wild
Born to be wild


That’s right, folks! I’m heading down to Florida for Spring Break … er, the NFL owners meeting, which unofficially opens Sunday and continues through Wednesday. (Question: Does connecting Steppenwolf with Spring Break date me?)

I’m hoping to run in to a number of our NFC North heroes/owners/general managers/coaches during my time in Orlando, and I think have a pretty good idea of the questions you would want asked. If you want to make sure I know what you want to know, be sure to hit the mailbag, send me a Facebook message or Tweet me.

For now, let’s address some of your lingering questions and issues from last week.

Responding to our discussion on Chicago and free agent receiver Kevin Curtis, Steve of Herndon, Va., writes: Curtis caught 60 passes in Mike Martz's system but I feel like the Bears aren't going to sign any veteran wide receiver free agents. Fair or not, Marty Booker and Brandon Lloyd has left a bitter taste in Jerry Angelo’s mouth.

Kevin Seifert: Yes, nothing the Bears have done in the past 12 months suggest they are eager to add a veteran receiver to their talented but experience-shy mix. They want Earl Bennett to continue developing, they envision Devin Hester as a playmaking slot receiver and got some strong flashes from youngsters Johnny Knox and Devin Aromashodu last year.

But here’s where I’m coming from: Curtis (or Torry Holt for that matter) wouldn’t necessarily mean a loss of playing time for any incumbent. I just don’t think there is any harm in depth and, more important, competition. If Bennett, Hester, Knox and Aromashodu are ready to step up like many believe they are, let’s see them go to training camp and beat out a veteran receiver with experience in Martz’s system.

While all four incumbents have high ceilings, they aren’t established enough to enter camp with minimal competition. Let’s see them earn their roles, and ultimately they’ll be better for it. And if they’re not up to it, the Bears could plug in Holt or Curtis. There’s a big difference between counting on a veteran player, as the Bears did with Booker and Lloyd in recent years, and employing them as safety nets.

Second, it’s always worth keeping an eye on available players with connections to the current coordinator. Look at what’s happened in Detroit. Offensive coordinator Scott Linehan has been reunited with former Minnesota receiver Nate Burleson and quarterback Shaun Hill. Martz, meanwhile, made a point to bring quarterback J.T. O’Sullivan with him to San Francisco a few years ago.

Will it happen? I don’t see much urgency on the Bears’ part. Should it happen? To me, there is no downside.


Lucas of St. Paul writes: What do you think are the chances of the Vikings picking up Nathan Vasher on a one or two year contract to attempt to patch the secondary holes that the Vikes need to fill? And if the did get him would they still probably draft a CB in the first or second round?

Three minutes later, Adam of Madison, Wis., wrote: I'm sure this question has been asked to you already, but do you think Vasher could have a chance in Green Bay?

Kevin Seifert: I understand the question. Both teams are a bit thin at cornerback because of knee injuries to Cedric Griffin (Minnesota) and Al Harris (Green Bay). And sometimes, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. But in this case, I guess I would ask Vikings and Packers fans to tell me what they saw from Vasher the past few years that would suggest he would be a significant improvement over their incumbent depth?

Vasher really hasn’t been a factor since the Bears’ Super Bowl run in 2006. Chicago is no deeper than the Vikings or Packers at cornerback, and they chose to move on rather than even attempt to negotiate a lower contract.

Vasher is certainly a recognizable name. But I’m not sure I would trust him any more than I trust the younger players currently on each team’s depth chart.


Cal of Eau Claire, Wis., writes: When will they officially release the 2010 schedule?

Kevin Seifert: The exact date hasn’t been announced, but typically it comes in the first or second week of April. Stay tuned.

In the meantime, we should get a few high-profile matchups announced next week at the owners meeting. That could include a national season-opener pitting Minnesota at New Orleans.


Alex of Wausau, Wis., writes: This new punter Green Bay signed from the Australian Football League, Chris Bryan, is he from Australia or what? I can't find any info on him other than he signed a three-year deal with the Packers.

Kevin Seifert: Yes, Bryan is in fact an Australian native who has been attending an academy known as Prokick Australia in hopes of making the transition to the NFL. According to this Australian media report, Bryan has played Australian rules football since 2005.

At this point -- and I emphasize we have many more points to go -- Bryan is competing with Tim Masthay for the Packers’ punting job. There is some precedent for Australian punters making it in the NFL. Success stories include Arizona’s Ben Graham, Philadelphia’s Sav Rocca and Dallas’ Mat McBriar.


Kody of Orem, Utah, tells us to pipe down after noticing our blurb about five years passing since the last time a Lions backup quarterback won a game: The Pack haven't had a backup QB win a game for them since 1992.

Kevin Seifert: Well-played. I can’t think of a better way to describe stability for one team and chaos for another.


CuRay of Albuquerque, N.M., writes: I am a huge lions fan. Do you think Detroit will take a long look at signing Justin Fargas or wait until the draft to find a new running back?

Kevin Seifert: I suppose it’s possible, but the Lions already have one veteran runner on their roster in Maurice Morris. At this point, it’s just as likely that they’ll sit tight on available runners like Fargas and see if they can find a younger, fresher set of legs in the draft. Running backs are quickly-spent commodities. More than any other position, it’s best to get them young.


Cody of Minot, N.D., writes: In re-signing Chad Clifton and Mark Tauscher, are the Packers sending the message to T.J. Lang that he is not a legitimate starter and is better off being a utility lineman? I myself am happy with what I saw out of Lang last year. I'm a little bit confused on this one. Sing the words of wisdom to me, Kevin.

Kevin Seifert: The hills are alive/with the sound of music… Oh, wait, you meant wisdom on Lang. I don’t think the Packers were necessarily sending him a message. I just believe they don’t want to enter the season with an unproven starter and no safety net. It’s still possible that Lang could end up starting in 2010. But unlike last season, the Packers will have both Clifton and Tauscher available for depth and competition.

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