NFC North Week in Review

Andrew GardaFeatured ColumnistApril 20, 2012

It's been a long week as we accelerate into the NFL Draft and we've covered a lot of ground here in the NFC North blog.

Let's take a look at the week that was and see what we can take away from it.

Stadium Struggles

The Vikings' hope for a new stadium took a shot to the gut when the state legislature rejected their stadium proposal. As we speak (or type and read) Commisioner Goodell, Steelers owner Art Rooney and several other high ranking NFL personnel are talking to the state governor and other members of the legislature to try and jump start this again.

There have already been not-so-veiled threats, about which I have made myself clear. I will reiterate that Goodell and company going to talk is a good approach. I think them holding the franchise over the state's heads is not. I know I don't speak for all Vikes fans and there is a great discussion going in the linked article so feel free to join in. 

A move is a very real possibility, as is the sale of the team. One hopes this will work out but at this point I'm not sure it can be.


Draft Happens

I watched and recapped the press conference Packers GM Ted Thompson had yesterday and it reminded me that during the draft process the teams are pretty much going to say a lot about nothing.

ARLINGTON, TX - FEBRUARY 06: General manager Ted Thompson of the Green Bay Packers looks on after the Packers defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 31 to 25 in Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium on February 6, 2011 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martine
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

However, one thing that Thompson mentioned repeatedly was the Best Pick Available mantra the Packers follow.  'Scout the player, not the position', 'We rank by player ability not by need', 'we don't draft for need'—all telling you that when the Packers draft, they worry about the best player who can help them and they don't chase a position because they 'need' it.

Amusingly, Thompson mentioned several events—trading up for Clay Matthews was one—which he claimed 'just happened that way'.

Sure, the Packers don't plan for the draft. It just sort of happens.

Also, still no word on Nick Collins, so the Pack needs to move on as if he's not coming back. Another good discussion on that article.


Forte No Está Contento

Matt Forte is not happy with his contract, which isn't news. So it shouldn't shock us that he didn't show up to "voluntary" workouts this past week.

CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 20: Matt Forte #22 of the Chicago Bears runs past Antwan Barnes #98 of the San Diego Chargers at Soldier Field on November 20, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Chargers 31-20. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Bringing in Michael Bush is a clear signal that the Bears are OK with this and, in my opinion, are not paying Forte big money on a long term contract. Either he must sign his tender and hope he is allowed to peddle his wares next off-season (and is healthy) or he gets to hold out.

Interesting third option via Mr. Aaron Nagler on the brand new Go Route podcast he and Josh Zerkle host on Bleacher Reaport. Nagles things Forte gets traded next weekend during the draft. As far as I can tell, it's just a gut thing.

Food for thought, though.


The Patriot Way in Halas Hall

Interestingly, we got some more insight into new GM Phil Emery's draft thought process this week. He's looking to blend pieces from anywhere he's worked but he's most influenced by the Patriot Way.

I suppose that means acquiring picks for next year and then overdrafting defensive players who don't pan out.

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 05:  Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots looks on against the New York Giants during Super Bowl XLVI at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 5, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

RIMSHOT. Thanks folks, I'll be here all week.

More seriously, it will be very interesting to watch as Scott Pioli hasn't figured out how to translate the Patriot Way to Kansas City yet.

I like what Lovie Smith said about it:

I don’t know what the Patriot Way is. But I know about the Bear Way, and I’m excited about that.


It's Not US Doing it Wrong, it's the SYSTEM, Man

You might think that with three players involved in four pot-related arrests that the Lions (or any team) would take a look at the way they evaluate players, but the Lions aren't.

I take a few things away from this that aren't really just Lions related, especially given the ESPN report that players in Oregon smoke pot.

I think teams know players smoke both in school and later in life. Multiple states (I have now lived in two of them, New Jersey and California) have legalized it for medicinal use and even Pat Robertson came out and said the illegalization of it is wrong.

Jamie Chung for ESPN The Magazine
Jamie Chung for ESPN The Magazine

Teams know that within the culture of college and in large portions of society, pot isn't the big mean scary drug it was perceived as before. They look away and turn a blind eye to players smoking because it's common and doesn't really hurt their game.

So why change their process? They already know, more than likely, that players use. Now, this is different than a player who has been arrested frequently in college or has addiction issues.

However, and this is merely my extrapolation and assumptions speaking, by and large they look at it as not much different than drinking a beer.

I know it's illegal in most places and that any player carrying is taking a huge risk (let's not mention eating it when caught). I'm just hazarding a guess that teams see the changing landscape and, wanting the best players, are willing to ignore the fact that they light up.

Again, just my thoughts on the somewhat 'meh' attitude displayed at this point.