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Yes! The NFC North mailbag returneth

Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert
The end of the NFL season ushers the return of the Black and Blue mailbag. Check in every weekend this offseason for an exciting new installment -- and feel free to send your questions here at any time.

Detroit writes: Any news on what the Steelers are going to do with Larry Foote? And his comments on playing in Detroit for his final seasons. Are the Lions interested in him and would that be possible if the Steelers release him?

Kevin Seifert: Yes, Foote has been vocal about wanting to end his career in Detroit. I'm not saying this is the case, but I wonder if he isn't trying to create a little leverage with the Steelers. Pittsburgh doesn't typically break the bank on free agents. I don't get the sense the Lions are looking to make too man big-money expenditures in free agency, which would at least make Foote a possibility for them.


Jim writes: I believe stability is huge in team chemistry, potential, and success. Would you care to comment on the stability of each of the NFC North Division team -- as you see it?

Kevin Seifert: I guess it depends on how you define stability. For the purpose of this question, I'll consider it from a big-picture, franchise standpoint. Under that definition, I think the Packers are the most stable team in the NFC North. They've got a high revenue-producing stadium and a stock ownership structure that eliminates some of the front-office drama many teams face. We're still learning about Mark Murphy, the president and CEO, but I don't expect him to have a quick trigger on personnel decisions. Chicago has been relatively stable under team president Ted Phillips. General manager Jerry Angelo and coach Lovie Smith have been given time to carry out their vision. The Vikings have gained a measure of stability under new owner Zygi Wilf, but the looming expiration of their stadium lease means they could move as early as 2012. But Detroit has to be the least stable team. The Ford family subjected itself to eight years of misery under president Matt Millen and then promoted two of his subordinates to replace him.


Chris of Fargo writes: Hey Kevin. Free agency is approaching. It appears that Albert Haynesworth is possibly going to be ending his career with the Titans on February 27. The Packers have been making some significant changes to their defensive scheme and it seems like Haynesworth could be a welcomed addition. Is there any word on whether the Packers are considering this option, or even speculation based on cap space or their transition to a 3-4 defense? Thanks for the great blog!

Kevin Seifert: Thanks for the question, Chris. There hasn't been any talk about Albert Haynesworth in Green Bay to this point. One obstacle is that he would have to change positions in the 3-4. I presume he would be a nose tackle in that scheme, but I think most coaches and scouts would tell you his ideal position is the one he played in Tennessee: The "under tackle" role that allows him to play off the center. And then there is Ted Thompson's general reluctance to spend big money on free agents. It would be out of character on several levels for the Packers to pursue Haynesworth.


Matt of Alexandria writes: Is there any chance that the Vikings go after Anquan Boldin in the offseason to help out the passing game?

Kevin Seifert: I'm guessing he won't be a top priority. They paid top dollar for Bernard Berrian last year. I don't think the receiver position is a liability anymore for the Vikings.


MJ of Boston writes: Did I just see that right, I thought I saw Al Harris at the Pro Bowl? That's just one more reason why the Pro Bowl is a joke. Did Terence Newman have plans that weekend, how 'bout Chris Gamble, or Corey Webster, Sheldon Brown? What about Aaron Ross, Carlos Rodgers? Ken Lucas...There's so many more that deserve it over Al Harris....what a joke....even Ronde Barber making it is a joke....Al must know someone who counts the ballots.

Kevin Seifert: Yeah, the biggest problem is Harris didn't even play a full season. Just one of many flaws in the Pro Bowl system.


Charlie of Nashville writes: Not to be a dork or anything, but speed and acceleration are not the same thing. If he is running along and accelerates into the tackler at impact then the force received by the tackler is much greater. But I digress. I like Peterson the way he is, but who knows, he may not lose that much speed if he adds a few pounds.

Kevin Seifert: Not being a dork at all. I understand the distinction but would suggest that acceleration could be impacted by increased mass just as easily as speed would be.


Southgate writes: It wouldn't let me post it in the comments, so I'd share this with you about the Detroit Crawl blog. WOW "guerilla tactic"," most vicious attacks I've ever heard of." These two have a show that's all about their own personal opinions ON ESPN! Isn't that was this is, WDIV announcing their displeasure of having a man that drove a team into the ground so deep that it will be almost 4 years to try and get out of. I mean seriously, what would be their opinion on his moves and decisions on Detroit Lions Football if the news station didn't say that. Exactly the same they are just upset that some one else said it first. Do you seriously think that a man that had so many bad choices about coaches (that he bossed around and didn't let them do their jobs and then fired them because of it), about players (how many players from the Matt Millen era are still on the team that are worth anything or are overpaid for their less than average abilities.) And he's a top rated analyst among the ranks of Collinsworth, Dungy, Holmgren, and Harrison. That is a disgrace to put him on the same stage with those men that have proven they have what it takes to be around the NFL. Yes he won a superbowl, but that is about it. I'm not going to ask Charlie Batch to run my football team, he has a few Superbowl rings as well or how about Desmond Howard he has one too. And I'm not taking nothing away from them men, Desmond Howard and Charlie Batch. Point being that he took a team was the creator of the 0-16 season and took full responsibility for it and still is considered a top notch analyst. NO LOGIC! Thank you for reading, let me know
what you think.

Kevin Seifert: Actually, I would suggest it's two different animals. Millen was a good broadcaster before he took the Lions job and he still has those skills. You can know what you're talking about and not have the skills to implement it. I think that was a big part of Millen's problem in Detroit.


Ryan of Boulder writes: Quick question for you, Kevin. Is there any chance of Daunte Culpepper returning to Minnesota? He's got that $2.5 million bonus due, and I'm not convinced that Detroit is willing to pay that.

Kevin Seifert: I agree that Detroit might not want to pay that bonus. But I see little to no chance that Minnesota would be interested. Daunte actually contacted them last offseason and was turned away.


Nick of Stevensville writes: What is taking the Lions so long to hire and put in place there coaching staff and what is going on with the Shack Harris hire?

Kevin Seifert: Some of the staff has already been formed but not announced. (This chart should help some.) Otherwise, I think Jim Schwartz is taking his time and considering a lot of Rod Marinelli's former assistants for their old jobs. As for Harris, it should be a matter of time. I presume they're working through contract language.


David of Richfield writes: Do you think the Bears might try and sign Bodden from Detroit?

Kevin Seifert: I would doubt it. I don't think Leigh Bodden is ideal for a cover-2 defense. I'm betting the Bears will go with Corey Graham and Charles Tillman as their starting cornerbacks in 2009.


Elliot of Neenah writes: As a lifetime Packer fan I have a question regarding the recent mock drafts released by Mel Kiper and Todd McShay. They both have the Packers taking Malcolm Jenkins DB from Ohio St. With the defense switching over from the 4-3 to the 3-4 don't they have more personnel needs in the front 7 than they do in the defensive backfield? I know Harris and Woodson aren't the youngest DB's in the league but they are still coming back and behind them Tramon Williams emerged last year as a potential future starter. I guess I would just like to hear your viewpoint on why both the draft experts have the Packers selecting a defensive back instead of easing their transition into the 3-4.
Kevin Seifert: I can't speak for either guy, but you always have to consider value at the spot in question. Is there a linebacker or defensive lineman worth the No. 9 pick in those mock drafts? Perhaps not. I agree that if you made a list of immediate needs, however, that cornerback would rank behind linebacker and defensive line for the Packers.