NFC Notes: Bears, Lions, Packers

     

Bears

Bears’ HC Matt Nagy says that he knew WR Darnell Mooney was a special player since Week 1, comparing him to receivers Tyreek Hill and DeSean Jackson.

“I’ve been around Tyreek Hill,” Nagy said in an interview with Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune. “I’ve been around a young DeSean Jackson. I’m telling you right now, this guy has the complete package and has the ability to be compared to them. This kid is the real deal. I’m serious. You want to talk about an exciting player? I’m just so blown away at the things this kid does. Coming in here with no offseason, coming into training camp, playing that first game against Detroit, and showing us that the lights weren’t too bright for him. Amazed at his mental ability to handle this offense from the get-go. To put it into action, to make big plays. . . . It’s exciting as a coach because he has a rare element of speed, combined with route-running, hands, and passion. And commitment. You take all that and you say, ‘My gosh, we got this guy in the fifth round? Are you kidding me?’”

Lions

New Lions GM Brad Holmes said that having Jared Goff allows him to structure their offensive decisions this offseason around the veteran quarterback. 

“Having a veteran quarterback, obviously, it can shape some decisions in terms of my familiarity with him, knowing kind of what works best for him, what kind of he likes, what he kind of strives for,” Holmes said, via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. “It does help shape things from a team-building standpoint in terms of adding tools, adding pieces that will fit his skill set.”

Although Goff won’t officially be on the Lions’ roster until the start of the new league year, Holmes pointed out that he knows Goff “very well” through his time with the Rams as their director of college scouting from 2013-2020. 

To have a veteran QB that’s won a lot of games, and I don’t want to say any specific names, I’m assuming we all know who we’re talking about,” Holmes said. “But obviously that player’s not on our roster now, but obviously I have a lot of knowledge. I know Jared very, very well.

Packers

Packers GM Brian Gutekunst said he expects OLB Preston Smith to be back with the team next season. Smith has two years left on his contract and carries cap figures of $16 million in 2021 and $16.5 million in 2022 and has been mentioned as a possible roster cut this offseason. 

Preston has played a lot of really good football for us, and certainly we’d like to have him back next year. He’s under contract, so we certainly expect him to be back,” Gutekunst said, via Ryan Wood of the Green Bay Press-Gazette.

When asked about Smith’s sack total dipping from 12 in 2019 to four last season, Gutekunst said he isn’t concerned about the outside linebacker’s numbers and feels Smith has been a difference-maker on the field throughout his career. 

“While those numbers might’ve been down, I think he affected out football team in a very positive way,” Gutekunst said. “So I think there are some things between the numbers there that his value doesn’t always show. He’s kind of been that way all his career. If you go back to Washington, his sack numbers were always a little bit up and down, but the way he affected the game with his length not only as a pass defender but in the run game as well. So he’s a really good player for us, and he’s got a lot of good years left, that’s for sure.”

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