We're Black and Blue All Over
Yeesh. When I looked at the summer calendar midway through the offseason, I figured July 16-22 would be a safe and quiet time to take a last-second breather before training camp. From the looks of it, all I missed was the end of a two-year contract battle between the Chicago Bears and tailback Matt Forte, evidence of a growing rivalry between two of our NFC North head coaches, the death of a former longtime Minnesota Vikings executive and yet another arrest of a Detroit Lions player.
We'll touch on those subjects and more as the day progresses. Most notably, we'll be monitoring whether the Lions take any quick action after cornerback Aaron Berry's second arrest in a month. It was the seventh legal entanglement of a Lions player this offseason, three of which have been repeat offenders, and provides a pretty tense backdrop for the opening of training camp later this week.
For now, let's catch up on a busy weekend of coverage around the division as we count down the final days before summer practice begins.
The NFL needs to step in on the Lions, writes Drew Sharp of the Detroit Free Press. Sharp: "They've now officially lost control of players who apparently cannot understand the basic precept of not putting themselves in positions that could possibly warrant police intervention. It's time for Roger Goodell to take over Lions' discipline because it’s obvious now that neither general manager Martin Mayhew nor head coach Jim Schwartz can impress upon their players that their off-field indiscretions will bring forth severe repercussions."
Chris McCosky of the Detroit News: "It might be time for the Lions to send something stronger than a verbal message to their wayward players."
Bob Wojnowski of the News: "If the Lions cut Berry, there's no way players can be surprised, or even upset. There's no way they didn't see this coming. And if you're worried about the precedent, the Lions could argue Berry's alleged offenses involved alcohol in one case and a gun in the other, a dangerous combo."
Last I checked, a majority of responders to an Mlive.com poll were calling for the Lions to release Berry.
Lions first-round draft pick Riley Reiff isn't signed yet but is making his way toward Detroit this week anyway, writes Dave Birkett of the Free Press.
Could Kelvin Hayden unseat Tim Jennings as a starting cornerback for the Bears? That's one of the questions explored in this analysis of the Bears' secondary from ESPNChicago.com.
The Bears have reloaded on special teams, writes Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune.
The Bears' offensive line is once again facing pressure, notes Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun-Times.
Bears receiver Brandon Marshall gave the keynote address to the National Alliance on Mental Illness convention, according to Jensen for the Sun-Times.
In many ways, new Green Bay Packers quarterbacks coach Ben McAdoo has been handed a plum job, argues Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press-Gazette.
Here is the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's fan guide to training camp.
Cornerback Charles Woodson is the Packers' third-most important player, according to ESPNMilwaukee.com.
Packers coach Mike McCarthy brushed off a subtle shot from Lions coach Jim Schwartz about his decision to take the team skeet shooting during minicamp. McCarthy to Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com: "We have a lot of confidence in the way we run our program, and we're always trying to make it better. And I think skeet shooting is going to be the difference in us getting back to the Super Bowl. So there."
Vikings tailback Toby Gerhart told ESPN 1500 that he is planning on having a big role in the team's 2012 season.
Dan Wiederer of the Star Tribune as the Vikings prepare to open camp: "It will be hard to generate overwhelming giddiness for a team that even the most hopeful fans understand won't likely supply a winning season."
Tom Powers of the St. Paul Pioneer Press on the death of former Vikings general manager Mike Lynn: "The adjective most often used to describe him was 'slick.' And he truly was one of the most colorful figures ever to grace our humble tundra."
New Vikings place-kicker Blair Walsh has a "five-to-10-second" rule, he tells Bob Sansevere of the Pioneer Press.