Bears DC Chuck Pagano mentioned that getting a healthy DL Akiem Hicks back in the lineup this season will provide a big boost for their defensive unit.
“You can’t replace him,” Pagano said, via ChicagoBears.com. “Certainly, we’re different when he’s out there playing at a high level than when he’s not. In the meeting room and around our guys, he’s a wise, wise man. He’s a smart guy. He gets it. He knows what’s going on. When he speaks, people listen.
“He’s a smart guy. He’s got a ton of wisdom, and the great thing about him is that he’ll share it. There’s a lot of great players and great leaders and men who’ve played this game that won’t take the time to help young players and share their knowledge and their wisdom, but Akiem’s different that way. He’s just a phenomenal human being, and again, he just gets it and understands it.
“He’s really, really hungry. And really eager to get back on the field and be with his brothers out there competing and playing. He’s a great man. Nothing but great love and respect for him.”
One of the defining features of the Lions for much of the past decade has been an inability to run the ball. Reggie Bush was the team’s last 1,000-yard rusher eight years ago and Detroit has used several second-round picks since then trying to find another, including the team’s current tandem of Kerryon Johnson and rookie D’Andre Swift. But Lions OC Darrell Bevell is also placing his hope on the offensive linemen the Lions brought in to pave the way, including free-agent OT Halapoulivaati Vaitai and rookie guards Jonah Jackson and Logan Stenberg.
“You really want those tough, nasty grinders because that’s what it is in the run game,” Bevell said via Tim Twentyman of the team’s website. “It’s a grown man’s type of game and I’ve always talked on here that’s something we really hang our hat on and we weren’t able to do it as well as we wanted to last year. So, hopefully, some of these additions will be able to help us do that.”
Conventional wisdom dictates teams can only have one quarterback on the field at a time. That was at least until the Saints built packages to get backup QB Taysom Hill on the field despite having a locked-in starter with Drew Brees. Former Packers QB Brett Favre thinks Green Bay could employ a similar approach to get first-round QB Jordan Love some reps while he sits behind starting QB Aaron Rodgers.
“I think there’s ways to incorporate it much like Taysom Hill with the Saints,” Favre said via TMZ. “Use him as a halfback, a halfback pass, but occasionally let him run it just to show that you’ll do that. Something like that.”