We're Black and Blue All Over:
We haven't written or heard much about the Chicago Bears' offensive line of late. That silence can mean only one thing: The Bears aren't giving anyone much to complain about in that area.
As Neil Hayes of the Chicago Sun-Times writes, the Bears' line was actually a strength during last Sunday's 38-34 victory over the New York Jets. Offensive line coach Mike Tice has settled down the weekly personnel changes that held back the group earlier this season and the entire offense is benefiting from offensive coordinator Mike Martz's balanced play-calling.
Tice: "[The Jets game] was the fastest they have played, meaning mentally sharp coming off a short week against a team that does a lot of stuff. You're always going to get unscouted looks against the Jets, and I thought it was the best job the guys did of handling the unscouted looks, which tells me they are starting to learn the rules we've tried to install. That means they're getting it and they're getting better."
Continuing around the NFC North on the morning of New Years' Eve:
Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune: "Veterans Chris Harris and Danieal Manning are expected to start Sunday at Lambeau Field and mark the first time the Bears have had safeties paired for an entire season since Tony Parrish and Mike Brown in 2001."
The Bears' defensive performance dipped against the Jets, notes Michael C. Wright of ESPNChicago.com.
Green Bay Packers linebacker A.J. Hawk has made quite a comeback in the team's 3-4 scheme, writes Kareem Copeland of the Green Bay Press-Gazette.
Packers running back John Kuhn has been hearing "Kuuuuuhn!" from fans since his days at Shippensburg, writes Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com.
Packers running back James Starks' practice habits have come into question, writes Rob Reischel of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Minnesota Vikings nose tackle Pat Williams on the team's future, via Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com: "They'll need to rebuild around here. It's going to be kind of rough. ... It'll be real rough."
Vikings rookie quarterback Joe Webb is surprisingly poised, writes Jeremy Fowler of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
Sunday will mark the final day that Eric Bieniemy coaches Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, notes Sid Hartman of the Star Tribune. Bieniemy is leaving to become the offensive coordinator at Colorado.
Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh has been giving defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham personnel tips for the 2011 draft, writes Carlos Monarrez of the Detroit Free Press.
The Vikings have a new respect for the Lions, writes Chris McCosky of the Detroit News.