NFC North Mailbag: Letters from the Frozen North—July 7

Andrew Garda@andrew_gardaFeatured ColumnistJuly 7, 2012

I delayed this a day because I ended up having several pieces jam up near the end of the day—so rather than post this bad boy at 1 a.m., I thought we could get to it today!

We've got a bunch of Twitter questions today—remember, anytime you want to submit a question, any day of the week, tag it on Twitter with #NFCNMailbag, leave it on the Facebook page or drop me a line here at B/R.

As long as you let me know it's for the Mailbag, it will definitely get in.

We start off today with a question from one of B/R's own—


The obvious ones are, of course, Toby Gerhart (for Adrian Peterson)and Michael Bush (if Forte is hurt or holds out) at running back.

Jahvid Best/Mikel Leshoure will split carries, so one isn't really a replacement for the other, while the Packers combo of Starks/Green/Saine is hampered by the lack of carries.

At quarterback, Shaun Hill has proven himself a solid starter if Matt Stafford were to go down. He certainly has the weapons and the ability to utilize them.

Joe Webb would also be intriguing if Christian Ponder was hurt—he was coming along well before Donovan McNabb and then Ponder jumped over him.

I can't help but wonder whether the team would have been better off in 2011 if they had ignored McNabb and gone with Webb for the year.

Wide receiver is a bit harder to gauge. If Greg Jennings went down, Jordy Nelson can step up, but a guy to watch would be Randall Cobb. With a lot of attention going to Nelson, Cobb might be really dangerous.

Watch Vikings rookie Greg Childs while Jerome Simpson is suspended, especially with Percy Harvin unhappy. Childs will struggle at times but is a big target who could be useful in the red zone—when Simpson is out, he might do some damage.

Defensively, if they don't win the job outright, watch for rookie corners Jerron McMillian (Packers), the Lions Dwight 'Little Bill' Bentley and Bears defensive end Shea McClellin.

McClellin is especially interesting, given that he—at most—looks set for a rotation with Julius Peppers and Israel Idonije. If one of those two go down, he could have a huge year.

Also, depending on what is happening on the defensive line when he returns, Anthony Hargrove could slip back into the Packers' front seven.

Speaking of which—

Well, Ed, Hargrove could very well be the odd man out. It really all comes down to rookie Jerel Worthy.

If the Michigan State rookie can perform, Hargrove will have a hard time cracking the lineup as anything other than a rotational/situational defensive end. 

If Worthy struggles, they Hargrove could be someone the Packers are anxious to get into the lineup.

However, Hargrove might find himself on the bench quite a bit otherwise.

Our next one moves to a hot topic around the media these days—the Lions and their off-field issues.


Samuel, as I said in a reaction to an NFL Live segment late last night, it is a concern. Right now, not a huge one because it's the offseason.

However they need to get focused by September because this will be a distraction if it happens then.

If they lose players in the season because of in-season stupidity, not only can it cost them games because they miss a player but could also fracture the locker room , especially if the team is struggling at all.

Some veterans might begin to take issue with arrests and other idiocy if they feel the team is losing focus.

So, I would put us (and the Lions) at DEFCON 3 or yellow Alert—it's a concern, it requires vigilance but there's no imminent nuclear apocalypse—yet.

Finally we have a question from Zorba—


Devin Hester?

No, not remotely. I agree that Earl Bennett is a safe bet—he's reliable, has experience and can stretch the field a little. However, I will keep pounding the drum for rookie Alshon Jeffery, whose biggest knock this 'draft' season was his weight.

The Bears signed him early, got him going and are keeping him focused. Jeffery has a huge chip on his shoulder and a lot to prove.

With Brandon Marshall pulling defensive attention away from him, Jeffery could have a better-than-expected rookie year.

Bennett is the safe bet, sure, but the big money is on Jeffery.

That's it for this week, folks...thanks for all the great questions...we'll do it all again next week!

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