Offensive coordinator Mike Martz recently turned down a one-year contract extension with the team because the offer did not include a pay increase. That leaves open the possibility Martz could be a coaching free agent after the 2011 season.
Martz still believes things will eventually "work out." He said, "I have a representative in Bob LaMonte who's the best at what he does. I just do whatever he tells me to. He doesn't tell me how to coach, and I don't tell him how to negotiate. But he knows how badly I want to be here, and I would like an extension. I don't worry about it. I'm sure it'll work out."
Asked about those latter feelings, Martz said last season "was as much fun as I've had in coaching in many years, and the reason why is Lovie (Smith) makes it fun. He's a terrific head coach. He provides great leadership, and he lets you do your job."
As for quarterback Jay Cutler, Martz had nothing but praise for his ability and toughness.
"He's resilient," Martz said. "He's going to pop back up (after being hit). And he really adjusts very well in games. Jay is very special. He hasn't even touched on what he can be yet. I know he feels good about where he is as a player, but I'm not even sure he knows how good he could be.
"To me, he could be the very best in the league right now. Absolutely. We just have to get him there. There are some things we need to clean up. But he's on his way."
Finally, Martz noted getting comfortable with the supporting cast.
He said, "We're learning a lot about our guys, and what we can do and can't do," while noting it's unfair to compare the offense to what he had in St. Louis.
"We were on a fast track, indoors, and we had a litany of receivers," Martz said. "One gets injured, and we'd trot another one out there. "(Ours are) good, but we're not as deep."
George McCaskey is the eighth oldest of Ed and Virginia McCaskey's 11 children. Virginia McCaskey is the daughter of club founder George Halas.
On the same day as the changeover, the Bears made their address 1920 Football Drive instead of 1000 Football Drive. The team was formed in 1920.
Said George McCaskey, who has run the team's ticket office since 1991, "It's humbling and exciting. All that my brothers and sisters are asking of me is everything that I've got, and I'm sure Bears fans expect nothing less than everything that I've got, and that's what I intend to give."
His new role will have his main responsibility of representing the club in league issues.
Club president and CEO Ted Phillips will still be in charge of the day-to-day team operations.
"I don't see any dramatic changes," George McCaskey said. "My role will really be as a sounding board, an advisor if Ted wants me in that role; as a representative of the family, of ownership and the board; and to create as positive of an environment as possible. The way I see it my job is to work with and in support of the president and CEO in creating a climate that's conducive to sustained success."
"He's been an outstanding player at Wisconsin for four years," Tice said of the 6-7, 314-pound Carimi. "He's gotten better every year; he's gotten tougher every year, too. It's nice to have another guy in the building who's as big as I am. And that's what we're trying to do; we're trying to get bigger. We got a very good football player with a great track record. The tape doesn't lie."
Tice said the Bears had Carimi rated as their fourth-best offensive lineman, although he was the seventh O-lineman and fifth offensive tackle picked. Despite some discussion, it's a virtual lock that he will be plugged in at one of the tackle spots.
"I think he's an outside player, personally," Tice said.
"Coach Martz had a real strong conviction on him, and we agreed with the traits that he saw," Bears director of player personnel Tim Ruskell said. "This guy looks good coming off the bus. He has the attributes, he has the traits that Mike's looking for at the position, so it was a good consensus.
"He's a big guy, he's got a very strong arm, he's a very intelligent man, and an intelligent quarterback. He didn't have the stats his senior year, (because they) lost a lot of guys from the year before. Coach Martz really kind of fell for the kid in terms of the intangibles that he brings."
The 6-4, 240-pound Enderle was a four-year starter who struggled along with the Vandals' program, going 17-29 as a starter. After completing 61.5 percent of his throws as a junior with 22 touchdown passes and just nine interceptions to lead the Vandals to an 8-5 record, Enderle completed just 56.7 percent of his throws last season with 22 touchdowns and 16 interceptions.
The Vandals' '09 season was their first winning campaign in 11 years.
Enderle doesn't figure to see much playing time in the foreseeable future playing behind Jay Cutler and Caleb Hanie, but he can use that down time to his advantage.
