We're Black and Blue All Over:
I've tried to say a few nice things about Kyle Vanden Bosch's debut performance with the Detroit Lions last Sunday. Now it's defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham's turn. According to Chris McCosky of the Detroit News, Cunningham got choked up talking about Vanden Bosch's 11-tackle effort in a team meeting this week, and Cunningham's eyes watered during a Thursday interview session as well.
Cunningham: "I've coached this game a long time and I've coached some really good players. A few of them are in the Hall of Fame. But Kyle is the best football player I've ever been around in my life. You can talk about stats and sacks, but put on the tape and watch that game. It was the most unbelievable effort I've seen in 30 years of coaching by any position player."
As we did earlier this week, Cunningham specifically noted Vanden Bosch's tackle of Chicago Bears receiver Devin Aromashodu 20 yards downfield on the Bears' opening possession. According to McCosky, Vanden Bosch played on 79 of the Lions' 80 defensive plays. False hustle is worthless. But a defensive end hustling to 10 solo tackles is awesome. Hopefully the Lions' young defensive linemen were watching.
Continuing around the NFC North:
Lions quarterback Shaun Hill traded a chance to start for structure when he joined the Lions and extended his contract, writes Michael Rosenberg of the Detroit Free Press.
Lions defensive end Cliff Avril (sprained knee) isn't likely to play Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles, writes Tom Kowalski of Mlive.com. The Lions haven't given up hope on linebacker DeAndre Levy (groin), who returned to practice Thursday.
The Chicago Bears hope to exploit the Dallas Cowboys' offensive line Sunday, writes Bob LeGere of the Daily Herald.
Bears coach Lovie Smith will use negative media coverage as motivation for his team, writes Rick Morrissey of the Chicago Sun-Times.
The Bears will have to play a game of "Where's DeMarcus (Ware)" this weekend, writes Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune.
Green Bay Packers place-kicker Mason Crosby has bounced back from a late-2009 slump, writes Greg A. Bedard of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Mike Vandermause of the Green Bay Press-Gazette: "Coincidence or not, the Packers offense produced three points in four series against the Eagles with [Ryan] Grant as the primary halfback. On the first four series after Grant was injured, the Packers scored 24 points. That shows the Packers are capable of scoring without Grant, a talented back with a pair of 1,200-yard seasons to his credit but not necessarily a make-or-break player."
Packers coach Mike McCarthy on not using linebacker A.J. Hawk last weekend in Philadelphia, via Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com: "I will not apologize for having more than 11 good defensive football players on our team."
The Minnesota Vikings' trio of cornerbacks is expecting to get tested Sunday by the Miami Dolphins, writes Jeremy Fowler of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
Chip Scoggins of the Star Tribune: "Adrian Peterson was in a playful mood Thursday. He shot baskets on a Nerf hoop in the locker room and joked that his new look -- his head is shaved bald -- makes him faster. 'I'm thinking about cutting off my chin hairs and under my arms too,' he said."
Vikings players would be all for acquiring San Diego Chargers receiver Vincent Jackson, writes Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com.