NFC North Daily Breakfast Links: August 17, 2012

Andrew Garda@andrew_gardaFeatured ColumnistAugust 17, 2012

GREEN BAY, WI - AUGUST 16:  Graham Harrell #6 of the Green Bay Packers pitches the ball against the Cleveland Browns during a preseason game at Lambeau Field on August 16, 2012 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Wow. That Packers 

Luckily we know preseason doesn't mean anything, right Cheeseheads?


Truly, this division is tight, and any number of teams can win it. Each of the big three have their flaws—the growing concern over Brian Urlacher is a great example—but the shocking lack of depth at the offensive line and quarterback is a concern for Packers fans.

We'll get to the Pack shortly, and there is plenty of stuff going on with the rest of the North.

Let's get to it.


Chicago Bears

Jeff Dickerson kicks us off over at ESPN Chicago with a look at how Robert Griffin III will be a very good test for the Bears’ defense. I’ll have something up later about what to watch in the Bears/Redskins preseason game, and talk a bit about how that’s the case, specifically how interesting it might be to watch rookie Shea McClellin react to the highly mobile Griffin.

I don’t read John Mullin at often, but this caught my eye: Mullin says that Brian Urlacher has had two previous procedures on his knee—one in January and one this spring. Urlacher has since disputed this report over at, in a piece by Will Brinson.

On the one hand, Brinson is right in that it’s hard to imagine Urlacher would lie about it, and that really it wouldn’t have impacted his aim to hit the opening week’s game anyway. If you think he would lie about it because it’s a contract year, the Bears would have known anyway so it’s still irrelevant.

On the other hand, multiple procedures could explain the continued issues he’s had.

Finally, B/R’s Aaron Nagler has an excellent piece on why the Bears will miss Brian Urlacher more than the Steelers will miss James Harrison.

Nagler hits on one thing which gets overlooked a ton in the Urlacher discussion—his role in helping disguise defensive schemes. You don’t replace that easily.

Detroit Lions

Yesterday, I gave you my five things to watch in the game tonight against the Baltimore Ravens.

Anwar Richardson has his take on that over at MLive, including the preseason debut of Titus Young, as well as what to expect from Kellen Moore and the backfield. As always, great stuff from Richardson.

Tim Twentyman at reports on the Lions’ claiming of center/guard Bill Nagy and the move of cornerback Drew Coleman to injured reserve.

While Twentyman sees it as a potential acquisition to replace Dominic Raiola—and it’s not an insane notion—I still find it odd that they would be very high on an injured former seventh-round draft pick.

However, if he can stay healthy, perhaps he can rebound and be a nice addition to the team for very low risk.

Green Bay Packers

Nagler has a piece over at his other home,, called "Gut Reactions" about last night’s game. My assumption is, his gut reacted badly. Like him, I just don’t know what to make of Harrell. He’s not good, but he’s not getting any help from his supporting cast.

Meanwhile, Brian Carriveau breaks down the winners and losers from last night’s apocalypse. I would say he’s spot on—and as much as Harrell’s performance might make you cringe, DJ Smith and Jeron McMillian have to make you smile.

For a little deeper look at what McMillian did, check out Weston Hodkiewicz’s piece in the Press-Gazette.

Simply put, the man loves to hit. At the line, with Morgan Burnett deeper? Could be a beautiful thing.

Minnesota Vikings

Over at ESPN 1500 Judd Zulgad says rookie Harrison Smith brings an intensity and swagger to the Vikings’ secondary which has been sorely lacking of late.  He’s not forcing himself into a leadership position—that needs to be earned. He isn’t backing down though, as run-ins with veterans Percy Harvin and Jerome Simpson show.

As Zulgad points out, there is a difference between confident and arrogant, respectful and obsequious. Smith is very much each of the first choices and the Vikings need that.

Finally, Jeremy Fowler at the Pioneer Press says the Vikings are still looking for someone after Percy Harvin and Jerome Simpson to step up and perform. This has always been a concern, even when rookie Greg Childs was thought to be the next guy up.

Honestly, it’s hard to point to one guy you can rely on—I happen to like rookie Jarius Wright or Stephen Burton—and the Vkings need another receiver if they are to spread out the defense.



Check out the writers on Twitter - @AnwarRichardson @BrianCarriveau @ESPNChiBears @CSNMoonMullin @aaron_nagler @ttwentyman @1500ESPNJudd @VikingsNow

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