NFC North Notes: Bears, Lions, Packers, Vikings

     

Bears

The Bears are set to turn to backup QB Chase Daniel for at least a week following the shoulder injury to starter Mitchell Trubisky that knocked him out of Sunday’s game. Daniel has been a longtime backup since entering the league, which he feels gives him an advantage despite his age. 

“I’m about to turn 33,” Daniel told NBC Sports’ Peter King. “And I’ve been in it 11 years now. But I feel like I’m 25. And I love this offense. I feel the offense. This is my fifth or sixth year in it. I was in Kansas City, in Philadelphia, and it’s basically the same offense. Very quarterback-friendly. The quarterback’s a point guard out there. I’ve always felt I was an accurate passer, and not just dink-and-dunk. We took some shots out there today—that shot to [Allen] Robinson on the first drive, and others.”

  • Dr. David Chao projects Trubisky as being able to return by Week 7 when the Bears play the Saints coming off the bye. He adds Trubisky will likely need shoulder surgery this offseason. 
  • The Bears deactivated LB Roquan Smith for Sunday’s game for personal reasons. Bears HC Matt Nagy declined to say if Smith would make the trip to London for Chicago’s next game: “We’ll see. We’re still working through all that. We’ll see where that goes.” (Pro Football Talk)
  • Pressed to clarify, Nagy declined to say more other than Smith’s surprise inactivation was “a personal issue.” (Adam Jahns)

Lions

Lions QB Matthew Stafford played through a hip injury on Sunday that was reportedly so painful he nearly didn’t suit up, which says a lot given the veteran quarterback played through a broken back for much of last year. Stafford told reporters his current hip injury isn’t related to his back issue from 2018. 

“No,” Stafford said via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. “I was OK. I was out there. I was playing. I’ve played through a lot in my career. Like I say, work a long time to get opportunities to go out there and play. Don’t take any of them for granted. Obviously, it was a big game, big game at home for us. They’re all big, and I wanted to be out there for my guys.”

  • Lions HC Matt Patricia said first-round rookie TE T.J. Hockenson was doing well after a scary collision where he tried to hurdle a defender and landed on his head. He was carted off and ruled out with a concussion: “He was in great spirits. His mom and dad are here. It was good. We’ll just see how it goes.” (Birkett)
  • The Lions aren’t considering placing Hockenson on injured reserve. (Adam Schefter)
  • Patricia confirmed Hockenson is in the concussion protocol but there’s nothing more to his injury. (Michael Rothstein)

Packers

  • Per ESPN’s Rob Demovsky, Packers LB Oren Burks (pectoral) returned to practice on Monday. 
  • Packers RB Jamaal Williams is in the concussion protocol after leaving Thursday’s game on a stretcher, though he was walking around the locker room. (Ryan Wood)

Vikings

Vikings WR Adam Thielen was fine with the Minnesota passing attack being de-emphasized in favor of the rushing game and RB Dalvin Cook as long as the team was winning. But after a 16-6 loss to the Bears on Sunday dropped the Vikings to 2-2 and the passing attack continued to struggle, Thielen aired his frustrations.

“At some point, you’re not going to be able to run the ball for 180 yards, even with the best running back in the NFL,” Thielen said via the Athletic’s Chad Graff. “That’s when you have to be able to throw the ball. You have to be able to make plays. You have to be able to hit the deep balls. You have to do that.”

Thielen later clarified that he wasn’t calling out anyone in particular on the Vikings, like QB Kirk Cousins, OC Kevin Stefanski or HC Mike Zimmer.

“My comments yesterday after the game were in a very broad sense,” Thielen said via ESPN’s Courtney Cronin. “I think any team is going to tell you you can’t be one dimensional. And that’s not a shot at anyone. That’s not taking shots on coaches, players, nobody…. That’s just being real and saying that you can’t just be a run team, you can’t just be a pass team and expect to have success in this league. You have to be able to do both well and that’s what we’re striving to be able to do.”

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