We're Black and Blue All Over:
We've spent so much time this summer discussing the Green Bay Packers' left guard competition, won by veteran T.J. Lang, that we haven't really noted that left tackle Chad Clifton has spent much of training camp on a strict practice regimen designed to limit wear and tear on his knees. With relatively little practice under his belt, Clifton looked pretty rusty in Friday night's preseason game against the Indianapolis Colts.
But as Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com points out, the Packers have no concern about Clifton's durability and availability for the season, even with his heir apparent -- rookie Derek Sherrod -- now working as the second-team left tackle. Here's what coach Mike McCarthy told reporters Sunday:
"I have all the confidence in the world in Chad Clifton. Like I've stated, Chad Clifton's played at a Pro Bowl level in my time here, and I expect him to play at that level this year. I don't know what else to tell you. He had a handful of plays I'm sure he wishes he had back."
Clifton's rough night came against a pretty good opponent in Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney, who had two sacks. Clifton also was called for an obvious hold on a play that wiped out a touchdown. It seems that similar concerns have arisen about Clifton most every summer, and he's managed to push through the season. The fact that the Packers drafted a player at his position in the first round makes things a little more interesting this year, but I really don't think the Packers want Sherrod replacing Clifton anytime soon.
Continuing around the NFC North:
Packers tailback Ryan Grant on taking a pay cut this season, via Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press-Gazette: "Nobody wants to lose any money, but at the same time you have to look at the situation. I'm not the first person to [take a pay cut], I won't be the last person to do it. We'll see how it pans out. The fact that it's guaranteed makes you feel good they're willing to do that as an organization."
Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel profiles Tori Gurley, who has unofficially blocked five punts in Packers training camp this summer.
Rick Morrissey of the Chicago Sun-Times on Chicago Bears linebacker Lance Briggs' request for a new contract: "Lance Briggs is not Brian Urlacher, and therein lies the problem in Briggs' quest for another boatload of money from the Bears."
Sean Jensen of the Sun-Times profiles Bears defensive tackle Amobi Okoye.
Bears tight end Desmond Clark was carted off the field Saturday with a knee injury, but Jeff Dickerson of ESPNChicago.com reports it is not believed to be a season-ender.
Bears receivers left 100 yards of catches on the field Saturday night against the Tennessee Titans, writes Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune.
Minnesota Vikings tailback Adrian Peterson seems to be running with a different style this summer, writes Judd Zulgad of 1500ESPN.com.
Vikings left tackle Charlie Johnson played well Saturday night against the Dallas Cowboys, writes Mark Craig of the Star Tribune.
Jeremy Fowler of the St. Paul Pioneer Press looks at the Vikings' roster battles.
The Vikings are offering upper-deck tickets at a 50 percent discount for their first two home games. A failure to sell out will lead to a local television blackout.
The Detroit Lions' offense looks potent, writes Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.
Bob Wojnowski of the Detroit News: "If Matthew Stafford is the face of the Lions, then Ndamukong Suh is the scowl. Even the sneer. When we talk about this team changing its culture, that's where it starts, where Suh and his buddies reside."
Tom Kowalski of Mlive.com considers the matchup problems presented by Lions tight end Tony Scheffler.