Sunday, August 7, 2011
Quick hits on a travel Sunday
By Kevin Seifert
As three of our teams take Sunday off from training camp, and the Chicago Bears prepare for a night session, let's run through some NFC North hotspots in quick-hitting fashion.
But first, a programming note: I'm heading out to Bears training camp Sunday evening and will be in place for practice over the ensuing three days. That will bring CampTour'11 to within one stop of completion. The tentative plan is to visit the Detroit Lions during the week of Aug. 14, but I'll confirm that with you as soon as I know for sure myself. Onward. ...
Item: The Chicago Bears appear set to replace Johnny Knox in their starting lineup with newly signed veteran Roy Williams, reports Vaughn McClure of the Chicago Tribune.
Comment: Knox was the Bears' leading receiver by yardage last season, but there was always an undercurrent of doubt about his comfort level in the offense. Williams played in the same scheme while in Detroit, but he is six seasons removed from a 1,000-yard performance. Is it reasonable to expect him to be more productive in 2011 than Knox was last season?
Item: Richard Dent's Hall of Fame acceptance speech was 2,387 words.
Comment: Compared to Shannon Sharpe's speech, Dent's went by in a blink of an eye. Sharpe's speech went 3,768 words.
Item: The Lions' offensive line is in rough shape, as Tom Kowalski of Mlive.com notes.
Comment: Left tackle Jeff Backus hasn't practiced because of a torn pectoral muscle. Right tackle Gosder Cherilus has missed most of the past week because of soreness in his surgically repaired knee. Backup Jason Fox is sidelined by a foot injury. The Lions still appear confident that Backus will be ready to start the regular season, but the Cherilus injury is troublesome and there is no denying the Lions are missing some valuable chemistry-building time this summer.
Item: The Lions moved new linebacker Stephen Tulloch to the middle position during Saturday's practice.
Comment: There is every reason to believe Tulloch will remain there, with DeAndre Levy at one outside position and Justin Durant at the other. It's an unquestioned upgrade.
Item: The Green Bay Packers' Family Night practice was canceled after 20 plays because of weather.
Comment: That's 20 more plays than the Bears ran at their Family Night affair on Friday. This was the only practice of the entire summer that was exposed to weather; all other workouts can be moved indoors if needed. It's the third time in four years that Family Night has been cut short or canceled, notes Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com.
Item: Packers quarterback Matt Flynn could increase his value as a 2012 free agent with a strong preseason performance, writes Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press-Gazette.
Comment: That's one reason I think coach Mike McCarthy really wants to keep No. 3 quarterback Graham Harrell on his roster this season. Flynn could leave the Packers without a proven backup if he signs elsewhere next year.
Item: The Minnesota Vikings had more fans at their Family Night (9,145) than ever before.
Comment: Did they think Brett Favre would finally make a training camp appearance?