Posted by ESPN.com’s Kevin Seifert
Several significant personnel moves surfaced late Wednesday evening in Chicago, most of which should make Bears fans breathe a modest sigh of relief.
As ESPN Chicago’s Jeff Dickerson outlines, left guard Frank Omiyale has been benched after a terrible start to his Bears tenure. Former starter Josh Beekman has been promoted back into the starting role. Meanwhile, Hunter Hillenmeyer has been re-installed as the middle linebacker, with Nick Roach moving to the strong side.
All of these moves make sense. I know the Bears are paying Omiyale $6.3 million this season as part of his lucrative free-agent contract, but he simply hasn’t played well enough to start. Beekman’s size, or lack thereof, was the reason the Bears pursued Omiyale in the first place, but at this point he provides a steadier option.
And I think the Bears had little choice but to arrange their linebackers this way. Hillenmeyer’s experience at the position gives them a better chance at addressing the organizational issues that have plagued the defense in past weeks. And if I had a choice, I’d rather have Roach playing on the outside than Hillenmeyer.
That it took so long for these moves to happen is a topic for another day. In the case of left guard, especially, I imagine there were multiple layers of push and pull going on.
Continuing around the NFC North:
Just to remind you that statistics don’t always tell the true story: Brad Biggs of the Chicago Sun-Times reveals that, according to STATS INC., Omiyale has given up only a half sack this season.
Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune breaks down quarterback Jay Cutler’s ability to lead fourth-quarter comebacks.
Pass protection will be key Sunday for Green Bay, writes Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press-Gazette.
Jason Wilde of ESPN Milwaukee discusses security and pregame introductions for Sunday’s game.
Greg A. Bedard of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel checks in on Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers during Favre-Packers II week.
Quarterback Brett Favre’s hip injury is the least of Minnesota’s worries, writes Judd Zulgad of the Star Tribune.
Vikings defensive tackles Kevin Williams and Pat Williams are not likely to be called to testify before a Congressional subcommittee investigating their lawsuit against the NFL, writes Brian Murphy of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. The hearing is scheduled for next week.
Detroit has 10,000 tickets remaining for Sunday’s game against St. Louis, meaning the game likely will be blacked out on local television in the Detroit area, according to Tim Twentyman of the Detroit News.
Michael Rosenberg of the Detroit Free Press on the Lions offense: “The uncertainty is at running back. Kevin Smith is the unknown, and he knows it.”
The Lions have some 65 blitzes in their playbook this week, according to Mlive.com’s Tom Kowalski.