We're Black and Blue All Over:
Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel touched on a topic I've always wondered about: To what extent do NFL quarterbacks worry about losing their voice while shouting signals over crowd noise?
As he prepares for Saturday's game at the Georgia Dome, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers acknowledged that it's "something I do think about" but wouldn't elaborate on how he manages his vocal chords.
Even if teams use a silent count at the line of scrimmage, quarterbacks still need to call plays in the huddle and communicate verbally at other points. Rodgers has a 108.1 career passer rating in domes, and so whatever methods he employs seem to have worked.
Continuing around the NFC North:
Rodgers hasn't made a secret of the fact that he likes to play in domes, notes Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com.
The Packers know that Atlanta Falcons running back Michael Turner is difficult to tackle, writes Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press-Gazette.
Mike Mulligan of the Chicago Sun-Times: "Unless the Seattle Seahawks can figure out a way to bring Qwest Field and its 70,000-plus crowd to Chicago, their chances for a second consecutive colossal playoff upset are infinitesimal." With that said, Mulligan provides a blueprint for how the Seahawks could beat the Bears.
Of Bears tailback Chester Taylor, Vaughn McClure of the Chicago Tribune writes: "If there was ever a time for Taylor to regain his swagger, it would be now as the Bears prepare for Sunday's divisional playoff game at Soldier Field."
The Tribune's Dan Pompei: "Let's assume the Seahawks don't upset Lovie Smith's Bears on Sunday. Let's assume Pete Carroll and his staff don't outcoach Smith and his. And let's assume the Bears become one of football's final four. How, then, could the Bears not try to sign Smith to a contract extension in the offseason? It would be in the best short term and long term interests of the organization to sign Smith before he went into the final year of his deal."
Minnesota Vikings receivers coach George Stewart is drawing interest from the college ranks, according to Chip Scoggins of the Star Tribune.
Although he is a third alternate this year for the Pro Bowl, Vikings left tackle Bryant McKinnie thought he had a better season in 2010 than 2009. Jeremy Fowler of the St. Paul Pioneer Press has more.
Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press: "The Lions made 23 changes to their 53-man roster after final cuts this year, but none had more impact than claiming return specialist Stefan Logan off waivers from the Steelers."