We're Black and Blue All Over:
ON THE WAY TO GREEN BAY, Wis. -- So I spent a few hours in the NFC North blogmobile Wednesday night, and by the time I got out, one Wisconsin news outlet was advocating the Green Bay Packers trade receiver Greg Jennings during the season and another was suggesting they could make him their franchise player this fall. And, at best, Jennings has a 50-50 shot of even getting on the field Thursday night when the Packers take on the Chicago Bears, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.
As you know, Jennings' contract is set to expire after this season and he will be eligible for free agency in March unless the Packers make him their franchise player, as Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press-Gazette writes they might -- and then use it as a tool to trade him. The Packers are relatively tight against the salary cap and have a number of other players in line for new deals, as we've discussed, a list that includes quarterback Aaron Rodgers, linebacker Clay Matthews and nose tackle B.J. Raji.
Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, meanwhile, believes the Packers could get more value for Jennings during the season and should entertain offers despite the impact it could have on their 2012 season.
In the end, it's understandable why the Packers would make Jennings the odd man out if it comes to that. Receiver is one of their deeper positions, and he has suddenly run into a durability issue that at times gives reason for second thought. Mostly, though, this issue is important because already -- in Week 2 of this season -- Jennings' future is casting an unfortunate but unavoidable cloud over the team.
Continuing around the NFC North:
The Packers used a noticeably small rotation of offensive players in their Week 1 loss to the San Francisco 49ers, notes Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com.
The Packers should and will test Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher in the red zone Thursday night, writes Matt Bowen for the Chicago Tribune.
The Bears should be able to play from ahead with their newly explosive offense, writes Mark Potash of the Chicago Sun-Times.
Bears quarterback Jay Cutler is clearly more confident and carrying a bigger swagger than ever this season, writes Jon Greenberg of ESPNChicago.com.
The Detroit Lions should be able to get some big plays against the San Francisco 49ers' defense, writes Justin Rogers of Mlive.com.
Lions left guard Rob Sims is ready for his matchup against 49ers All-Pro defensive lineman Justin Smith. Carlos Monarrez of the Detroit Free Press has more.
The Lions listed receiver Calvin Johnson on their injury report with a foot injury, but he is expected to play Sunday night against the 49ers, according to Chris McCosky of the Detroit News.
Minnesota Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder thinks he needs to play mad at the beginning of a game to avoid a slow start, writes Dan Wiederer of the Star Tribune.
The Vikings are trying not to use as much Cover-2 in their defense as they once did, writes Judd Zulgad of 1500ESPN.com.
Vikings punter Chris Kluwe thanked NFL commissioner Roger Goodell for supporting players' rights to free speech, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press.