We're Black and Blue All Over:
Thanks to everyone for bearing with me at the end of last week. Joking aside, I'm hopeful we'll be bringing some new approaches to the blog soon.
We start this week in the hometown of Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, who told Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun-Times that football workouts among Bears players are "locked and loaded" and will begin soon. Cutler said they will remain private and likely only involve offensive players.
Cutler: "[N]ow is the time for everyone to kind of get together and brush it off, and we're going to do that here in the next couple of weeks."
As the Detroit Free Press points out, players from the Detroit Lions began informal throwing sessions last week. It makes sense for quarterbacks and receivers to work out, but the value of, say, pass-rush drills might be limited.
Continuing around the NFC North:
Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune projects the Bears' approach to free agency.
Tim Twentyman of the Detroit News looks at the Lions' possibilities in free agency.
Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh is excited about the possibilities inherent in playing next to rookie Nick Fairley, writes Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.
Chris McCosky of the Detroit News: "[S]omebody has to toss in a note of polite restraint regarding Fairley. The Lions have not drafted another Ndamukong Suh here, though from the sound of it, there are a lot of people (fans, media and draft experts) who don't seem to understand that. Let's please not forget what a rare beast Suh was last year. With his 10 sacks and 66 tackles, he was the first rookie defensive tackle since 1951 to make the All-Pro team. He was the first Lions' defensive player to earn rookie of the year honors since Bubba Baker in 1978. He was the first non-linebacker to win it since Julius Peppers in 2002. It would be grossly unfair to put those kinds of expectations on Fairley. He is in no way the same type of talent that Suh was coming out of college. If he was, he never would have fallen to the Lions at No. 13."
Green Bay Packers president/CEO Mark Murphy at the end of the team's Tailgate Tour, via Lori Nickel of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: "I'm like the school principal; It's like I only get to know the students when there's a problem. [The lockout] really didn't come up a lot. We talked a lot, just about football. Having played myself, there were a lot of questions about what it was like. But we didn't get into specific issues. The real purpose was to thank our fans across the state and to raise money and that was really the focus."
Kareem Copeland of the Green Bay Press-Gazette checks in with Packers guard Josh Sitton.
Opponents of the Minnesota Vikings' proposed stadium in Arden Hills, Minn., are mobilizing, according to Heron Marquez Estrada of the Star Tribune.
Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com writes on the apparent gulf between the Vikings' position on their stadium agreement and that of Gov. Mark Dayton.
Tom Powers of the St. Paul Pioneer Press: "Leslie Frazier makes order out of chaos. He is the calm after any storm. Frazier could bring tranquility to a mosh pit. And that's pretty much what he did after taking over the Vikings 10 games into last season."