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Black and Blue all over: Jennings' lament

Posted by ESPN.com’s Kevin Seifert

In his own way Monday, Green Bay receiver Greg Jennings made clear he could be helping the Packers more than he has to this point in the season.

Jennings’ 11 receptions is the lowest four-game total of his career, and while speaking to Wisconsin reporters, he did his best to toe the line between honesty and team-first mentality. Here’s part of what he said, according to Greg A. Bedard of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

"I feel like that when I get the ball in my hands, good things happen. Period. I mean, it's not an arrogant statement. It's not an 'I better get the ball' type deal. It's fact. And we always talk about being a real team, and what are the facts? Those are the facts. When we get the ball in our hands, we make plays."

Jennings went out of his way to avoid blaming quarterback Aaron Rodgers. He noted the Packers have 14 drops this season, including 10 from wide receivers, and also pointed out the 20 sacks Rodgers has taken. But he had an interesting suggestion for the Packers coaching staff if the offensive line’s woes can’t be corrected:

“If it is we can't protect, if that is the case, then let's take some of the stress off the offensive line. Period. Or off the protection. That's typically how it works. Will we do that? I don't know. If it's raining, I'm going to pull out an umbrella if I have one. If I don't have one, then I'm just going to get wet. If I have an option to make a correction, to make an adjustment, then why not make the adjustment?"

To me, that’s a stronger statement than a receiver saying he wants the ball. And I agree totally with the sentiment. The Packers can’t sit by much longer and wait to see if their offensive linemen can individually improve their pass protection skills in a regular-season setting. Schematic changes must be an option.

Continuing around the NFC North:

  • It appeared that left tackle Chad Clifton (ankle) practiced Monday, but it’s not clear if he’s ready to return to the starting lineup after a two-game absence. More details in the Green Bay Press-Gazette. Meanwhile, Bedard reports that rookie T.J. Lang -- and not Daryn Colledge -- would start at left tackle Sunday against Detroit if Clifton can't play.

  • My AFC West colleague Bill Williamson reports the Packers will work out former Denver running back Ryan Torain on Tuesday. Torain's once-promising career in Denver was curtailed by knee injuries.

  • Chicago linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa (knee) does appear ready to return to the starting lineup, notes Bob LeGere of the Daily Herald.

  • Bears players and coaches are congratulating the development of their former tailback, Cedric Benson, who is thriving in Cincinnati. Vaughn McClure of the Chicago Tribune has details.

  • Michael Rosenberg of the Detroit Free Press: “The bottom line in this city is he won't get many [wins]. [Coach Jim] Schwartz is saying all the right things. He seems to be doing a good job. But Schwartz has one of the least talented rosters in the NFL, and there is only so much he can do about it.”

  • The Lions have a long way to go in their defensive secondary, writes John Niyo of the Detroit News. Opposing quarterbacks are completing 73.3 percent of their passes.

  • One injury I failed to point out Monday: The Lions have lost cornerback Eric King for the season due to a shoulder injury. Tom Kowalski of Mlive.com has details.

  • Rick Alonzo of the St. Paul Pioneer Press looks at Minnesota’s next three opponents: Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Green Bay.

  • On a radio show last week, Minnesota quarterback Brett Favre said he didn’t know whether he would play next season. Judd Zulgad of the Star Tribune has a transcript.