We're Black and Blue All Over:
Greg Jennings' declaration Tuesday that he likely will play elsewhere in 2012 meshes with the sense we've had throughout the season, as soon as Randall Cobb began to emerge as a big-time receiver when Jennings was sidelined by an abdominal injury. The Packers simply have too many players coming up for contract extensions, from quarterback Aaron Rodgers to linebacker Clay Matthews to defensive lineman B.J. Raji, to squeeze a big-time deal in for Jennings as well.
Stranger things could happen, of course. Jennings might decide that he prefers to play with Rodgers rather than taking bigger money to play with a lesser quarterback elsewhere. But even before Jennings' injury, the Packers didn't engage in serious negotiations and seemed set to at least allow Jennings to play out the final year of his contract this season. Not only do the Packers have Cobb under contract, but James Jones has emerged as a reliable red zone receiver and Jordy Nelson remains an explosive downfield receiver when healthy.
The Packers' approach with Jennings is the kind that teams take when they are at least hesitant to commit and perhaps have already decided not to. That means it's possible Sunday's game against the Tennessee Titans could be Jennings' last regular-season game at Lambeau Field.
Continuing around the NFC North:
Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press-Gazette looks at the Packers' potential salary-cap strategy moving forward.
The Packers' rookie class is a quick study, writes Lori Nickel of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Rodgers said on his ESPN 540 radio show that he has strong ankles from years of not taping them and that he will be fine after spraining his right ankle last Sunday against the Chicago Bears.
We should start to see the master plan of Bears general manager Phil Emery emerge soon, writes Mike Mulligan of the Chicago Tribune.
Bears receiver Alshon Jeffery needs some refining, according to Michael C. Wright of ESPNChicago.com.
One of Bears coach Lovie Smith's biggest problems is that he doesn't know offense, writes Rick Telander of the Chicago Sun-Times.
Leslie Frazier's calm voice has the Minnesota Vikings on the right track, writes Jim Souhan of the Star Tribune.
Tom Powers of the St. Paul Pioneer Press on tailback Adrian Peterson's role in the Vikings' offense: "What's interesting is that the longer the rebuilding Vikings stay in the playoff hunt, the simpler the offense becomes. With the ineffective passing game nearly abandoned, the playbook now pretty much reads: Give it to Peterson. Despite coming off a knee injury, Peterson's workload is increasing as the season wears on."
Peterson was elected the Ed Block Courage award winner by his teammates, notes Judd Zulgad of 1500ESPN.com.
Drew Sharp of the Detroit Free Press wonders if the Detroit Lions' owners will ever demand excellence.
The Lions placed cornerback Jacob Lacey on injured reserve and signed veteran Ron Bartell, notes Josh Katzenstein of the Detroit News.
Matthew Stafford's season is a classic example of how deceiving statistics can be, writes Anwar S. Richardson of Mlive.com.