"It's going to be different, but it's going to be good for me," he said. "I can really work on fixing some things that I want to fix and that need to be fixed, and that's going to give me the opportunity to do that. And then to really come in and learn the playbook and really prepare myself and get myself in a position where if I need to (play), I can."
"The value of the (quarterback) position (superseded) everything else in terms of other players at that point," Angelo said. "We want to develop our own quarterbacks, and we want to stay with that plan. We hit a speed bump last year, and we just felt like the plan is in place, and we feel very good with him coming on board."
"I played on every special teams (unit) at West Virginia University," he said. "When I was younger, I played a lot of different special teams. As I got older, I was a little more valuable to the team, so I didn't play as many, but I was always on the punt coverage team and punt block team."
The 6-1, 241-pounder could be coming into a favorable situation since the Bears have only two linebackers under contract, although that will change whenever free agency begins.
"He fits us perfectly," Bears general manager Jerry Angelo said. "He can play all three (linebacker) positions. He played multiple roles at West Virginia. We spent a lot of time (evaluating) him. We saw him at an all-star game, and he got hurt during that practice week, but we feel very, very good about his fit. Picking up a linebacker was a goal (Saturday), and he was the right one."
The Ravens would also have gotten the Bears' fourth-round pick for moving back three spots from 26 to 29. But because of miscommunication in the Bears' draft room, the swap was never called in to the league, and the confusion caused the Ravens to go past their allotted time and move back to 27. But losing the fourth-round pick they thought they had was what fueled their anger.
"That (report) was accurate," Angelo said. "But they have rules when you do something wrong, not when people make mistakes, and a mistake was made. No rules were broken, so let's just make that clear."
Coach Jim Schwartz admitted he was surprised when he saw the outfit defensive tackle Nick Fairley was wearing at the draft in New York City.
With thick glasses and a bow tie, some described the defensive tackle as "looking like a nerd out of central casting."
Schwartz said he never saw Fairley's outfit until after the team had drafted him with 13th pick in the first round.
Joked Schwartz the following day, "First, if we had seen what he was wearing ... with those glasses, we might have passed on him at 13. I got more texts yesterday after we picked him that said, 'Why did you pick that big guy that looks like Urkel?'"
Getting serious, Schwartz noted that those making fun of Fairley wouldn't do it face-to-face.
"None of those people are here," Schwartz said, "and I think if they were here, none of them would say the same thing, and I know no quarterbacks said that last year."
"I thought Suh played too much last year. Not that he wore down, but it was too many snaps. You are taking on 700 pounds of man every time you take on a double team."
Green Bay Packers
Quarterback Matt Flynn has heard some of the chatter about moving to another team, but the backup to Aaron Rodgers says he's happy where he is.
Said Flynn, "I love being a Packer and I'll be here as long as they want me. It's all kind of speculation right now, of what people want to write or whatever they want to say. You can't say that anybody wants me or doesn't want me. We'll see what happens. I just like where I am right now."
Acknowledging that the Packers are "Aaron's team and it will be for a long time," Flynn added, "Everybody wants to play, but I know my role on the team. I know if I need to step in there I'm always prepared because I work just as hard as the next guy."
Flynn played well in the team's loss to New England on Dec. 19 when Rodgers was out, gaining some notoriety because it was a Sunday night game.
He said, "I've always been a confident person. I think my teammates and coaches always knew I could step in and do it. It was definitely nice to go out there and be able to do it, have the opportunity to have some success.
"It probably did more for my teammates than it did for me personally because I've always been confident. It probably gives them a little bit more confidence if I need to step in."
Club president Mark Murphy told fans that in response to a question while the team was on its Tailgate Tour throughout Wisconsin recently.
Harris suffered a knee injury that ended his 2009 season, and was placed on PUP at the end of training camp last summer. He returned to practice on Oct. 19, but was then released by the team on Nov. 9. Harris was with the Packers for eight seasons, counting last year, and he started every game for five season from 2003-2007.
When hearing of the news, linebacker Nick Barnett tweeted, "wow that's a class act org."
