We're Black and Blue All Over:
The Green Bay Packers are continuing to chip away at the iceberg, as we say. Earlier this month, they locked up punter Tim Masthay with a long-term contract extension. And late Monday night, they agreed to terms with left guard T.J. Lang on a four-year deal.
Lang would have been eligible for unrestricted free agency after the season. He's one of three members of the Packers' offensive line that you could consider long-term starters. Right guard Josh Sitton is under contract through 2016 and right tackle Bryan Bulaga is signed through the 2014 season.
As we discussed recently, the Packers have a number of challenging contracts facing them. Receiver Greg Jennings is a pending free agent, and the Packers probably need to address quarterback Aaron Rodgers and linebacker Clay Matthews in the next year or so as well.
In the meantime, they know they'll have Lang's services for a few more years. After bouncing around the line in his first two years with the team, Lang found a home at left guard last season.
Continuing around the NFC North:
Packers left tackle Marshall Newhouse (concussion) returned to practice Monday, notes Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com.
Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel takes a look at the decisions the Packers will face with their 53-man roster.
Mike Vandermause of the Green Bay Press-Gazette questions why the Packers chose Cedric Benson over Ryan Grant.
The Minnesota Vikings have decided to scrap the experiment of using Everson Griffen at linebacker and will return him to defensive end, notes the Star Tribune. More on this a bit later Tuesday.
Jeremy Fowler of the St. Paul Pioneer Press tells the really cool story of quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson, whose rifle arm has opened a few eyes at Vikings training camp.
Vikings left tackle Matt Kalil injured his thumb in practice Monday but is fine, according to Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com.
Detroit Lions receiver Titus Young has been nearly impossible to stop in training camp, writes Anwar S. Richardson of Mlive.com. Asked how good he can be, here is what Young said: "I always feel like the sky is the limit for me. Ever since Barry Sanders pretty much called my name [at the 2011 draft], I just felt like it was God sent. Barry Sanders. Has he even called anyone's name? He called my name. It just felt like he was passing me the torch."
The court hearing for the second of Lions defensive tackle Nick Fairley's two arrests will be heard Sept. 26, according to the Detroit Free Press. The other is scheduled for Nov. 27.
Cornerback Chris Houston knows he needs to step up as a leader of the Lions' secondary, writes Terry Foster of the Detroit News.
Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune runs down the latest with the Chicago Bears' left tackle situation, noting that offensive coordinator Mike Tice said: "I have trouble sleeping at night until I know that our quarterback is protected."
Bears quarterback Jay Cutler on the offensive line, via Michael C. Wright of ESPNChicago.com: "They're gonna be fine I think. Protection wise, we’re gonna do what we have to do to protect myself or whoever is in there. So if we've got to keep eight in there, if we've got to keep nine in there, that's what we’re gonna do."
Bears punter Adam Podlesh, who is the Bears' player representative, has some concerns about replacement officials. Jeff Dickerson of ESPNChicago.com explains.