BBAO: Packers will use 'hot hand' at RB

We're Black and Blue All Over:

For those wondering exactly how the Green Bay Packers will replace running back Cedric Benson's carries -- not that there are any fantasy implications, of course -- here is what we can tell you: Alex Green will get the first carry Sunday night against the Houston Texans. After that, Packers coach Mike McCarthy said he will go with the "hot hand" between Green, James Starks and Brandon Saine.

All three players got work with the first team in practice Wednesday, according to Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. McCarthy: "The first carry will be Alex Green. He's a little farther ahead than James is right now and that's the way we'll go. But we have three halfbacks and we'll utilize all three of them."

That makes sense in the initial stages of replacing Benson, mostly because it's not clear if the Packers have a player they can rely on singularly to take on the full load. It will have to be a team effort, at least initially.

Continuing around the NFC North:

  • Mike Vandermause of the Green Bay Press-Gazette: "Yes, the Packers' offense has sputtered, and [Aaron] Rodgers deserves some blame for that. But to suggest there is something amiss with Rodgers' game is foolish."

  • Packers linebacker Clay Matthews, who is once again the NFL's sack leader due to a scoring change by the Elias Sports Bureau, is calling for more protection for defensive players by the NFL. Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com explains.

  • The Philadelphia Eagles' high-priced secondary poses a challenge for the Detroit Lions, writes Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.

  • The production of Lions receiver Titus Young has not matched his preseason promise, writes Chris McCosky of the Detroit News.

  • The Lions' defensive line has a chance to have an impact against the Eagles' offensive line, according to Justin Rogers of Mlive.com.

  • Minnesota Vikings cornerback Chris Cook on his play this season, via the Star Tribune: "I had a lot of time off my first two years. I'm not saying it's an excuse or anything like that. But I definitely feel I can play better. And, with more reps, I feel I will."

  • Bob Sansevere of the St. Paul Pioneer Press speaks with Vikings middle linebacker Jasper Brinkley.

  • Veteran receivers Michael Jenkins and Devin Aromashodu will need to play bigger roles for the Vikings if receiver Jerome Simpson continues to be slowed by a back issue. Judd Zulgad of 1500ESPN.com explains.

  • Chicago Bears general manager Phil Emery won't approach coach Lovie Smith about a contract extension until after the season, writes Michael C. Wright of ESPNChicago.com.

  • Emery on Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, via Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune: "He's a passionate player. He has great drive and energy. He is moving toward excellence. He does care and love his teammates and he is a big part of what we’re doing and the positive things we are doing."

  • Suddenly, writes Mark Potash of the Chicago Sun-Times, free-agent receivers want to play for the Bears.