BBAO: Whoopee! Preseason begins tonight

We're Black and Blue All Over:

The NFC North's preseason begins Thursday night, and as usual the biggest news with these otherwise anticlimactic events is who won't be playing in them. The Green Bay Packers, for instance, will play at the San Diego Chargers without a handful of injured starters -- including receiver Greg Jennings and left tackle Marshall Newhouse -- and defensive back Charles Woodson told reporters he isn't likely to play, either.

"You know, that's kind of how it's been the past … years," Woodson said, according to the Green Bay Press-Gazette. "I guess it's pretty much expected."

Another question is whether quarterback Aaron Rodgers will play, given Newhouse's absence and the precarious depth behind him. Meanwhile, it's assumed that Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler will start against the Denver Broncos on Thursday night, one day after the birth of his son.

Yes, I have always felt (and written) that the preseason is silly from a spectator perspective. But I realize others feel differently, and it is live football after all, so we will cover it (mostly) respectfully once again this summer.

Continuing around the NFC North: