NFL Nation: Carl Hairston
We've engaged in plenty of discussion the past two weeks about the youth of Green Bay's defense, especially when it comes to some of the replacements the Packers have used in response to a series of injuries.
On Wednesday, Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press-Gazette casts a critical eye toward one of the team's top veterans -- defensive end Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila, who hasn't produced so much as a quarterback pressure since Sept. 14 at Detroit. Overall, Gbaja-Biamila has a half-sack to his credit and isn't a viable option as a situational pass rusher.
Gbaja-Biamila has been dealing with knee and ankle injuries, but last week the Packers removed him from their injury report. Defensive ends coach Carl Hairston said: "He's not as explosive as he used to be. It's going to take a little time and repetitions to get that back."
Gbaja-Biamila is 32, however, and Demovsky questions whether he is simply done as a feared pass rusher. If so, it appears unlikely the Packers would bring him back next season; already, they're paying him a base salary of $6.15 for 2008 that was guaranteed when he was a part of the roster on opening weekend.
Continuing our be-bop around the NFC North:
- The Packers promoted linebacker Danny Lansanah from the practice squad Tuesday when the Miami Dolphins tried to sign him, according to Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Veteran linebacker Tracy White was released to create a roster spot.
- Mike O'Hara of the Detroit News wonders if the Lions could finish 0-16 and places odds on the chances of them winning each of their remaining games. Their chances of defeating Minnesota this Sunday at the Metrodome: Six percent. (They haven't won in Minnesota since 1997).
- At this point, Tom Kowalski of Mlive.com doesn't see the Lions paying cornerback Leigh Bodden a roster bonus of $8.6 million due this offseason.
- David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune offers a Bears primer for Chicago sports fans who have been distracted by the city's baseball teams. Among the points: The Bears' offensive line has performed better than expected.
- "We're headed to the Super Bowl." That's what Bears defensive end Mark Anderson believes, according to Mike Mulligan of the Chicago Sun-Times.
- Chip Scoggins of the Star Tribune details the Vikings' system-wide special teams failure Monday night. Overall, the Vikings rank last in the NFL in punt coverage and 30th in kickoff coverage.
- During our chat Tuesday over at SportsNation, a few people asked about Vikings cornerback Cedric Griffin's violent hit on New Orleans tight end Billy Miller. The league won't fine Griffin, according to Sean Jensen of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, because Miller had established himself as a runner and thus was in position to defend himself.