We're Black and Blue All Over:
Thursday evening, we noted the debut of Minnesota Vikings quarterback Donovan McNabb and left tackle Charlie Johnson. But from the sounds of it, the player who put on the most eye-catching first-practice display Thursday was Chicago Bears running back Marion Barber.
Barber put on a physical display of running over some defenders, including defensive lineman Vernon Gholston, and stiff-arming others during full-contact running drills, according to Vaughn McClure of the Chicago Tribune. At one point, coach Lovie Smith chuckled to himself as Barber obviously raised the intensity of practice.
You continue to wonder if the Bears plan to enter the regular season with three veteran running backs or if it is just a matter of time before they part ways with erstwhile No. 2 back Chester Taylor.
Continuing around the NFC North:
Bears defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli on Gholston, via Mark Potash of the Chicago Sun-Times: "Vernon's got great speed. He's really put together. Sometimes, for a guy that's played down a little bit more and then he's moved back, sometimes your instincts may possibly get taken away a little bit. But we're going to get him down on the ground, put his hand down there, and just rep him -- over and over and over. Because I know he's got speed, and we've just got to work with him."
Bears quarterback Jay Cutler via Jon Greenberg of ESPNChicago.com: "It's Year 2 [in offensive coordinator Mike Martz's system], it's completely different. It's night and day. I feel a lot more comfortable with the reads and where I'm going with the ball. So it's just a matter of getting the offensive line worked out and getting me and the receivers' timing. We're kind of playing catch up. We don't really have a lot of time with no OTAs and just getting these guys after six practices. We've got to make it happen pretty quickly."
Green Bay Packers tight ends coach Bob McAdoo has no problem with tight end Jermichael Finley's lean 240-pound frame, writes Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com.
Packers cornerback Davon House is making an early impression in camp, writes Lori Nickel of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Packers defensive line coach Mike Trgovac on the return of defensive end Mike Neal, via Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press-Gazette: "I don't want to make any predictions for him. But we're counting on him. We really need him to come through for us."
The Detroit Lions have taken a wait-and-see approach to defensive end Cliff Avril's contract situation, writes Chris McCosky of the Detroit News.
New Lions linebacker Stephen Tulloch thinks he'll eventually be moved to the middle, according to the Detroit Free Press.
Receiver Derrick Williams will have a tough time making the Lions roster, writes Tom Kowalski of Mlive.com.
Johnson, the Vikings' new left tackle, admitted his first practice was "ugly." Mark Craig of the Star Tribune has more.
Vikings receiver Bernard Berrian will be a free agent after this season following a restructuring of his contract, according to Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com.
Some Arden Hills, Minn., residents expressed concern about the Vikings' new stadium plan at an open house Thursday night, writes Miles Trump of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.