Black and Blue all over: Internal replacements

Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert
INDIANAPOLIS -- During an interview with Chicago-area reporters Saturday afternoon, Bears general manager Jerry Angelo continued to downplay expectations for significant personnel changes culled from the free-agent market in 2009.

First, Angelo seemed to advocate for a pair of 2008 draft picks to take on more significant roles this season. Asked about a perceived lack of depth at receiver, Angelo mentioned Earl Bennett, a former third-round pick. And in a discussion about the hole left by departing safety Mike Brown, Angelo suggested 2008 fourth rounder Craig Steltz could be a factor in training camp. Here's an account of the interview from Brad Biggs of the Chicago Sun-Times.

This fits in with Angelo's steps this offseason to minimize what he called a sense of "desperateness" when free agency opens later this week. He said he wants to focus on building the offensive and defensive lines and believes the changes coach Lovie Smith made to his defensive coaching staff will make a major impact in 2009. Here's what Angelo said on the latter topic, according to David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune:

"I'm counting on the fact we're going to do a better job of coaching and that in itself is going to make us a better football team, irrelevant of what player personnel we infuse on our football team this year."

Continuing around the NFC North on the final day of media access the NFL scouting combine:

  • Green Bay linebacker A.J. Hawk discusses the pressure of being a top 5 draft pick in this interview with Jason Wilde of the Wisconsin State Journal. Hawk: "It matters, where you're drafted, as far as how people look at your game and what people expect of you."

  • Although Wake Forest linebacker Aaron Curry is an option as Detroit's No. 1 overall pick, Tom Kowalski of Mlive.com wonders whether they will instead target a linebacker with the No. 20 overall pick.

  • Lions coach Jim Schwartz relied on an alternative rocker to provide his pseudonym at a Detroit-area hotel. Check out what Schwartz told Yahoo! Sports via the Detroit Free Press.

  • Minnesota shouldn't count on getting immediate help at quarterback from the draft, writes Judd Zulgad of the Star Tribune.

  • Sean Jensen of the St. Paul Pioneer Press lays out the major issues the Vikings must tackle in the near future.