We're Black and Blue All Over:
It's already clear that rookie Jahvid Best has taken over the Detroit Lions' starting tailback job. We've assumed that his predecessor, Kevin Smith, would become his backup. But Carlos Monarrez of the Detroit Free Press indicates Smith is no lock to make the Lions' 53-man roster.
Smith has returned from surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament, but his preseason performance has been weak (2.4 yards per carry) and he isn't much of a special-teams factor. The Lions have a relatively deep backfield that also includes Maurice Morris, Aaron Brown, DeDe Dorsey and Jerome Felton. Tellingly, coach Jim Schwartz provided a neutral answer when asked if Smith had earned a spot on the roster: "I don't know. I'll cross that bridge when we get there. I don't know that there's very many people that have 100 percent earned a spot."
Smith was drafted by the Lions' previous front office/coaching regime and targeted specifically for a zone-running scheme the team no longer uses. Is it possible that Smith could make the team? Sure. But there are certainly a number of factors working against him.
Continuing around the NFC North:
Chris McCosky of the Detroit News considers defensive tackles Andre Fluellen and Landon Cohen, safety Ko Simpson and cornerback Aaron Berry to be among the Lions' bubble players.
Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler has been linked to D-list celebrity Kristin Cavallari. Cutler on the repercussions of such rumors, according to the Chicago Tribune: "It'll be interesting."
Mike Mulligan of the Chicago Sun-Times: "Dark forces seem to be gathering against the Bears these days. There's a devastating combination of deflating preseason losses featuring alternating areas of concern on the field, curious trade rumors off it and even the bottom-line folks at Forbes magazine labeling the franchise 'financial flatliners.'"
Bears backup quarterback Todd Collins should get extended playing time in Thursday night's preseason finale, writes Bob LeGere of the Daily Herald.
Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz is surprised by the number of mistakes players have made in preseason, according to Michael C. Wright of the Chicago Tribune.
In the big picture, the Green Bay Packers made it through training camp healthy, writes Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press-Gazette.
Packers defensive lineman Ryan Pickett on moving from nose tackle to end: "It took me awhile to accept it. I was disappointed for a little while. But after that, I started playing it and started liking it." Lori Nickel of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has more.
Oft-injured defensive lineman Justin Harrell could be down to his final days with the Packers, writes Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com.
Veteran Lito Sheppard is the likely Week 1 starter at right cornerback for the Minnesota Vikings, according to the Star Tribune.
Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com on the Vikings' recent injury woes: "This team has a swarm of locusts in the locker room."
Vikings receiver Bernard Berrian on the red zone bobble that led to an interception in Saturday's preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks: "It was one of those things that just happened." Brian Murphy of the St. Paul Pioneer Press has more.