We're Black and Blue All Over:
Tuesday is the NFL trade deadline. Traditionally it is nothing like the frenzies in other sports, given the relative difficulty of joining a new team at midseason in football. But there are some interesting NFC North angles to consider regardless. Among them:
Would the Detroit Lions consider trading for a running back? Starter Jahvid Best is dealing with his second concussion of the past three months, and his immediate status is uncertain.
Would anyone make a huge offer for Chicago Bears tailback Matt Forte, who is having a career year but is unsigned after this season? It's highly unlikely that the Bears would trade Forte, but you wonder what another team might be willing to part with.
Will the Bears ship out safety Chris Harris, who has asked for a trade?
Is there any connection between the trade deadline and the Minnesota Vikings' decision to delay a decision on the status of starting quarterback Donovan McNabb? Is it possible they will shop McNabb to a quarterback-needy team, possibly the Oakland Raiders, if they decide to make a change to rookie Christian Ponder?
Based on history, at least, Tuesday will pass without a trade in the NFC North. But it's worth keeping an eye on regardless.
Continuing around the division:
At least two teams have had internal discussions about a trade for Forte, according to Vaughn McClure of the Chicago Tribune.
Harris told Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun-Times that he feels "disrespected."
Melissa Isaacson of ESPNChicago.com writes that the Bears should part ways with offensive coordinator Mike Martz in the offseason.
The NFL did not fine Lions coach Jim Schwartz or San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh for their roles in Sunday's postgame fracas. According to the league, "there was no fighting and thus no basis for a fine." I also think the league doesn't feel compelled to offer deterrence for other NFL coaches. Sunday was a once-in-a-generation event.
Drew Sharp of the Detroit Free Press: "Neither deserved a suspension, but if graciousness and sportsmanship still count for anything, Goodell should've made an example of these two by lightening their wallets."
Schwartz on Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford's performance Sunday, via Carlos Monarrez of the Free Press: "It's not one of Matt's better games, for sure."
Schwartz said that Best didn't begin complaining of concussion symptoms until long after the game. But Chris McCosky of the Detroit News notes that Best wasn't on the field for the team's final few drives.
The Green Bay Packers weren't happy when cornerback Sam Shields tried to run back an interception in the end zone Sunday, notes Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com. Shields suffered a concussion on the play.
Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel takes a look a the Packers' imperfections.
The Packers are still hoping to get defensive end Mike Neal back after midseason, writes Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press-Gazette.
Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com looks at the tape of the Vikings' loss to the Bears, noting that receiver Percy Harvin played on only 44 percent of the team's snaps.
The Vikings should find out what Ponder can do against the NFL's best team, writes Bob Sansevere of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
Chip Scoggins of the Star Tribune: "Starting Ponder from Day 1 might have been a tough sell. Not anymore."