NFC Notes: Keenan Allen, J.J. McCarthy, Bears, Packers, Vikings


Bears HC Matt Eberflus said veteran WR Keenan Allen is a “crafty” route-runner and has an innate ability to get open.

“All the NFL coaches have seen Keenan for a lot of years, and the first thing that comes to mind is that he’s crafty,” Eberflus said, via Gabby Hadjuk of the team’s site. “He is so crafty with his route running. It seems like he’s always open, even when I used to double-cover him … He understands his body and understands his way. He’s really friendly to the quarterback because he’s a really big target and he’s very good at what he does.”

Allen considers route-running to be an art form and is always trying to disguise his routes. 

“I think it means your technique and the ways you’re able to perform are an art,” Allen said. “You’re able to just make things look different. You’re probably doing the same things, but it looks a little different. You’re able to get to it different ways. And it’s kind of special the way you draw it up.”

Bears TE Cole Kmet called Allen an inspiration to players in the locker room. 

“Whenever you have a veteran like that, it’s a great thing for younger guys to look to,” Kmet said. “Even guys like myself. Just the way he works, comes in and takes care of his business, and the way he’s survived and thrived in this league up to this point is really impressive. As he’s aged he’s still been able to produce. Those are the things you look at when you’re a player in this league and you try to model some of the habits that he’s brought in. He’s obviously a very special player.”


Packers LB Quay Walker has been impressed with second-round LB Edgerrin Cooper through the early parts of offseason workouts.

“He’s showing flashes, getting downhill, playing, flying around,” Walker said, via Mike Spofford of the team’s website. “I just tell him, ‘Don’t do no thinking, bro. Just fly around. If you mess up, it is what it is. You a rookie. Just take what you can learn … and go from there.'”

Green Bay HC Matt LaFleur also noted how Cooper has stood out thanks to a great IQ and work ethic.

“I thought for sure we were going to get him on (it), and he did a heck of a job,” LaFleur added. “I was kind of teasing the other coaches, ‘Did you preview him for that play?’ And they did not.”

“So, that’s a credit to him and just how engaged he’s been and how locked in he’s been throughout the course of the offseason.”


When appearing on the Jim Rome Show, Vikings LB Blake Cashman said first-round QB J.J. McCarthy is already showing leadership qualities. 

Yeah, 21 years old but a great young man,” Cashman said. “He’s a leader. He is eager to learn. A lot of young guys, sometimes they can come in, be a little timid or shy. But he’s walking round the locker room, big smile on his face, shaking hands, getting to know everybody.”

Cashman wasn’t aware of McCarthy’s arm strength coming out of Michigan and has been impressed by his power in their offseason program. 

“I didn’t know much about his game before, and I knew he was an outstanding quarterback, winning followed him at Michigan. But I didn’t realize how much heat he could put on the ball. He’s got a great long ball. And even those tight windows, which close fast at the next level — he can zip the ball past a linebacker or safety’s head and squeeze it in those tight windows. And that’s very promising to see.”

Cashman is eager to see what kind of player McCarthy can become 

“He’s going to be a great player for a long time,” Cashman said. “I can’t wait to continue to see his growth — not only his development as a quarterback [and] the skills, but also become an even smarter player.”

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