NFC Notes: Bears, Lions, Packers, Vikings


Bears GM Ryan Pace said the team is being intentional not to rush first-round QB Justin Fields. However, they’ve undoubtedly been impressed by what they’ve seen so far. 

“We obviously knew about the arm talent, the athleticism, the work ethic, all of those things,” via the Athletic’s Kevin Fishbain. “But when you get him out there in an NFL environment, he stays calm in the moment. I think his heart rate stays low, he processes fast. He goes through progressions. I think you feel like you see a lot of young quarterbacks who kind of stare down an intended target — you see him working through his progressions, which I think is really good to see from a young quarterback.” 


Last year, the Lions made CB Jeff Okudah the highest-drafted cornerback since 1997. But instead of making an immediate impact, Okudah spent most of his rookie year hurt. When he was on the field, the results weren’t pretty. Lions secondary coach Aubrey Pleasant and DC Aaron Glenn have focused on rebuilding Okudah’s confidence and getting him to use his intelligence in a positive way rather than snowballing after negative plays. 

“It’s definitely something I’ve had to work on,” Okudah said via the Athletic’s Chris Burke. “Something AP (Pleasant) and AG (Glenn) are always harping about: just having a short memory. … Not taking everything so personal and just being ready to make the next play when it’s available to you.”


Packers GM Brian Gutekunst said he is pleased with how QB Jordan Love progressed in training camp.

“I thought he had a fantastic camp, I really did,” Gutekunst said, via Pro Football Talk. “Obviously, he had a little bit of a pause in there where he missed some time, which would’ve been nice for him to have. But I thought he did an excellent job. Really saw the growth that we needed to see. I was excited for him. Obviously, nothing’s perfect and there’s definitely some things in there that I think he’ll take from this preseason with him as he goes. But I thought it was fantastic.

“I thought for his first live action since Utah State, I thought he was very calm, poised. I thought he was able to get in and out of the plays that Matt wanted him to get in and out of. And I didn’t think the rush bothered him. I thought he kept his eyes downfield. I thought he made some really good throws and, again, obviously there are some moments that he’ll look back on and grow from. But at the same time, he moved the team. We would’ve like to have finished better in that last game. But I thought it was really, really positive.”


  • The Athletic’s Chad Graff thinks nine wins, ideally with a playoff berth, is the cutoff line that HC Mike Zimmer needs to hit to have job security going into 2022. Anything less than that and Graff believes he’s in real danger of being fired, 
  • Chris Tomasson reports Vikings first-round OT Christian Darrisaw is close to returning to practice from his groin injury.

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