We're Black and Blue All Over:
We have big news here early Monday morning. Corporate cousin Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com is reporting that the Green Bay Packers will not add cornerback Al Harris to their 53-man roster on Monday, the deadline for doing so. Instead, they will release Harris after apparently determining that he hasn't made it back from a devastating knee injury suffered last Nov. 22 at Lambeau Field.
Coach Mike McCarthy was non-committal about the decision after Sunday night's 45-7 victory over the Dallas Cowboys, but Harris confirmed it in a text message. The Packers have gotten Pro Bowl work from Tramon Williams in Harris' place, and rookie Sam Shields has done a nice job as the nickelback.
We'll have more on this later Monday when the Packers presumably make it official. But Harris tore the anterior cruciate ligament, the lateral collateral ligament, the IT band, the fibular collateral ligament and the lateral hamstring in his left knee and leg. Rumors around the NFL suggested Harris might have a hard time returning from the injury, but the Packers kept hope until the final moment.
Harris, 36, arrived in Green Bay in a 2003 trade with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Let's take an early-morning spin around the division after the completion of Week 9:
Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune after the Chicago Bears' 22-19 victory over the Buffalo Bills: "With just about everyone but team matriarch Virginia McCaskey weighing in on the need for offensive coordinator Mike Martz to dust off the running plays in his high-volume playbook, the Bears were as balanced as they've been since the season-opening victory over the Lions. There were 31 rushes and 30 passes. Matt Forte (14 carries, 49 yards) and Chester Taylor (10 carries, 13 yards) weren't special against a run defense that was on pace to be the NFL's worst in three decades. But with balance came success on third down -- the Bears converted 7 of 12 -- and they had 14- and 13-play drives."
Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune: "Give the game ball to Mike Martz. Hand it, don't throw it."
Rick Telander of the Chicago Sun-Times: "Beating the Buffalo Bills is like beating up your little brother. If you lose to the runt, you’ve got a lot more problems than just the bloody nose he gave you."
Michael C. Wright of ESPNChicago.com: "Chicago isn't a division-winning, playoff-caliber team. The fact the club knows that, too, gives it a better chance of developing into that type of team in the second half of the season."
Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (right shoulder) will have an MRI exam Monday, according to ESPN's Chris Mortensen.
Tom Kowalski of Mlive.com comes down hard on Lions coach Jim Schwartz for calling a pass play instead of a time-killing run after the two-minute warning Sunday in Ford Field. The resulting incompletion gave the New York Jets enough time to drive for a game-tying field goal in what turned out to be a 23-20 victory.
Bob Wojnowski of the Detroit News: "From the fans to the coach to the owner, there haven't been many losses as crushing as this. Oh, I know the Lions are only a 2-6 team trying to make progress, so it's not like they lost a playoff opportunity. But they may have lost their young quarterback for an extended period with his fifth injury in a year-and-half, and they lost a supreme chance to join the realm of NFL rising teams."
John Niyo of the Detroit News notes the Lions have lost their inferiority complex. Now they need to convince the rest of us that it's justified.
The Packers' offense clicked all night long, writes Gary D'Amato of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
This is what happens when the Packers play a complete football games, writes Mike Vandermause of the Green Bay Press-Gazette.
Packers linebacker Clay Matthews heard chants of "MVP" Sunday night, writes Wilde.
Minnesota Vikings coach Brad Childress characterized Sunday's game this way, via Judd Zulgad of the Star Tribune: "They came expecting to see an execution and it ended up a pretty good football game at the end."
Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com: "[Vikings players] won by coming to the blunt realization that playing for something with Childress the next eight weeks would be a hell of a lot better than playing for nothing without him."
Tom Powers of the St. Paul Pioneer Press: "Now it's impossible to fire the coach. At least, for right now. The Vikings rallied furiously to win, meaning they are carrying momentum into next week's game at Chicago. Any change right now might short-circuit that momentum."