We're Black and Blue All Over:
Our SportsNation chat Tuesday brought a number of questions about Detroit Lions tailback Jahvid Best, who is set to undergo testing this week to determine if he will be activated from the physically unable to perform (PUP) list when he's eligible next Monday.
As his team returned to practice from its bye week Tuesday, coach Jim Schwartz wasn't tipping his hand and it sounds as if the Lions simply don't know Best's status yet. Schwartz, however, did reiterate that Best has been participating in meetings and has conditioned himself into the best shape of his career.
Schwartz: "He's done very, very well. He's in the best shape he's been since he was a rookie. He’s in better shape now than when he was a rookie. He’s physically stronger. He's smarter in our schemes, done a really good job being at meetings and those kind of things. He's more flexible than he’s been. He's worked extremely hard. This isn't a guy that's been on vacation for the last couple months. This guy's worked extremely hard. But we try not to get ahead of ourselves. He's doing what he can. When he gets clearance he'll be back."
Indeed, the Lions are best served not to get ahead of themselves. Next Tuesday will be the one-year anniversary of Best's last game action. He suffered his most recent concussion on Oct. 16, 2011, against the San Francisco 49ers. NFL rules require him to be activated from the PUP at some point during a three-week window that opens Monday, if he is going to play this season.
Continuing around the NFC North:
Schwartz on the team's relatively unproductive rookie class, via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press: "I think it's probably a little too much to be grading those guys after four games. I think we have some very good players in that class, and I think all those guys are going to help us. I think time will bear that out."
Fixing the Lions' special teams is a top priority, according to the staff at Mlive.com.
Lions tight end Brandon Pettigrew did not practice Tuesday, but his injury won't be disclosed until Wednesday, according to Chris McCosky of the Detroit News.
Green Bay Packers rookies "have not picked up what the practice tempo looks like, or the importance of the scout team looks as well as maybe it’s been in the past," according to quarterback Aaron Rodgers, via Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com.
The Packers lead the NFL in penalty yards, notes Lori Nickel of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press-Gazette: "STATS’ research shows that 63 teams in NFL history started 2-3 and qualified for the playoffs. Since 2000 that number is 19, and only one of those teams, New England in the 2001 season, advanced to the Super Bowl, which the Patriots won."
The Minnesota Vikings' defense has been its most pleasant surprise this season, writes Judd Zulgad of 1500ESPN.com.
Mark Craig of the Star Tribune on the number of bubble screens the Vikings run: "The bubble screen is something that ideally shouldn't be called as much as the Vikings call it. However, much like the Patriots with Wes Welker, the Vikings and [Percy] Harvin are at a point where the opposition's awareness of the play is irrelevant to the resulting success of consistently calling it."
The Vikings will decide a course of action with receiver Jerome Simpson's back Wednesday, according to 1500ESPN.com.
Chicago Bears offensive coordinator Mike Tice said that right tackle Gabe Carimi played well last Sunday at Jacksonville with the exception of several mental mistakes. Michael C. Wright of ESPNChicago.com has more.
David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune on Bears coach Lovie Smith's performance: "Not everybody in Chicago who still owns a fake Ditka mustache has to like Smith to respect the way he has done business in 2012."
The Bears might run more no-huddle offense coming out of their bye week, according to Adam L. Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times.