NFC Notes: Jahmyr Gibbs, Sam Darnold, J.J. McCarthy, Lions, Packers, Vikings

Lions

People around the Lions organization have been hinting at RB Jahmyr Gibbs becoming more involved in the passing game in year two following the departure of WR Josh Reynolds. Detroit RB coach Scottie Montgomery touched on what they need from Gibbs and what he is capable of as a pass-catcher. 

“Now what we need him to do from a passing game standpoint is go to the next level,” Montgomery said, via 97.1 The Ticket. “I do think there’s a certain difference between being a really efficient check-down versus a great route-runner, a guy that can run all types of choice. We know we’ve seen him do those things.”

“But now can you go into the slot and a little bit more down the field, some intermediate stuff. Can we continue to grow him there, and that’s what we’re trying to do.”

Packers

Throughout the offseason, the Packers have held a competition for starting kicker between Anders Carlson, Jack Podlesny and Greg Joseph. Carlson was a sixth-round pick who struggled as a rookie in 2023, leading to the team adding the veteran Joseph and a young leg in Podlesny, who was cut at the conclusion of offseason workouts. 

Green Bay HC Matt LaFleur described what they are putting the kickers through to find who is capable of being the starter in 2024. 

“Just make it as difficult as possible on the kickers,” LaFleur said, via Brandon Carwile of the Packers Wire. “We want to put them in situations that are pretty uncomfortable. I would say that’s a pretty uncomfortable situation. Nowhere in ball are you going to have an entire team lined up around you, but just to try to amplify that level of pressure. It was good to see the last one go through the uprights.”

Vikings

Vikings HC Kevin O’Connell said that QB Sam Darnold will get the nod as the team’s starting quarterback to open up training camp, but the situation is still very fluid.

We haven’t had to put out a depth chart or anything like that,” O’Connell said, via ESPN’s Kevin Seifert. “But yeah, I would say Sam would be the guy I would look to based upon the spring he’s had, and really where he’s at in his career and his quarterback journey, and what he’s been able to do coming in and [hitting] the ground running and taking advantage of a competitive situation.

O’Connell has consistently challenged his quarterback room to stay prepared in the event that they’re called upon.

I have total understanding that we only control so much in this whole thing, and that’s what I’ve challenged the quarterbacks to do — control what you can, which is your preparation,” O’Connell said. “How detailed can you be? Can you stack good periods of practice together? Good days together? And before you know it, you’re looking up and it’s not about the camp you’ve had, but it’s about your readiness to help the Minnesota Vikings win.

Vikings first-round QB J.J. McCarthy is happy to learn from the veterans in front of him and said that he plans to learn everything he can from them in hopes of one day passing them on the depth chart.

I grew up watching Sam Darnold my entire life,” McCarthy said. “Being able to just sit there and watch him, watch Nick, watch Jaren … it’s not what they say to me, it’s what they do. And just being a sponge and observing them and, eventually, hopefully, one day surpassing them. But right now, they’re just phenomenal human beings who are sharing their wisdom with me, and I just can’t thank them enough and can’t wait for training camp.

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