NFC Notes: Lions, Packers, Vikings


Several of the Lions’ players have suffered recent back injuries including DT Levi Onwuzurike, G Tommy Kraemer, G Halapoulivaati Vaitai, and CB Amani Oruwariye. HC Dan Campbell responded that they are examining if their training regimen has something to do with the specific issue. 

“It’s a good question because you can’t help but at least look at it and say, ‘All right, are we doing something? Do we need to do something different? Is there something that we’re not doing right?’” Campbell said, via Kyle Meinke of MLive. “We’re looking at everything, and there’s nothing that I can think of right now that says we did something that we shouldn’t have been doing.”

Campbell said they are monitoring whether Vaitai will be able to return from his recent back surgery to play this season. 

“That’s to monitor,” Campbell said. “He’ll certainly be out for a little while here, but we’re not ruling out he’s done for the season.”

Although Campbell is comfortable with how they are training, he reiterated that they’ll determine whether there’s something that needs to be changed. 

“We’ll turn over every stone, and if we feel like it’s something that I need to change or adjust, I’ll certainly do that,” Campbell said. “But I can’t say that there’s anything right now that we’ve done any different. We’re smart with how we train. Anytime a guy’s got back issues, we don’t put a burden on their back. It’s single leg squats (and stuff like that). So,there’s a number of things we try to do. I feel like we’re really good in that area. But certainly these are popping up.”


  • Packers OC Adam Stenavich dismissed the idea that WR Amari Rodgers won’t have a role within the team’s offense. Stenavich added that just because Rodgers didn’t play in week 1 doesn’t mean he wouldn’t play throughout the season. (Tom Silverstein)
  • Stenavich believes that if WR Allen Lazard is able to return, he’ll provide a big boost to the team’s running game: “If he’s in there, he’s going to do the dirty work, the blocking, the things you might not see on the stat sheet, but he’s going to be physical.” (Ryan Wood)
  • Packers OC Adam Stenavich said that it will be interesting to see who they use on the offensive line in Week 2: “It’ll be interesting to see who lines up as our starting O-line. You’ll find out Sunday. It’ll be a fun surprise for everyone.” (Matt Schneidman)


Regarding the Vikings’ tight end rotation, OC Wes Phillips said that there are some personnel situations where Johnny Mundt may earn more reps than Irv Smith Jr.

“Some of that is based on personnel groupings. Some of it is what those personnel groupings might elicit. Maybe two tight ends with Irv in the game with Johnny Mundt, maybe that’s going to elicit a nickel grouping, or what we call ‘penny,’ like five down with still five DBs, and maybe that’s what we’re looking for at times. You never know with the defense, how they’re going to react, and what they’re going to play. But some of the bigger groupings, if you’re in 22 personnel–two tight ends, two backs–you’re pretty sure you’re going to get a base defense. So you kind of expect a certain front structure. So some of that is just based on play, and some of that is based on situation,” said Phillips, via Kevin Seifert. 

Phillips added that Smith has been getting more reps in practice after recovering from thumb surgery. 

“We’ve been getting him a lot of reps in practice. He’s really progressed as time’s gone on and I do expect him to continue on that trajectory,” said Phillips, via Seifert. 

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