BBAO: Zack Bowman's future

We're Black and Blue All Over:

In evaluating the Chicago Bears' situation at cornerback, ESPNChicago.com's Jeff Dickerson offers a detailed and revealing look at why one-time starter Zack Bowman fell out of favor last season. It started when Bowman, who had intercepted six passes in 2009, gave up a near-touchdown to Detroit Lions receiver Calvin Johnson near the end of the Bears' Week 1 victory at Soldier Field.

Dickerson: Even though the play was ruled a non-catch and the Bears won the game, Bowman took the heat for allowing the near completion, despite the fact [coach Lovie] Smith made a poor defensive call on the play. Although the Bears head coach claimed in a postgame news conference the unit was playing its signature Cover-2 defense on the play in question, it was later revealed Smith called for a three-deep style coverage, which left Bowman without help over the top versus the 6-foot-5 Pro Bowl wideout.

Bowman eventually lost his starting job to Tim Jennings, who had been signed as a free agent. Bowman's ball skills and previous interceptions make him an intriguing case to follow if there is a 2011 season.

Continuing around the NFC North:

  • The Bears are expecting more from tight end Greg Olsen moving forward, writes Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun-Times.

  • Perhaps acknowledging the so-called "Madden Curse," Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers tweeted: "Looks like I'm in the next round of the madden voting. Thank u for all the votes....right???"

  • The 2-year-old daughter of Packers coach Mike McCarthy deleted many of the post-Super Bowl congratulatory texts he received on his cell phone, according to Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press-Gazette.

  • Detroit Lions defensive assistant Daron Roberts has left to become the special teams coach at the West Virginia University, notes Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. Meanwhile, the Lions also hosted two more potential draft picks Monday, including Missouri defensive end Aldon Smith.

  • Tom Kowalski of Mlive.com on the Lions' draft position at No. 13: "While the Lions would like to explore the possibility of trading down because they could still get a quality tackle later in the first round, there isn't much reason for teams to trade up."

  • Minnesota Vikings defensive end Carl Eller is among several ex-players who sued the NFL on Monday to have the lockout lifted, according to the Associated Press. Pension and health benefits for such players could be cut in March 2012 if the lockout doesn't end before then.

  • The Vikings are in as bad of a position relative to the lockout than any other NFL team, writes Jeremy Fowler of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

  • The Vikings haven't given up on safety Tyrell Johnson, notes Judd Zulgad of the Star Tribune.