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 How They Stack Up - The NFC North In June 
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Post How They Stack Up - The NFC North In June
[Note: Although dated, this article is provided for informational purposes. - Admin]



How They Stack Up - The NFC North In June
by: Jay Nault



As we enter the time of year when everything gets very quiet in the front offices of teams around the NFL, there’s a good opportunity to take a look at how teams have improved, or not improved, as we head into the home stretch before training camp begins.

Today we’ll take a look at the NFC North, and there could be some surprises in this division come fall.

Chicago Bears

Offseason Additions:

The Bears basically stood pat, as they return their entire defense from last season, and it was a dominating unit. On offense, the Bears made only one subtle move, but it could turn out to be a vital signing. QB Brian Griese gives the Bears their first legitimate backup QB in years, and that’s an important piece, as fragile starting QB Rex Grossman seems to be hurt constantly.

Outlook:

If the Bears can hold steady on defense and get better on offense with the anticipated improvement of RB Cedric Benson and a more solid foundation at QB, the Bears could challenge for big things in 2006.

Detroit Lions

Offseason Additions:

The Lions were active on every front this offseason, including the hiring of new coach Rod Marinelli and offensive coordinator Mike Martz. In terms of personnel, the Lions added two QB’s in Jon Kitna and Josh McCown. Neither has been an All Pro as of yet, but Martz is known for molding QB’s into Pro Bowl-caliber players, as he did with Kurt Warner and Marc Bulger in St. Louis.

Outlook:

If the Lions can rebuild their overall culture, there is a lot of talent already in place and marked improvement could take place in short order. Marinelli is a disciplinarian, and that could be exactly what the team needs to shake its underachieving label.

Green Bay Packers

Offseason Additions:

When a team goes 4-12 and suffers their first losing season in 14 years, changes will be made. The Packers brought in a new coaching staff and made some bold moves on defense. The team added DT Ryan Pickett and DB Charles Woodson in free agency and drafted stud LB A.J. Hawk. This talent will only strengthen a defense that finished 7th in the NFL last season. On offense, the Packers did not add any big names, but several important cogs to their attack are returning from injury-plagued seasons, including TE Bubba Franks and RB Ahman Green.

Outlook:

The times are changing in Green Bay. For years, their offense carried them. This year, Coach Mike McCarthy will need to build a team that controls the ball on offense and wins ugly 17-13 games on the strength of its defense. It could happen, but everything will have to break right for this team.

Minnesota Vikings

Offseason Additions:

Like the Lions and Packers, the Vikings were active on every level this offseason, including the addition of new Coach Brad Childress and several free agent additions. The team added offensive talent in RB Chester Taylor and OG Steve Hutchinson. Although they traded QB Daunte Culpepper, the team feels secure with sometimes-fragile QB Brad Johnson. On defense, a new and more disciplined approach will be used.

Outlook:

The Vikings are one of the “teams to watch for” seemingly every season, but they have consistently underachieved despite the presence of a wealth of talent on both sides of the ball. If, like the Lions, the Vikings can show some discipline, they could make a playoff run.

About The Author

Jay Nault sponsored by http://www.stubhub.com/. StubHub sells sports tickets: http://www.stubhub.com/sports-tickets/ concert tickets, theater tickets and more to just about any event in the world.




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Fri Mar 11, 2011 8:10 pm
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