We're Black and Blue All Over:
If you really wanted to, you could interpret comments from Detroit Lions coach Jim Schwartz on Thursday as a shot at the way some other NFC North teams scheduled out their minicamp and offseason this spring. But to me, it was more of an honest assessment of what the Lions needed than anything else.
To be clear, this wouldn't have been the right year for Schwartz to take the Lions on an off-field "team-building" expedition. After the kind of offseason they have had, it might have looked bad to send them off to shoot skeet rather than practice on the field.
Here's what Schwartz said after the Lions' final day of minicamp, via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press: "We had no sporting clays today or no amusement parks or water. Work day of minicamp. … We take a lot of pride in the fact that we play for a blue-collar town and we try to reflect that kind of work ethic, and we have very few opportunities to practice this off-season. Ten OTAs, one minicamp and we talked in the beginning, every one was crucial and couldn't afford to waste any of them. And that's our point as a team. … These guys will get out of here later tonight, some of them out tomorrow, maybe after the weekend. Some guys are staying in town. But they have plenty of time to enjoy the rest of their summer before they get to training camp. Today was a work day for us."
The Green Bay Packers, of course, spent Wednesday at a clay pigeon range rather than on the practice field. File that under the category of every team needing something different. I don't have a problem with coach Mike McCarthy's decision there, based on the Packers' offseason, and surely Schwartz made the right call for his team as well.
Continuing around the NFC North;
Lions receiver Nate Burleson thinks that running back Mikel Leshoure will be the team's "X Factor" in 2012, notes Bob Wojnowski of the Detroit News.
The Lions are far along in their installation process, writes Anwar S. Richardson of Mlive.com.
Chicago Bears tailback Matt Forte will have some cramming to do when he returns to the team, writes Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune.
ESPNChicago.com has a wrap of the Bears' final minicamp practice.
The Bears liked what they saw of their team this spring, writes Neil Hayes of the Chicago Sun-Times.
McCarthy on why he gave up a day of minicamp, via Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com: "You want to do it for all the right reasons, but there was work that needed to be done before that. I felt like we accomplished that, so that’s why we did it."
The Packers are impressed with undrafted rookie Dezman Moses, writes Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Packers linebacker A.J. Hawk thought he got hung up on blocks too long last season, writes Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press-Gazette.
The Minnesota Vikings are counting on their 2011 draft class to take a big step in 2012, writes Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com.
The five members of the Minnesota Sports Facility Authority, which will oversee construction of the Vikings' new stadium, have been named. Richard Meryhew of the Star Tribune has details.