I'm not a big believer that external attention to internal drama can unify a professional sports team, especially one with as much experience and as many veterans as the Chicago Bears. But I understand where Bears place-kicker Robbie Gould was coming from Tuesday night during an appearance on ESPN 1000.
Gould acknowledged that "this could be a very defining week in our season" and suggested that the behavior of quarterback Jay Cutler has been addressed adequately within the locker room. If it had not been, Gould said: "I think this could potentially be an issue that is going to need to be re-addressed. And we're going to have to go back to the basics and maybe evaluate it in a different way than it's already been handled."
Cutler said Tuesday that he has spoken with the Bears' "powers-that-be" as well as the offensive line individually after bumping and screaming at left tackle J'Marcus Webb during last Thursday's game at Lambeau Field. Cutler said he regretted shoving Webb but not yelling at him, and perhaps that is the line the Bears discussed internally.
Assuming they've handled the issues involved, the Bears will be able to look back at this week as one they artfully navigated a significant distraction. But I don't think it will make them a better team than they were destined to be. That only happens in the movies.
Continuing around the NFC North:
Cutler has been at his worst in the biggest games he has played, according to Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune.
Mark Potash of the Chicago Sun-Times looks back at some trick plays in Bears history.
Justin Rogers of Mlive.com explores why the Detroit Lions weren't more successful running the ball Sunday night against the San Francisco 49ers.
The Lions' run defense could get a break this weekend based on the struggles of Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson, writes Carlos Monarrez of the Detroit Free Press.
The Lions claimed cornerback Jerome Murphy off waivers and released cornerback Kevin Barnes. According to Tim Twentyman of the Lions' website, the Lions will not lose the conditional draft pick they traded to the Washington Redskins earlier this month to acquire Barnes.
Green Bay Packers receiver James Jones said that quarterback Aaron Rodgers apologized for admonishing him on the field Thursday night but that the apology wasn't necessary. Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com has more.
Jones, via Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: "Your kids do something wrong, you yell at them every once in awhile. You tell them, 'You can't do that. Don't go back by that outlet.' You do it again, Daddy gonna pop you. That's all it is. We're a family out there. Sometimes we argue, sometimes that stuff is going to happen."
Packers coach Mike McCarthy, via Lori Nickel of the Journal Sentinel: "We're not that far off on offense."
Judd Zulgad of 1500ESPN.com addresses the Minnesota Vikings' lack of a downfield passing game.
Former Vikings quarterback Fran Tarkenton in the St. Paul Pioneer Press: "The more I see quarterback Christian Ponder play, the more convinced I am that he can be a star in this league. He has been so impressive, especially in clutch situations."
Mark Craig of the Star Tribune explores what a middle linebacker must do in the Cover 2 defense.