NFC North Notes: Bears, Lions, Packers, Vikings

     

Bears

With only a season as the starter under his belt in college, the Bears knew QB Mitch Trubisky would have a learning curve as he adjusted to the NFL after they took him in the first round in 2017. Chicago hired HC Matt Nagy last year to help Trubisky along and he says he’s seeing progress in the passer’s third season in the league, second in Nagy’s offense.

“His biggest step I think he’s taken is in protection,” Nagy said via Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer“The greatest quarterbacks in the league right now, they’re so good at being able to ID where the rush is coming from, they watch so much tape and they’ve seen so many rushes that they can make a call to go left or right, they’re protected, and now they have time to throw. These younger quarterbacks who can’t see, they’re throwing hot all the time, they’re scrambling, they’re running around. And so he’s taken a nice step with protections this offseason. Now training camp is going to be more about continuing that, and also seeing coverages.”

Lions

According to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, Lions DT Mike Daniels‘ deal includes: 

  • A fully-guaranteed base salary of $7.8 million
  • $300,000 total in per-game active roster bonuses.
  • Four $250,000 incentives for a total of $1 million tied to making the playoffs, sacks and playing time. 

Packers

  • Per NFL Media’s Tom Pelissero, Packers GM Brian Gutekunst said it doesn’t sound like CB Kevin King‘s hamstring injury should be a long-term thing and he should return “pretty quickly.”
  • Gutekunst also had high praise for second-year CB Jaire Alexander: “I feel comfortable putting Jaire on pretty much anybody we play.” (Wes Hodkiewicz)

Vikings

Vikings HC Mike Zimmer said if he had been asked two years ago if he thought CB Mackensie Alexander would grow up and mature, he said “no way.” But Zimmer says he sat Alexander down and told him he had two paths to take, and the young corner “started to take the other one.”

“If you had asked me who has turned the corner as far as coaching and believing in the system, I think Mackensie would be the No. 1 guy from where he started,” Zimmer said via ESPN’s Courtney Cronin. “Which wasn’t the best. But he’s done an excellent job. He’s taken extra reps, I’ve seen him coaching the young guys. It’s way different. I’m proud of him.”

  • Per Andrew Krammer, Zimmer told reporters the team is concerned about its depth at offensive tackle following an injury to Aviante Collins. Zimmer added the team could make an addition at that spot even though Collins is expected to return soon.
  • Zimmer also mentioned rookie OT Oli Udoh as someone the Vikings are high on for the future.
  • Zimmer said new addition CB Bene Benwikere “has had a lot of starts” and can provide depth for the team at corner. (Chris Tomasson)

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