NFC North Blog
Bears head coach John Fox has always been a guy that loves using multiple backs. He's never really used a feature-back system going all the way back to DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart in Carolina. As a matter of fact, Fox may be one of the biggest culprits to blame for us fantasy owners having to deal with an abundance of running back by committee situations. Now Fox has star running back Matt Forte in Chicago. Forte is already a bit disgruntled heading into the last season of his contract and he surely will not want to see his touches cut during his contract year. Fox recently commented on how he will handle the situation. "It's a positive that he's had a number of carries and the production he's had, both catching the ball and running the ball," Fox said. "We've always been believers in kind of a one-two punch and rolling guys through there whether it's the defensive line; a wave of those guys to stay fresh. I've always had the approach the same thing with running backs. But as I tell guys they pick the team -- how they perform -- and it will be no different at running back, who that guy is and how dependable he is and if he earns that number of reps to get in. We're early in the process and hopefully somebody kind of sets themselves out."
The Bears 7th overall pick of the 2015 draft, Kevin White, has some very large shoes to fill. He will be filling the gap that perennial pro-bowler Brandon Marshall left gaping open. With high expectations for White, many people are looking at him closely. At the moment, he appears to be living up to the hype as Dan Pompei, a long time Bears reporter states, "White had a dominant rookie camp. He had a lot of balls thrown his way, and he caught many, some in impressive fashion."
According to Ian Rapoport, the Lions have signed WR Lance Moore to a one-year deal. The veteran will be joining an already strong WR corps making a starting position highly unlikely for Moore. This move brings in a strong veteran presence as well as much needed depth for a team that struggled with the amount of pass-catchers in previous years.
In the midst of the domestic violence eruption last season in the NFL, then 49ers defensive lineman Ray McDonald was arrested for an incident. He was never charged, but after Commissioner Roger Goodell botched the Ray Rice incident so bad, the public outcry led to every player that was even accused of doing anything to get disciplined in one way or the other. McDonald was no exception, he was cut by the 49ers and teams were very weary of signing him. Mostly due to the fear that incompetent arm of the law could suspend him for either a game or three years, depending on how much publicity the situation garners. However, his defensive coordinator from San Francisco became the DC in Chicago and he believes very strongly in McDonald and convinced the team to sign him. He defended his character very strongly. Obviously I'd been around him for four years, so I knew what kind of guy he was on a daily basis, and nobody gets to know players and players get to know coaches more than when you're in football because we're with those guys eight, nine hours a day, and in training camp more," Fangio said. "I know who he is. Even you guys, it's been well reported about the process that we went through here in deciding whether to sign him or to pursue signing him. At that point where it was said we weren't going to pursue it, at that point I called two other teams in the league to recommend that they sign Ray. And I called Ray's agent to tell him, hey, if you need any character reference, anybody wants to talk to me about Ray, that they might be interested in signing him, have them feel free to call me. I think that tells you what I feel about him."
Lions' linebacker Stephen Tulloch was off to a hot start in 2014. That continued into Week 3 as he sacked Aaron Rodgers. After the sack he jumped into the air in celebration and that was the end of his season. Tulloch tore his ACL and found himself on IR. Now nearly eight months later, the talented LB says he's healthy. "I ask them if they like watching the games," Tulloch said. "They say, 'Yeah.' They ask, 'Are you healthy? I say, 'Do you like watching football?' They say, 'Yeah.' I say, 'Yeah, I'm healthy.'"
Cordarrelle Patterson has been working tirelessly this offseason to become a better football player. He has focused on both his fitness and his route-running. Patterson has always been a great athlete; now he is taking the steps necessary to become a great wide receiver. Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer has taken notice.
"He's really done well," Zimmer said of Patterson. "He's running routes good; he's working hard. So we just need him to continue to do those things and continue to keep getting consistent and keep improving. I've been impressed with the things that he's done."
Adrian Peterson hasn't exactly been shy with expressing his displeasure about playing for the Vikings. Well, it looks like he doesn't have much of a choice; the Vikings have repeatedly said they will not trade Peterson. Having your star player disgruntled could cause a locker room distraction. However, head coach Mike Zimmer doesn't think Peterson's presence will lead to any problems.
"I don't think there will be any issues, no,'' Zimmer said Wednesday.
Vikings' starting defensive end Brian Robinson suffered an injured pectoral muscle on Thursday. The extent of the injury is unknown but it reportedly didn't look good. Robinson didn't have much fantasy impact in 2014, however, he had at least eight sacks and 37 tackles in each of the previous three seasons. He was also involved with 10 fumbles during that span.
Martellus Bennett has been very public with his desire for a new contract after a career year. He is yet to report to Bears camp this offseason. Despite having a great 2014 campaigns, an NFL personnel director said Bennett holds very little trade value due to his ongoing contract dispute. He had this to say, "Bennett does not have much trade value, in his estimation. He believes that Bennett's desire for a new contract will be a major issue if the Bears try and peddle the tight end. Bennett still has two years left on his current deal, and while I understand that Bennett is underpaid relative to his performance last year, what's the motivation for anybody to hand him new money?"
We have heard nothing but positive things about Cordarrelle Patterson this offseason, and Vikings' head coach Mike Zimmer continued the love fest with his recent comments. "Cordarrelle is doing a good job in this offseason. He has been in better shape coming in and he is doing a better job of running routes, of competing each and every down. I look forward to him coming on and I'm a big fan of his. We're just trying to get him to realize all the little intricacies you have to do offensively in the NFL in order to be a great player."