Trying to kill some time between now and the Brian Urlacher Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony? Same. Here is a look around the division that will hopefully hold us over for the time being.
- Randy Moss is hands down my second-favorite Hall of Famer going in this weekend. Naturally, a man with Moss’ confidence still believes he could get it done at a high level. “I really truly believe I could still average 10 touchdowns a year,” Moss said, via the Pioneer Press. “The game is that easy.” Of course the game is easy to Moss, who had nine seasons of 10+ touchdowns in his Hall of Fame career. Just remember, they weren’t all easy, Randy:
- Aaron Rodgers is Canton bound eventually, but first, the Green Bay Packers quarterback wants to continue to torment the NFC North and the rest of the league. NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport reports that the team has made “measurable progress” in getting a contract extension done with the Packers’ QB1. While new paper would be pretty sweet from Rodgers’ point of view after being lapped by lesser signal callers, are we sure No. 12 doesn’t want to get a head start on heading to the Hall of Fame? No better time than now to get that clock running, Mr. Rodgers.
- Rodgers and the Packers received some good news on the injury front as right tackle Bryan Bulaga has been moved off the physically unable to perform list. Bulaga is cleared to practice as he progresses in his recovery from a torn ACL he sufered last November. As long as there are no setbacks, Bulaga is expected to be ready to roll when Week 1 kicks off against the Bears.
- On the other end of the spectrum, Green Bay linebacker Jake Ryan tore his ACL and will be out for the 2018 season. Ryan was a fourth-round pick in 2015, played his way into a starting role last season, and figured to be locked into a starting spot this year. The Packers suffered through some awful injury luck last year, so losing a starting linebacker isn’t something that will help shake those memories.
- Not that it matters now, but NFL referee Pete Morelli tells Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press that Vikings linebacker Aaron Barr’s hit on Rodgers (the one that broke the collarbone in his throwing arm) would be a penalty under 2018’s rules.
- Barr’s Vikings teammate Stefon Diggs received a quality payday in the form of a five-year, $72 million deal. Diggs’ $14.4 million per year average puts him among the top-10 highest-paid receivers, according to spotrac.com. Diggs has never had a 1,000-yard receiving season, but he had a breakout 2017 with eight touchdown receptions. In 2016, Diggs snagged a career best 84 catches for 903 yards and three scores. It’s possible he puts it all together in 2018 with Kirk Cousins under center, but that Vikings offense has options that could bite into Diggs’ overall production.
- Teammate Adam Thielen could be next, but he doesn’t sound concerned about it.
- The Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears axed their head coaches at the end of last season, but both have already found themselves in consultant roles. Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk reports John Fox and Jim Caldwell are now on a committee put together by Commissioner Oliver Luck advising the XFL. If the XFL wants old school football with questionable decision-making from coaches you’d assume would know better, than they’ve really cornered the market here.
- New coaches bring new looks, and Matt Patricia is no different. The Detroit Free Press is reporting that the first-year Lions head coach is re-imagining the Oklahoma drill, an old school practice drill that isn’t as popular as it once was as the NFL has scaled back on the amount of contact that is allowed in training camp.
- The Lions’ defensive line received a boost with the Detroit News reporting on the return of Cornelius Washington from the non-football injury list. I haven’t seen a reason Washington was placed on the list in the first place, but the ex-Bears lineman played in 15 games (two starts) and picked up 2.5 sacks in his first season in Detroit. Washington spent the first four seasons of his career in Chicago, where he picked up three sacks in 31 games.
- Like many teams, Detroit is still going through a roster churn during the summer. ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweets that defensive back Kelvin Sheppard is visiting with the Lions. Sheppard picked up 49 tackles and two interceptions with the New York Giants in 2017, which came after he spent some time in Bears camp last year … but he obviously didn’t make the cut.
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