We're Black and Blue All Over:
Remember all of those weeks last season when the Green Bay Packers listed linebacker Clay Matthews with a shin injury on their weekly report? That injury, Matthews revealed in an interview with Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press-Gazette, was actually a stress fracture.
Matthews: "I don't make a big deal of it. [It happened] some time in the middle of the season. You can't do anything about it. I was just taking practices off and showing up on game day and giving it my all."
The injury might have slowed Matthews' production in the middle of the season, and perhaps ultimately scuttled his chances for winning the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year award. But he rebounded well in the postseason, totaling 3 1/2 sacks, and had a critical forced fumble in Super Bowl XLV.
As we discussed during our earlier stop on CampTour'11, Matthews reported to training camp slimmer and in improved cardiovascular shape in an attempt to limit the chance of injury. He told Demovsky he weighed in at 252 pounds, or six pounds less than in 2010.
Continuing around the NFC North:
The Packers are contemplating a new base defense alignment to compensate for the loss of defensive end Cullen Jenkins, according to Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. In the alignment, B.J. Raji would work at Jenkins' former end position. Ryan Pickett would be the nose tackle and Mike Neal would be the other end.
David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune thinks the Chicago Bears should hold out their key players from Saturday's preseason opener at Soldier Field considering the state of the playing surface. Haugh: "The game won't mean a thing unless somebody gets injured -- and those chances increased exponentially last week when the Park District forgot to turn on the sprinklers."
Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun-Times takes a closer look at the challenges of replacing the grass at Soldier Field with an artificial surface.
Bears center Roberto Garza plans to lean on what former center Olin Kreutz taught him, writes Michael C. Wright of ESPNChicago.com.
New Minnesota Vikings linebackers coach Mike Singletary is keeping a low profile during his first training camp with the team. Jeremy Fowler of the St. Paul Pioneer Press has more.
The Vikings' offense is moving forward in fits and starts, writes Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com.
Vikings safety Husain Abdullah will miss practice Wednesday to take part in a White House dinner to celebrate Ramadan, according to Judd Zulgad of the Star Tribune.
Detroit Lions receiver Calvin Johnson is having one of the best training camps of his career, writes Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.
Running back Ian Johnson is pushing hard for a Lions roster spot, according to Chris McCosky of the Detroit News.
Tom Kowalski of Mlive.com speaks to a noted NFC North expert about the Lions' place in the division.