NFC Notes: Bears, Lions, Vikings

     

Bears

  • Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer gets the sense Bears QB Nick Foles has a slight lead in the competition to start. 
  • The Athletic’s Adam Jahns doesn’t think Foles really separated himself from QB Mitchell Trubisky and was quick to check down throughout camp. 
  • He also says Trubisky appears to be aware of the criticism of his accuracy, especially throwing to his left, and made improving that an emphasis: “Overall, (it’s) just showing that I’ve improved throwing the ball downfield in situations with the team and 1-on-1s and routes…that I could make better decisions with the football for the offense and throwing the ball downfield and being more accurate, especially out and to the left and outside the numbers.”
  • Jahns notes Bears RB Ryan Nall has also been working as an H-back, but Chicago is confident in the 6-2, 240-pounder based on his college tape as a runner. He had a long touchdown run in their scrimmage. 
  • Jahns mentions Bears LB coach Mark DeLeone is hoping LBs Rashad Smith and Joel Iyiegbuniwe can be the answers as depth players after their predecessors Nick Kwiatkoski and Kevin Pierre-Louis cashed in via free agency: “I think … those guys see what happened with Nick and Kevin, where they went when they get their opportunities, and what they made out of them, and I think they’re ready to take on that challenge.”

Lions

Lions HC Matt Patricia confirmed new DC Cory Undlin would become Detroit’s primary play-caller on defense. Patricia has held the role for most of the past two seasons, and while he says he’ll still have input and be able to call plays when he wants to in specific situations, the bulk of the job will fall to Undlin. 

“There’s nothing really to hide here,” Patricia said via ESPN’s Michael Rothstein. “Cory has been grinding away. He’s our defensive coordinator. He’s been working to understand everything we’re doing defensively and obviously has his input and Cory and I have known each other a long time. Certainly without the spring, it was going to be interesting to see how training camp went and the operation and all that. He’s ready to go. He’s ready to call it and do what he’s got to do.”

It still appears as if Undlin doesn’t know who his No. 2 corner will be. The Lions drafted Jeffrey Okudah with the No. 3 overall pick but aren’t committed to starting him right away. Okudah has missed a few practices and the team could continue to ease him in while 2019 fifth-round CB Amani Oruwariye starts. 

“I mean, he is a rookie and he missed a couple practices there early in camp,” Undlin said via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. “I mean, he’s really been on the grass seven times, so for me, myself, I got to keep the perspective to where it should be and that without OTAs. And I know you can meet on Zoom, and we spent all that time on Zoom calls in the spring, it’s not the same. I mean, when it starts and it’s live and people are running around, there’s an adjustment that’s got to take place.”

Vikings

  • Per the Athletic’s Chad Graff, Vikings RT Brian O’Neill appears to be the top candidate to move over to the left side to replace OT Riley Reiff
  • Vikings OL Oli Udoh worked as the starting right tackle this weekend ahead of second-round OL Ezra Cleveland
  • However, it appears OT Rashod Hill is set to get the first nod at replacing O’Neill at right tackle. (Andrew Krammer)
  • Per Over the Cap’s Jason Fitzgerald, Minnesota would save $10.9 million in cap with a $2.3 million dead money hit by cutting Reiff. Minnesota gets to split his dead money as a post-June 1 cut but already paid a $100,000 workout bonus. (Chris Tomasson)
  • Vikings seventh-round QB Nate Stanley has been standing out to Zimmer: “Nate Stanley shows a lot of promise. I think he’s got a big arm, he’s instinctive. There was one play (in last Friday’s scrimmage) where the defense blitzed, and he kind of rolled away from the blitz and hit the receiver in the flat.” (Tomasson)
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