We're Black and Blue All Over:
Inside Slant partner Mike Sando and I spent this week's podcast hashing through the bleak pool of quarterback replacements available this offseason for teams that want to make a change. A few hours later, ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay released an updated set of rankings that added more context to the discussion.
There are only two quarterbacks ranked among McShay's 32 best players in the draft, and both are near the bottom of the list. West Virginia's Geno Smith is No. 23 and USC's Matt Barkley is No. 31. And that's it.
Quarterbacks tend to rise in value as the draft approaches considering the importance of the position. But this is yet another sign that it's a bad year to need a new quarterback for NFL teams.
Continuing around the NFC North:
Minnesota Vikings cornerback Chris Cook (wrist) is hoping to get the green light to play Sunday against the Houston Texans, writes Mark Craig of the Star Tribune.
The Vikings attribute their low penalty totals in part to having officials at their practices, writes Ben Goessling of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
Vikings defensive end Brian Robison has a Grade 3 AC sprain of his right shoulder, the most severe version of the injury, notes Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com.
Two Green Bay Packers players, guard T.J. Lang and tailback Alex Green, are dealing with concussions this week, notes Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
The Packers and the city of Green Bay are prepping for a major snowstorm Thursday, writes Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com. The team has its regular practice scheduled and coach Mike McCarthy is expecting players to arrive at Lambeau Field on time.
Will Sunday be Greg Jennings' final regular-season game at Lambeau Field? "It's a real possibility," Jennings said Wednesday, according to Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press-Gazette.
Jon Greenberg of ESPNChicago.com on Chicago Bears receiver Brandon Marshall: "Marshall has taken on the role of team mouthpiece, pulse taker and notebook filler. The wild card has become the ace."
Most injured Bears players participated Wednesday in at least a portion of practice, writes Jeff Dickerson of ESPNChicago.com. That includes receiver Earl Bennett, cornerback Tim Jennings and defensive lineman Henry Melton.
The Bears might use newly resigned tailback Kahlil Bell in short-yardage situations against the Arizona Cardinals, according to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune.
Jeff Seidel of the Detroit Free Press: "Everybody can agree on one thing: The Lions stink. But nobody can seem to agree on who is at fault for this disappointing 4-10 team that has lost six straight games."
The Lions haven't given up on offensive lineman Jason Fox, writes Justin Rogers of Mlive.com.
New cornerback Ron Bartell hopes he has a chance to compete for a spot in the Lions' 2013 secondary, writes Chris McCosky of the Detroit News.