Said Murphy, "Eventually, he'll come back into the fold. We are going to retire his number. He deserves that for what he did as a Packer. There are very few players in our history that had their number retired. He deserves it though. But it's a very, very meaningful honor and we want to do it at a time when it's meaningful for both him and the organization.
"I think it's probably going to be a few years. We want to make sure that he's really retired first. We made that mistake when he first retired after the 2007 season. Ironically, we were going to retire his number and have a big ceremony at the opening game that next season against the Minnesota Vikings. Little did we know he'd end up playing that season for the Jets."
Former Favre teammate Antonio Freeman was on the trip, and said, "This is a league and a world of second chances. So, I think at one point in time we'll have to give Brett Favre a second chance to come back home. He did have a very meaningful career here. I'm personally biased because he and I shared so many magical moments. He was my quarterback for, basically, my entire career. He was a guy who threw me all of my touchdowns.
"Things like this, you're torn because as a player you see the drive to want to continue to play football, so you appreciate that. But you never appreciate the fact that he puts on purple on Sundays as his second career. So, that's a problem. But in due time, he'll be back."
"It doesn't help them," McCarthy said Saturday of the 10 players the Packers added in this year's draft. "I think that's obvious, if you cannot get your rookie class in here to get to work. Hopefully, they'll be able to participate."
After the draft ended Saturday night, teams are prohibited from having contact with their players, including the rookies, for the duration of the lockout. Team facilities also are off-limits for all players.
As such, receiver Randall Cobb, the Packers' second-round draft pick out of Kentucky, felt a sense of urgency to reach out to his new quarterback.
"I'm trying to get a hold of Aaron Rodgers," Cobb said after being drafted Friday night. "I want to get wherever he is as soon as I possibly can and start working and start building a relationship and a bond with him on the field."
Cobb already has a connection with the reigning Super Bowl MVP.
Cobb was the last player sitting in the green room at New York's Radio City Music Hall before hearing his name called at the end of the second round, the 64th player taken overall.
Rodgers suffered the same fate until the Packers rescued him from isolation in the green room with the 24th pick in the first round of the 2005 draft.
"Hopefully, I can have the same success he's had," Cobb said.
"This kid has some background as far as a quarterback. It just opens up additional opportunities," said Packers receivers coach Edgar Bennett. "You talk about a guy that's versatile. We're not game planning right now, but I'm pretty sure we'll take full advantage of what this kid is capable of doing."
McCarthy, however, stopped short of saying he would make WildCobb a component of an explosive Packers offense triggered by Rodgers behind center.
"To me, the Wildcat is a package of deceptive play, and how much you want to major in it is really your choice," McCarthy said. "But, Randall was not drafted so we could play the Wildcat. I'll just make that clear. Now, if we line up and do something like that, that'll be part of our deceptive packages that we have in every week."
McCarthy did commit to giving the 5-10, 191-pound Cobb a shot to compete for the punt- and kickoff-return duties, which has been a deficiency for the Packers in recent years.
The 6-0, 195-pound House revealed after the selection that he patterns his in-your-face coverage skills after Packers cornerback Tramon Williams. The former undrafted free agent led Green Bay with nine interceptions last season, including three in its postseason run to the Super Bowl title.
"I just watched him all last year, and what he does is amazing," House said. "He's a ball hawk. That's what I believe I am - a ball hawk, too. I'm excited."
House picked off 11 passes, returned three for touchdowns and set a school record with 319 interception-return yards as a four-year starter at New Mexico State. The Aggies and Williams' school, Louisiana Tech, are rivals in the Western Athletic Conference.
"I felt last year's training camp was the most competitive training camp that we had up until this point in my tenure here in Green Bay," said McCarthy, embarking on his sixth season. "I'm very optimistic that this year's training camp will be even more competitive. Those are good problems to have."
QUOTE TO NOTE: "He was kind of Kentucky's offense the last couple of years. So, we feel very fortunate to be able to add him to our team. I think he gives us a lot of versatility. He'll be a nice fit with our group." -- General manager Ted Thompson on the second-round selection of Kentucky receiver Randall Cobb.