NFC North Notes: Bears, Lions, Packers

     

Bears

The Bears are still looking for a steady kicker after neither Elliott Fry nor Eddy Pineiro locked up the job over the course of the spring. The two will continue to compete during the preseason as the Bears keep their eyes peeled for options to stabilize the position. 

“We’re excited about the two young guys we have,” Pace said via Rich Campbell of the Chicago Tribune. “It’s still open for competition. Those guys are going to battle it out. Obviously, we’re scouring the waiver wire as we go forward. And it’s kind of open competition as we go forward.”

While Robbie Gould is no longer an option after re-signing with the 49ers, other veterans like Matt Bryant and Phil Dawson are potentially still available. Pace said the ideal for the Bears would be to find a kicker they’re sure can be their guy for many years. 

“You can point to a lot of guys around the league that have kickers in successful situations that have come a number of ways, and some of them are this way,” he said. “Ideally for our franchise, we hit on a young kicker long term. And we’ll march forward this way.”

Bears HC Matt Nagy says evaluating the kicker position will be a priority this preseason. It could even change the way he calls the games. 

“We need to figure out this position, right? We need to understand it’s a crucial spot first we’ve got to get right,” Nagy said. “I think the more opportunities that you have for these guys to prove who they are and what they could do, we’ll take ’em. So there may be some questionable play-calls in the preseason. I’ll just leave it at that and we’ll go from there.”

  • According to Dan Wiederer of the Chicago Tribune, Bears WR Anthony Miller and TE Trey Burton are expected to be healthy enough for the start of training camp Thursday. 
  • Bears GM Ryan Pace says the team will be careful with Burton, who’s coming off offseason groin surgery. (Rich Campbell)
  • The Bears are also considering placing S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix on the PUP list to be careful as he works back from a sprained knee at the end of June OTA’s. 
  • Bears HC Matt Nagy says they plan to give RB David Montgomery “a fair amount of carries” in the preseason. (Larry Mayer)
  • Bears QB Tyler Bray has exemption status for the practice squad this season. (Adam Jahns)

Lions

  • Tim Twentyman of the official team website says to monitor the starting left guard position for the Lions. Veteran Kenny Wiggins started there during the spring, but Oday Aboushi and Joe Dahl are also contenders. 
  • Twentyman writes that first-round TE T.J. Hockenson should be able to make more of a first-year impact because of his experience blocking in a pro-style scheme in college at Iowa. 
  • Twentyman expects second-round LB Jahlani Tavai to continue working with the first-team defense in camp.
  • NFL Media’s Gregg Rosenthal lists RB Theo Riddick as a potential release candidate based on health and other players on the roster. 

Packers

  • NFL Media’s Gregg Rosenthal says the Packers could release QB Deshone Kizer if a better backup option to Aaron Rodgers becomes available. 
  • Rosenthal adds K Mason Crosby to his list of potential roster cuts if he doesn’t outperform K Sam Ficken during camp and preseason.
  • Rosenthal also has S Josh Jones a potential trade candidate worth watching. 

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