Welcome to the first edition of Scooped!!!! Scooped will be your update for the latest and greatest news around the NFC North. Plus I’ll add some commentary and opinions for your enjoyment. It may not always be a smooth ride, but we’ll get there.
Green Bay Packers
The big news for the Packers from this weekend is the unfortunate injury to Jordy Nelson. Initial reports are that Nelson has a torn ACL but the Packers are confirming this today. This would be a huge blow for Green Bay losing their top wide receiver. Nelson is a big play deep threat and moves the chains. Nelson had 1,519 yard and 13 TDS in 2015. Davante Adams is a nice talent; but it is almost impossible to replace Jordy Nelson’s production. Rodgers will be tested this season if the initial reports are true. The Packers have some depth with Davante Adams, Richard Rodgers, Randall Cobb and Ty Montgomery but their offense changes a good amount with Nelson out. Hopefully the Packers get good news on the second diagnosis.
Rodgers did well in the 4 games in 2012 that Nelson missed (Jacksonville, Detroit, at Chicago, Tennessee). All hope is not lost.
The Packers starters looked sharp with a TD and two point conversion on their first drive at Pittsburgh. Lacy ran well and had the TD run. Rodgers hit Nelson and Cobb to move the chains on this drive. The Steelers moved the ball on the first drive but stalled in Packer territory. The Steelers had a good punt and pinned the Packers at their own 1 yard line. Pittsburgh responded with a safety by James Harrison sacking Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers was pulled quickly after this sack. The Steelers marched down the field and added a TD after the safety with a TD pass to Markus Wheaton beating Hyde and Randall on a failed switch in coverage.
Speaking of injuries, the Lions have a ton of them. Jim Caldwell is less optimistic that Ngata can return sooner rather than later from his hamstring injury. If he’s not ready by Week 1, Detroit will some defensive concerns. The sprained ankle to Carraun Reid doesn’t help the DT depth either. Ziggy Ansah (ankle) and Eric Ebron (unknown) are dealing with minor injuries per Caldwell. Kyle Van Noy has an unknown injury for about a week that has gotten worse apparently. Right guard Larry Warford is healing from a sprained ankle suffered in the pre-season game when Abdullah fell on his leg.
On a better note for Detroit, Jason Jones (knee) and LaAdrian Waddle (knee) were removed from the PUP list. Joique Bell is inching closer to returning from knee and Achilles injuries. The regular season can’t get here soon enough. Concentrated injuries starting Week 1 would not be a good start to a season.
The Vikings starters sans Adrian Peterson and injured Phil Loahdolt (Achilles IR) looked decent in their pre-season game against Oakland. Rookie TJ Clemmings had a good game in pass protection filling in for Loadholt but struggled in run blocking. Bridgewater led a TD drive and set the Vikings up for a missed field goal.
Oakland scored the first TD after a 40 yard pass play to rookie Amari Cooper but the Vikings answered with a long TD drive capped by a TD pass from Bridgewater to Charles Johnson. Kicker Blair Walsh had some issues and missed a 35 yard field goal on the second drive and a 33 yard extra point.
Cutler actually looked decent leading Chicago to three field goals on four drives with the Bears starters on Saturday night. Andrew Luck led the Colts on one TD drive in three drives against the Bears’ defense. Chicago has some kinks to work out with new systems but it looks like they can be competitive. We’ll see once the regular season starts.