NFC Notes: Bears, Lions, Packers, Vikings

     

Bears

Part of the reasoning for the Bears in picking QB Nick Foles to compete with QB Mitchell Trubisky for the starting job is what would happen if Foles lost. Chicago wanted someone who wouldn’t cause drama as a backup, even from outside the team, and would help Trubisky as best he could if not named the starter. Foles seems like he’s embraced that role after Trubisky was named the started for Week 1. 

“That’s the thing I really enjoy about the game is helping other players out, and having those conversations and giving them the wisdom I have from playing, and then also learning, being open to learn and listen from different experiences,” Foles said Sunday via Nathan Smith of the team’s official website. “So that’s really what we’re focusing on right now.”

Foles is no stranger to being a backup after famously coming off the bench to lead the Eagles to a Super Bowl title. In fact it could be argued that’s when the veteran does his best work. 

“I’ve just learned to embrace it the best I can through the ups and downs,” Foles said. “So whatever wisdom I can give [Trubisky] as it pertains to the emotions of the game, as it pertains to the plays going into the game, the philosophy, the philosophy, the thought process, how you do third downs, how I think during games. So whatever it is, I look forward to helping him in any way possible.”

As for Trubisky, Bears HC Matt Nagy said he was impressed with how the young passer responded to every apparent obstacle that was thrown his way this offseason. 

“This kid now, he’s had some adversity thrown his way,” Nagy said via Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer. “When you have a guy where, there’s another quarterback that they trade for, they’ve declined your fifth-year option, there’s a lot of stuff that would beat down a lot of other guys. And he stared it right in the face and said, Let’s go. That’s what he did. I don’t know how you don’t like that. So far, he’s done everything we asked of him. Now, we want to see how it translates into the season.”

Now of course the Bears could go to Foles at any point during the season if Trubisky’s struggles continue. But the hyper-positive Nagy didn’t want to delve into that topic. 

“It goes back to that — control what you can control,” Nagy said. “And it’s a positive thought versus a negative thought. And we don’t even discuss it, because that just goes to bad places. We think positively, like, Hey, we can’t wait, there’s an excitement, a laser focus, a mentality right now. It’s a feeling of positivity within our team, not just at the quarterback position, but across the board. Being a part of that as a quarterback, being a part of that as a head coach, there’s a real pure excitement to get this thing started. That’s probably for others to debate and discuss, that’s their world.”

  • Breer notes the Bears have been impressed with second-round TE Cole Kmet, second-round CB Jaylon Johnson and fifth-round WR Darnell Mooney. All could be contributors as rookies. 
  • Bears GM Ryan Pace said he did not have input into the decision to start Trubisky: “At the end of the day, this is Matt’s (Nagy) decision … Mitch is playing with a lot of confidence right now.” (Stacey Dales)
  • Pace added that Week 1 isn’t a deadline to sign WR Allen Robinson to an extension: “I don’t see this week as a deadline. We know how important A-Rob is to us.” (Brad Biggs)

Lions

  • NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport says RB Adrian Peterson can make up to $2.3 million in his deal once incentives are factored in. He adds Peterson could play an immediate role given the injuries in Detroit’s backfield given the team basically guaranteed his salary as a vested veteran. 
  • Lions HC Matt Patricia said the signing of Peterson was independent of any injuries in the backfield. (Justin Rogers)

Packers

  • Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer mentions Packers RB Jamaal Williams and WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling have been standing out in camp. Williams seems to have responded to the competition with second-round RB AJ Dillon and Valdes-Scantling could be a post-hype breakout as a size-speed freak. 
  • Packers GM Brian Gutekunst confirmed QB Tim Boyle will be the primary backup ahead of first-round rookie QB Jordan Love: “Tim’s quite a bit ahead of Jordan from knowing the offense.” (Matt Schneidman)
  • Gutekunst is thrilled about the addition of LB Christian Kirksey to the group: “I think he has a little bit of dynamic ability that we’ve been missing for a while.” (Schneidman)
  • Gutekunst didn’t necessarily agree with the characterization the Packers kept WR Malik Taylor over WR Jake Kumerow: “(Taylor is an) explosive athletic, has a lot in front of him and excited to see where he can go. I like our group as a whole, I think there’s a lot of potential there.” (Rob Demovsky)
  • The Packers are scheduled to work out free-agent WR Devin Smith, most recently with the Cowboys. (Adam Caplan)

Vikings

In addition to the head coach and general manager, Vikings QB Kirk Cousins as the quarterback has also faced questions about if he’s good enough to win the Super Bowl for the Vikings. And just like the other two, the Vikings reaffirmed their belief by signing him to an extension this offseason. 

“Kirk is a critical part of our team and he’s a leader in our locker room, and his play has really demonstrated warranting that kind of move,” Vikings co-owner Mark Wilf said via ESPN’s Courtney Cronin. “On all fronts, we were very supportive. As we saw last year, we saw him step up and take steps in an already successful career. Again, our coaches and personnel folks have that confidence in him, and we do as well. That really made all the sense to go forward that way.”

  • Seven other teams offered C Brett Jones a spot on their practice squad before he decided to re-sign with the Vikings practice squad for $12,000 a week. (Chris Tomasson)
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