Black and Blue all over: Too much protection?

Posted by ESPN.com’s Kevin Seifert

Interesting point this week from Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers, and one that might help you sort through this week’s Have at It feature. Did the Packers hurt themselves by devoting too many bodies to pass protection in their loss to Cincinnati? Rob Demovsky tackles that question in the Green Bay Press-Gazette.

Rodgers: “I think one of the things that happened last week was because of struggles [in protection] in Week 1, we’ve kept more guys in [to block]. Our backs were staying in a little bit longer, and so our stuff was all down the field because we didn’t have any of our check downs out. The push, hopefully, this is week is, ‘Hey you guys got to hold up front.’ We need more options underneath the coverage. When they’re dropping off so far, you need some checkdowns.”

The theory makes some sense but leaves you wondering which is the less of two evils: Defenses getting free shots on the quarterback, or the quarterback ultimately taking sacks because he doesn’t have time to let downfield plays develop? The answer is getting your regular pass protectors -- the offensive line -- to play better. Can that happen in one week? We’ll know soon enough.

Continuing around the NFC North:

  • Rodgers was also outspoken this week on the subjects of effort and accountability, according to Greg Bedard of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: “I feel like some portion of the team felt that we could just show up on Sunday against a Bengals team that we felt like we were better than, and they were going to fold. Well, they didn't. They played with more effort and more intensity. You've got a guy in Antwan Odom who's not a huge name guy, but he out-efforted us on sacks. And his motor was running higher than ours was. I think as a professional you need to hold yourself to a high standard, and when you make mistakes two weeks in a row, that should be unacceptable to you as a man and as a Packer and as a member of this offense." Wow.

  • Chicago should be able to get its running game unhinged Sunday at Seattle, writes Brad Biggs of the Chicago Sun-Times.

  • The Bears are optimistic that defensive end Alex Brown (ankle) will play Sunday, according to Jeff Dickerson of ESPN Chicago.

  • Seahawks receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh on the Bears’ lack of interest in him this offseason: “Man, the Bears ain't holler at me. Jerry Angelo probably didn't even think I could play. So I'm going to show him Sunday." Vaughn McClure of the Chicago Tribune has details.

  • Detroit officials confirmed that rookie linebacker DeAndre Levy will start Sunday against Washington in place of the injured Ernie Sims, writes Nicholas J. Cotsonika of the Detroit Free Press.

  • As of Wednesday, the Lions had 10,000 tickets remaining for Sunday’s game, according to the Associated Press. That’s a big number in terms of preventing a local television blackout.

  • Patrick Reusse of the Star Tribune shares none of the concerns expressed so far about Minnesota.

  • Bob Sansevere of the St. Paul Pioneer Press looks at the connection between Vikings rookie Percy Harvin and quarterback Brett Favre.