NFC North Final Report Card

Over the last 3 regular seasons 3 different clubs have each captured division titles and even though I don't expect the Detroit Lions to make it a four spot in 2009, it does show that there are no dominant within the division. Former NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle once referred to this phenomena as, "League parody" a Madison Avenue name for what we have now come to know as "League mediocrity"

NFC North

Pre-season Mid-season

1 - Green Bay 1 - Green Bay 1 – Minnesota

2 - Minnesota 2 - Chicago 2 – Chicago

3 - Chicago 3 - Minnesota 3 – Green Bay

4 - Detroit 4 - Detroit 4 – Detroit

NFC North Final Report Cards

TEAM: Chicago Bears

OFFENSE C+ C-

DEFENSE A- B-

SPEC. TEAMS B- C+

COACHING B+ B-

FRONT OFFICE B- C

SCOUTING A- A-

OVERALL B C+

STRENGTH DL LB RB

WEAKNESS WR DS OG

OFF. MVP Matt Forte

DEF. MVP Lance Briggs

TOP ROOKIE Matt Forte

Comments: He was a major improvement over his predecessor and I'm not certain where they are going to find a better one, but after watching Kyle Orton perform for an entire season, I'm not certain he has the skills to lead this football team to the promised land. What I did see was a durable, hard running, rookie running back (Matt Forte) with every-down playing ability. The rest of the offense (offensive line and wide receivers), don't get me particularly excited. Devin Hester shows promise, but as I stated in the mid-term report, his ability to process information (an essential quality for success at the position), is very much in doubt. Defensively, the Bears secondary was totally decimated by injuries in 2008, but when healthy is a very experienced formidable group. The rest of the defense is also sound, but I didn't think they did a particularly good job of rushing the passer from the outside.

As I stated in my mid-term report, I haven't always been too excited about their drafts, but still believe the Bears scouting staff that includes Marty Barrett, Jeff Shiver, Mark Sadowski and Ted Monago is among the best in the game.

TEAM: Green Bay Packers

OFFENSE C+ B+

DEFENSE C- D-

SPEC. TEAMS C- C-

COACHING C+ D+

FRONT OFFICE C- C-

SCOUTING B+ C

OVERALL C C-

STRENGTH WR QB DS

WEAKNESS FB TE OC

OFF. MVP Aaron Rodgers

DEF. MVP Nick Collins

TOP ROOKIE Jordy Nelson

Comments: Even before the start of training camp, the tunnel vision (singular purpose) that all clubs must possess in order to win was shattered by the distractions caused by one of its greatest players Brett Favre.

The Packers passing game without Favre at the helm has not missed a beat. First year starter Aaron Rodgers did a commendable job and I have no reason to believe that he won't be even more successful in his second season as a starter. The receiving combination of Greg Jennings and veteran Donald Driver are vastly underrated and should continue to be an asset for years to come. I'm not a big fan of any of the tight end group, but felt they performed adequately in 2008. Ryan Grant, started slowly, but came on to have a solid season. The offensive front, one of the most dependable and consistent units in the NFL in 2007, did not play particularly well in 2008.

Defensively, the Packers started slowly, but after injuries to linebacker Nick Barnett, went completely in the tank. There is some outstanding personnel in this unit, including Ryan Pickett ( the leagues top run stopper), outside rusher Aaron Kampman, the aforementioned Nick Barnett, inside backer A.J. Hawk and an experienced secondary which includes Nick Collins, Al Harris and Charles Woodson.

The Packers are very capable of turning things around, but the defensive move from a 4-3 to 3-4 look is quite frankly going to require some significant adjustment time.

Minnesota Vikings Mid Term Report Card .

TEAM: Minnesota Vikings

OFFENSE D- C+

DEFENSE C+ B-

SPEC. TEAMS B- D

COACHING D+ C

FRONT OFFICE D D

SCOUTING B+ B+

OVERALL C- C+

STRENGTH RB DE DT

WEAKNESS QB WR TE

OFF. MVP Adrian Peterson

DEF. MVP Jared Allen

TOP ROOKIE Tyrell Johnson

Comments: I'm going to repeat what I said at the half way point of the season; the Minnesota Vikings are easily the most talented squad in the highly competitive NFC North division. The defensive is very sound particularly up front, and on the offensive side of the football, all world running back Adrian Peterson is the very best player at his position in the league. Former Bears receiver Bernard Berrian has really upgraded what previously was a very marginal under achieving group.

Although quarterback Tarvaris Jackson improved significantly in the later part of the season, he again appeared out of sync and over matched in the playoff loss to the Eagles. Expect the Vikings to aggressively enter the J.P. Losman sweepstakes this off season.

Detroit Lions Mid Term Report Card

TEAM: Detroit Lions

OFFENSE D- F

DEFENSE F F

SPEC. TEAMS D- F

COACHING D D-

FRONT OFFICE F F

SCOUTING D- D-

OVERALL F F

STRENGTH WR RB OB

WEAKNESS OG DT QB

OFF. MVP Calvin Johnson

DEF. MVP Ernie Sims

TOP ROOKIE Jerome Felton

Comments: The 2008 season was a total disaster, but much of it could have been avoided if ownership had been even remotely pro-active over the past three seasons. This club today is an absolute train wreck in virtually every conceivable area of measurement. Offensively without coordinator Mike Martz at the controls the club's offense lacked imagination and any purpose. Calvin Johnson is the club's ONLY true offensive threat and although Kevin Smith did flash some in his rookie season, I didn't see what I would consider special playing skills. On the defensive side of the football only "Willy" Ernie Sims has the type of true playing skills to win with consistently.

The Lions will seek to rebound and will do so with a number of people that I believe can lead them in the right direction. I'm quite impressed with the club's new GM Martin Mayhew and believe they finally may well have found in Jim Schwartz, a head coach for the long haul. It has to get better; doesn't it?


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