Problems Still Lingering in the NFC North
As the regular season nears, many teams are still facing difficult decisions.
The Browns still don't know who their starting quarterback will be. The New York Jets have a couple players suspended in the opening weeks. The Philadelphia Eagles have some serious injury problems to key positions.
Whatever your favorite team is, there are likely problems. The NFC North is no exception.
The Chicago Bears still can't find a legitimate receiver to help out their new quarterback, Jay Cutler.
Not only that, but Cutler has already started becoming a "me first" player, as seen here. It seems as though it's everybody's fault except him, no matter the problem.
Lovie Smith needs to crack down on Cutler and tell him that this is supposed to be a team effort. What is Cutler doing lobbing a ball into coverage with a 5'11'' receiver?
The Bears' defensive woes seem to continue. Their secondary is very thin thanks to injuries, and their line still isn't getting the job done.
Is Rod Marinelli really doing his job? This looks like the exact same line that struggled to get pressure on the quarterback last season.
The Lions are in rebuilding mode—we get it. But their problems are a little deeper than that.
The Lions won their first preseason game, but does it really matter? After all, they went 4-0 in the preseason last year and then failed to win a "real" game all season, becoming the first team ever to go 0-16.
But the Lions' win against the Falcons isn't as impressive as it sounds. They scored all but three of their 27 points in the second half by people who will likely be fighting for playing time—their starters didn't get it done on offense.
The defense wasn't super, either. It failed to get a sack or turnover, but it still managed to hold off the Falcons.
If the Lions want to be anything but another 0-16 team, they need better play out of their starters.
The Vikings still don't know who the quarterback will be. After watching the first preseason game, though, the job should easily go to Sage Rosenfels.
Tavaris Jackson showed that he still has a very inaccurate arm and cannot move the team down the field. He completed just 50 percent of his passes and routinely threw the ball behind his receivers.
Rosenfels looked good with the first team, which was without rookie Percy Harvin for safety reasons.
The defense looked good, sacking Peyton Manning three times, but it also allowed the big play to keep the Colts close. In order for this defense to be successful, it needs to clamp down on the offense.
The Packers finally signed first-rounder B.J Raji after a two-week holdout, but it may be too late.
The Packers' new 3-4 defense looked fantastic in their first preseason game, causing several turnovers and confusing the offense all game long.
If thier success with the defense continues, Green Bay could be a tough team to beat.
The problem here lies with injury concerns, as the linebacking corps of the Packers has been beaten up. Every starting linebacker has had some sort of injury this training camp. They need these guys healthy now, as the 3-4 defense relies on linebackers to get to the quarterback and defend quick routes.
Raji needs to show the Packers that he's capable of being a 3-4 end, because if he performs well, so does Aaron Kampman. The success of both players lies on the other.
The NFC North finished the first round of preseason games going 3-1, with the only loss coming at the hands of the Buffalo Bills.
The North looks to be strong this season, with every team making huge upgrades to key positions minus the Vikings.
It should be an interesting season, should these problems get fixed soon.
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