NFC North Notes: Bears, Lions, Packers, Vikings

     

Bears

  • ESPN’s Bill Barnwell writes that the Bears seem to be the best fit for Titans QB Marcus Mariota after this season, as he can compete with QB Mitchell Trubisky for the starting job and has familiarity with Bears OC Mark Helfrich from their time together in college at Oregon. 

Lions

Lions QB Matthew Stafford said he wants to play “for a long time” and believes he was performing well prior to the back injury that has sidelined him the past month. 

“I want to play for a long time, yeah,” Stafford said, via Michael Rothstein of ESPN. “I felt like I was playing really good ball this year and something that was kind of a freak deal that happened, and obviously got to take it in stride and listen to doctors, my body, coaches and figure out what’s best, but I was having a lot of fun playing when I was out there and wish I could be out there now trying to help us win games.”

As for the possibility of sitting out the remainder of the 2019 season, Stafford said that will be a “collaborative decision” with the Lions’ staff. 

“Whatever happens is going to be a collaborative decision,” Stafford said. “I’m not smart enough to tell you exactly what’s going on and some of those doctors never played football. So it’s kind of a collaborative decision, whatever decision is made and whenever that happens.”

  • Stafford added that he has “no concern” about reaggravating his back injury once he is healed, while his injury has not affected the way he plays. (Justin Rogers)
  • The Lions also put in a claim for WR Mack Hollins off waivers from the Eagles, but he was awarded to the Dolphins. (Mike Garafolo)

Packers

  • Per the Athletic’s Matt Schneidman, Packers HC Matt LaFleur said recently-claimed RB Tyler Ervin would return both kickoffs and punts: “He’s an elusive guy. He’s got some juice. He’s pretty fast.”
  • LaFleur explained that the drop in snaps for WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling has been because they moved WR Davante Adams to the X position: “I don’t think it’s anything he’s done, especially in practice. His urgency and practice level have definitely picked up.” (Tom Silverstein)

Vikings

Vikings CB Xavier Rhodes‘ struggles in 2019 were put on national television for the nation to see on Monday night against the Seahawks. After Rhodes was burned deep for a touchdown, the cameras caught him throwing his helmet and screaming on the sideline. Rhodes apologized for his actions Wednesday and vowed to be better for the rest of the season. 

“I apologize to the organization, my team my family how I reacted out on that field Monday night,” Rhodes said via Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press. “That’s not the way I should carry myself, especially as a leader on this team. I apologize definitely to Coach Zim, and the things he’s taught me.”

“I need to play it better. I need to play better out on that field, eliminate the penalties and just do well,” Rhodes added. “. . . I’m never going to give up. I’m always a fighter, and that day is going to turn, that switch is going to flip, and when it does, it’s over.”

Vikings HC Mike Zimmer said he forgave Rhodes for his “little moment” and still respects him as a player. 

“Xavier’s a good kid. We’ve always had our little moments, I guess you’d call it, but at the end of the day, he knows I’m always trying to do what’s best for him,” Zimmer said Ben Goessling of the Star Tribune. “He’s always trying to do what’s best for me. I have a ton of respect for him, not just him, every player. He’s done what we’ve asked him to do. He tries to do it. He’s a good kid. He’s got a smile on his face all the time, comes out to practice and works hard. Yeah, I have a ton of respect for him.”

  • Vikings WR Adam Thielen (hamstring) and OT Riley Reiff (concussion) both missed practice on Thursday and their status is in question for Sunday. (Chris Tomasson)
  • Zimmer said Thielen’s hamstring looked good before he aggravated it a few weeks ago: “At the end of the day, you have to trust the player. If the MRI looks pretty good, you trust the player. If the player says he can play, you let him play & that’s kind of what happened (at Kansas City). MRI looked good, player said he could play.” (Tomasson)
  • Zimmer added Thielen has a chance to play this week: “He’s frustrated. I think he’s got a good opportunity this week (to play), so we’ll see. He’s working really hard. He obviously wants to get out there with his guys. He’s a great competitor. … When he’s ready, he’s ready.” (Tomasson)

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Quinn Winkler

Why don’t they just sign Dez Bryant or Pierre Garcon? it would make most sense for a secondary WR?