We're Black and Blue All Over:
We spent plenty of time this offseason discussing how the Chicago Bears would split carries between tailbacks Matt Forte and Chester Taylor. Here's how it's gone for the first half of the season: Forte has 104 carries, while Taylor has 54. That makes for about a 65-35 split.
The ratio is more even than Taylor's most recent stop backing up Adrian Peterson for the Minnesota Vikings. But it's probably less than what most of us expected after the Bears guaranteed Taylor some $7 million to sign a free-agent contract in March. As my ESPChicago.com colleague Jeff Dickerson noted, Vikings quarterback Brett Favre said Taylor was underutilized with the Vikings. I think we can say the same about Taylor's time in Chicago thus far.
He will face the Vikings on Sunday hoping for an increased role.
"I wish I could have a breakout every week," he said. "But to have it against the team I played for the last four years would be even better. ... It's another game, but the only difference is I know way more people, and I was there the last four years."
We'll see. Several things have to happen first. The Bears have to commit to the run on a more permanent basis, and then they have to make the decision to get Taylor on the field more often. As we noted last week, it makes sense to at least use him more regularly in short-yardage and goal-line situations.
Continuing around the NFC North:
Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun-Times looks at the matchup between Bears defensive end Julius Peppers and Vikings left tackle Bryant McKinnie.
The Bears' season starts Sunday, writes Jon Greenberg of ESPNChicago.com.
Bears offensive line coach Mike Tice said he is proud to see Vikings players he coached in Minnesota still doing well, writes Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune.
Judd Zulgad of the Star Tribune examines the Vikings' no-huddle offense and whether it could become a more frequent part of the team's attack.
Vikings cornerback Asher Allen didn't practice Wednesday because of a concussion, raising concern about his availability for Sunday's game against the Bears. Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com has more.
My AFC South colleague Paul Kuharsky has an excellent take on the effort of new Tennessee Titans receiver Randy Moss. Kuharsky: "Let’s set aside, please, the concept that the not-always-playing-hard line of questioning is some sort of media creation. The media didn’t create the tape we’ve seen of snaps where he has hardly bolted off the line of scrimmage. It didn’t make him say, 'I’ll play when I want to play.'"
Detroit Lions coach Jim Schwartz called reports that quarterback Matthew Stafford could miss the rest of the season "irresponsible," notes Tom Kowalski of Mlive.com.
John Niyo of the Detroit News provides the blow-by-blow of the Lions' attempts to keep Stafford's true status in-house.
Receiver Calvin Johnson said he is preparing for backup Shaun Hill to be the Lions' starter for an extended period, writes Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.
Mike Vandermause of the Green Bay Press-Gazette on the Green Bay Packers' release of cornerback Al Harris: "There is no room for sentimentality in the NFL."
Packers safety Charlie Peprah has helped stabilize the defense, writes Gary D'Amato of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com looks at the Packers at their bye.