NFC Notes: Bears, Lions, Vikings

     

Bears

  • The Athletic’s Kevin Fishbain notes it’s not out of the question the Bears open the 2021 season with QB Nick Foles starting to begin the season. 
  • Fishbain says that could happen if the Bears make a move for a rookie quarterback and want to ease him into things. He says not to rule out a move by GM Ryan Pace to get into the top ten picks. 
  • He adds another scenario is Foles’ time in the system helps him outplay another veteran addition and he wins the starting job in camp. 

Lions

Lions first-round CB Jeffrey Okudah was near-universally hailed as a top cornerback prospect last year. But making the transition from college to the pros at that position is tough and Okudah struggled a lot as a rookie. Getting more out of him will be one of the top jobs for the new coaching staff and HC Dan Campbell said confidence, not talent, was Okudah’s issue in 2020. 

“Man, if you lack confidence as a cornerback or a quarterback? Either one of those two? Then that’s tough, man. You got to be thick-skinned. Like, talking about Okudah, you got to be willing to get your ass beat a couple of times, but then you have to snap back, because the game is on the line, you’re going to have to make that play,” Campbell said via Kyle Meinke of MLive.com. “But I don’t care how talented you are — and you know this — if you lack confidence that the people around you who are making decisions and setting up the defensive calls and [saying] this is what you’re going to do, I don’t care how thick-skinned you are, if you feel like people don’t believe in you, you’re going to lose confidence.”

Vikings

  • The Athletic’s Chad Graff writes that Vikings LT Riley Reiff would seem like an easy cut to save cap space at first glance, as it would free up $11.75 million. However, Minnesota is trying to improve its offensive line and releasing Reiff creates a hole. 
  • Vikings OL Ezra Cleveland played tackle in college and was drafted in the second round last year but Graff points out Minnesota trusted him to only play guard, so relying on him as a replacement for Reiff could carry some risk. 
  • The Vikings could ask Reiff to take a pay cut, but they already did that at the start of last season, blindsiding him. Graff isn’t sure how amenable Reiff would be to being asked to slash his pay a second time. 
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