NFC Notes: Bears, Lions, Packers, Vikings, Za’Darius Smith


Bears CB Jaylon Johnson says he is one of the best cornerbacks in the league, adding that it isn’t just his opinion as other players and coaches around the league have told him so.

“I’m already one of the top corners,” Johnson told the Chicago Sun-Times. “I just haven’t had the stats to back that up in terms of interceptions. But if we’re talking about strictly limiting guys, covering guys, I don’t think there are too many guys in this league that can cover better than me. It’s more so about the media, especially going into my third year and having an opportunity to restructure a contract. I feel like that plays a part, in that respect. But I know for a fact across the league that my name is respected. People know what I can do. They’ve told me. I’m not making this up. After every game, head coaches, quarterbacks, and receivers will say, ‘Hey, bro, I respect your game.’ It’s not just something that I think I have.”


  • Lions HC Dan Campbell said G Halapoulivaati Vaitai is dealing with a back injury and will take things “week-to-week” after he spends four weeks on the injured reserve. (Tim Twentyman)
  • Campbell mentioned Vaitai’s back bothered him in their preseason finale and they’ve decided to rest him for at least a month. (Kyle Meinke)
  • Campbell added OL Tommy Kraemer is currently slated to start at right guard in Week 1 but intends on having open competition in practice this week. 
  • However, Kraemer did not practice on Wednesday with what was later listed as a back injury. (Justin Rogers
  • Campbell suggested playing OT Penei Sewell at right guard is a possibility after he took individual reps at the position on Wednesday. (Rogers)
  • The Lions hired former LB Shaun Dion Hamilton as a defensive assistant. (Rogers)


  • Packers HC Matt LaFleur said WR Allen Lazard did not practice on Wednesday: “He got stepped on last week.” (Wes Hodkiewicz)
  • Regarding Vikings OLB Za’Darius Smith feeling upset with how his back injury was handled in Green Bay, LaFleur responded that they have a “different perspective” on the situation: “I respect the crap out of Z as a player. He busted his butt and did a lot of great things. I think we may have a different perspective of how things transpired.” (Ryan Wood)


Vikings OLB Za’Darius Smith feels that he was “treated bad” by the Packers after dealing with a back injury and signed with Minnesota in order to play them twice a year. 

“Walking past me not saying nothing. ‘Z, how’s your back doing?’ — there was none of that,” Smith said, via Tyler Dunne. “As you can see, that adds on to why I’m on the other side. So, I can go back. I get to go back two times a year… I put my back on the fucking line. I put everything. And that Year Three, I was treated bad. That’s why I’m here now. So, I can play them twice a year.”

Smith feels that he’s become one of the best outside linebackers in the NFL.

“This is my everyday livelihood,” Smith said. “This shit wasn’t even meant to be for me. I really went and took that shit and really became one of the best outside linebackers in the league. That shit means a lot to me.”

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