We're Black and Blue All Over:
We've made it! (Sort of.)
The entire NFC North will open its 2013 preseason schedule Friday evening, affairs that will be most notable for their impact on second-level job competitions and evaluations of previously untested players. We'll have a few preview details to post later in the day, and by Saturday morning we'll corral our vast network of resources to provide observations of all four games.
For now, let's take our morning tour -- one that by your request will continue through our current transition:
Friday night will give Chicago Bears coach Marc Trestman his first chance to re-adjust to NFL game rules after spending five years in Canada, notes Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune. Trestman: "It is not going to be easier [than Canada]. It is different. You don't have as many situations that come out. It's very, very difficult to manage the clock in any league."
Bears reserve quarterback Matt Blanchard will get a big opportunity Friday night. More from Mark Potash of the Chicago Sun-Times.
Jon Greenberg of ESPNChicago.com writes on the Bears' transition at linebacker.
Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com reads between the lines on what appeared to be a response from Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy to former receiver Greg Jennings.
All eyes are on Packers place-kicker Mason Crosby as the preseason opens, writes Mike Vandermause of the Green Bay Press-Gazette.
McCarthy's thoughts about using quarterback Vince Young in Friday night's game, via Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com: "My goal with Vince is to play him in the game. He's definitely playing uphill right now. That's just from the mental transition that he's going through and frankly it's the responsibility of the coaching staff, particularly myself calling the game, to get him comfortable where he can just play. That's really what we’re working on here in the next 30-plus hours."
The Packers' Terrell Manning still believes he is the best linebacker drafted in 2012. More from Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Jennings is one-upping Brett Favre, writes Jim Souhan of the Star Tribune, "not in terms of existential angst and passive aggressiveness, but with new-age, self-aware, YouTube-able, Twitter-ready, Facebook-enflaming, border-crossing Scud missiles designed to invoke an emotional response even if they miss the target."
There won't be much star power in the Vikings' preseason opener, according to Ben Goessling of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
Joe Webb will make his debut Friday night as the Vikings' jack-of-all-trades offensive weapon, writes Andrew Krammer of 1500ESPN.com.
We'll get our first look Friday night at whether Detroit Lions rookie Ziggy Ansah can make an immediate impact. That and more from Justin Rogers of Mlive.com.
We'll also see if rookie Steven Miller will have a legitimate chance of winning the Lions' kick returner job, notes Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.
The Lions have taken a leap of faith in rebuilding their offensive line, writes Bob Wojnowski of the Detroit News.