We're Black and Blue All Over:
It's starting to look like I'm going to have to learn to spell Dane Sanzenbacher's last name rather than continue copy and pasting it from ESPNChicago.com's website. Nothing is guaranteed at this point, but Sanzenbacher not only appears to have a good chance at making the Chicago Bears' 53-man roster, but the undrafted rookie could also have a role in the team's offense pretty soon (if not immediately) as well.
Jeff Dickerson of ESPNChicago.com provides an update on Sanzenbacher's status. Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz and quarterback Jay Cutler have both complimented his performance as a slot receiver, and he was on the field for the Bears' second offensive series last weekend against the Tennessee Titans. He has reliable hands and understands the Bears' route tree.
At 5-foot-11 and 180 pounds, Sanzenbacher might not be big enough to fill a coverage role on special teams that normally goes to a reserve receiver. But if he is as good of a pass-catcher as the Bears believe, that might not be a deal-breaker.
Continuing around the NFC North:
Bears coach Lovie Smith downplayed any interest the team might have in former defensive end Alex Brown, who was released Tuesday by the New Orleans Saints. Mark Potash of the Chicago Sun-Times has more.
Bears offensive line coach Mike Tice said his group played its best game of the preseason against the Titans, according to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune.
Green Bay Packers defensive end Mike Neal (knee) believes he will be ready for the team's Sept. 8 season-opener, writes Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com.
Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press-Gazette looks at Packers' depth at cornerback.
Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: "Just one week remains before the start of the regular season and the Green Bay Packers still don't know if they have a functional backup at center or guard. The situation is about clear as mud because rookie Caleb Schlauderaff and veteran Nick McDonald, the two players the Packers hoped would solidify their interior, have failed to emerge."
Clarifying earlier remarks, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton said that he is neutral on a voter referendum for a new Minnesota Vikings stadium, according to Rochelle Olson of the Star Tribune. Dayton said he would sign a bill that included a referendum but isn't advocating for one.
The Vikings have a continuing competition for the starting safety spot alongside Husain Abdullah, notes Jeremy Fowler of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Neither Tyrell Johnson nor Jamarca Sanford have won the job.
The Vikings could lose linebacker Jasper Brinkley for an extended time because of a hip injury, writes Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com.
Detroit Lions running back Jahvid Best (concussion) is expected to see action in Thursday's preseason finale, according to Carlos Monarrez of the Detroit Free Press.
The Lions are continuing to stage a punting competition between Nick Harris and Ryan Donahue, notes Philip Zaroo of Mlive.com.
Lions rookie linebacker Doug Hogue is hoping to make a good impression in the final days of the preseason, writes Tim Twentyman of the Detroit News.