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Black, Blue, and Ornery: Minnesota Vikings coach Leslie Frazier stays the course

Good morning, folks! Welcome to the Water Cooler Sports’ Black, Blue and Ornery, your source for NFC North News on this Wednesday, September 18th, 2013.

I just realized that last Thursday’s BBAO was my 250th morning links article. I probably should have timed it a little better so that my last article tomorrow hit that milestone, but I guess that’s out the window now. What I can do, however, is provide you this lovely list of interesting events that happened on this day in history!

Reality TV star Angela Simmons celebrates her 26th birthday today.

Reality TV star Angela Simmons celebrates her 26th birthday today.

  • “And I said, what about . . . breakfast at Tiffany’s?” On this date in Tiffany & Young (later Tiffany and Co.) was founded by Charles Lewis Tiffany in New York City. What’d they sell way back then? “Stationery and fancy goods,” of course!
  • The geyser “Old Faithful” was observed and named on September 18th by Henry D. Washburn on an expedition to Yellowstone.
  • September 18th, 1919 was an important day for football, for on this day Friz Pollard became the first African-American to play pro football (for the Akron Pros).

Well, that was amazing interesting, right? No? Well, too bad. Maybe wishing these fine celebrities a Happy Birthday is more your speed: rapper Xzibit (you dawg!), comedic actor Jason Sudeikis, and cyclist Lance Armstrong.

NFC North News

These links may be taken away by the anti-doping commission . . .

Chicago Bears

New Chicago Bears head coach Marc Trestman and offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer promised to get running back Matt Forte more involved in the passing offense and, according to the some stats compiled by the fine folks at Rotoworld, the Bears coaches are definitely delivering.

Forte has been targeted 17 times and caught 15 of them, both of which lead the league through two weeks. Why wouldn’t you target Forte, since he’s known to be a pretty good threat in the passing game? Well, you’d have to ask Mike Tice that question to know for sure. In 2012 under Tice’s offensive planning, Forte had a meager 44 receptions.

I know it’s only been two weeks, but the fact that the Bears are getting him involved at a pace that could end up doubling his receptions from last year has got to excite Bears fans.

What what! It’s Stock Watch time, boys and (possibly) girls! ESPN Chicago has provided the players who they believe are on the rise and those who are losing value. I’ll let you head over and read their reasoning yourselves, but they have quarterback Jay Cutler, running back Matt Forte and kick returner Devin Hester as risers and defensive end Julius Peppers, defensive tackle Henry Melton and left tackle Jermon Bushrod as fallers.

I said this last week and I’ll say it again. It’s weird to see offensive players dominate the risers section and defenders in the fallers. The only excuse I can give is that Peppers has been sick. That doesn’t explain Melton though. Hopefully the Bears can get both sides of ball up to par as the season goes on.

Green Bay Packers

Man, the Green Bay Packers took a hit in the running back department on Sunday, didn’t they? We’ve already read some articles about how head coach Mike McCarthy isn’t looking to add any depth. I guess Packers fans will get to see some more of rookie Johnathan Franklin until fullback John Kuhn and halfback Eddie Lacy recover.

Rookie Green Bay Packers running back Eddie Lacy was knocked out of the game by a head-to-head blow from Washington Redskins safety Brandon Meriweather.

Rookie Green Bay Packers running back Eddie Lacy was knocked out of the game by a head-to-head blow from Washington Redskins safety Brandon Meriweather.

How long will Lacy be sidelined? Nobody’s saying much right now, but Mike Vandermause of the Green Bay Press-Gazette thinks the “most likely scenario” is that Lacy misses the team’s Week 3 game against the Cincinnati Bengals, rests during the bye and then returns for what could be an important divisional matchup against the Detroit Lions.

We’ll see if the Packers agree with that idea when McCarthy addresses the situation on Wednesday.

Is wondering what quarterback Aaron Rodgers thought of Washington Redskins safety Brandon Meriweather’s hit on Packers running back Eddie Lacy keeping you up at night? Well, you’re gonna sleep good tonight, friend!

He was asked about he hit on SiriusXM’s Mad Dog Radio about the hit, and, to me at least, it sounds like he might be on Meriweather’s side, or maybe he’s just trying to sound neutral:

I think a lot of those hits, when a guy is in the air, where a guy ducks, it puts the defender in a tough position because their angle of impact can get changed in an instant based on a guy crouching or in the air and falling or what not. I’ll leave that up to the league to determine what they want to do with that. I didn’t see it from my vantage point on the field.

That’s an interesting way to put it. Also in the linked Journal Sentinel article are his feelings on the San Francisco 49ers!

Detroit Lions

If you’ve been watching the Detroit Lions offense this year and thought you’d seen an abnormal number of dropped passes, congratulations, you are very astute! According to some stats from ESPN posted in a recent MLive.com article, the Lions are dropping an “NFL-worst 10.4 percent of passes.”

Unlike Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford is willing to take part of the blame for the dropsies epidemic raging through his wide receivers and running backs. He explained: “It’s on me too. I got to give ‘em more catchable passes. . . . And then guys need to make a few more plays. But at the same time, a lot of guys make great catches for me too. You take the good with the bad.”

To their credit, several of his pass catchers admitted that they thought Stafford didn’t deserve any blame.

The Detroit Free Press passes along the interesting factoid that Detroit has produced the third-most current NFL players in the league (14). They were only surpassed by Miami (24) and Houston (16) as the most popular hometowns.

The article also has lots of other data points, like NFL players per capita for several states and the states that provided the league with the most NFL players. Head on over and check it out!

Good news, Lions fans! Head coach Jim Schwartz recently confirmed to the Associate Press that running back Reggie Bush’s knee injury wasn’t something the team would need to worry about “long term.”

Detroit Lions running back Reggie  Bush seems to be recovering nicely from a knee injury that kept him out of the second half of Detroit's Week 2 game against the Arizona Cardinals.

Detroit Lions running back Reggie Bush seems to be recovering nicely from a knee injury that kept him out of the second half of Detroit’s Week 2 game against the Arizona Cardinals.

 

Minnesota Vikings

If I had to say something nice about Minnesota Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier, I could probably come up with quite a few things. He was once a member of the Chicago Bears — that’s a good start. But today I’ll focus on the fact that he appears to be a very patient man.

In a recent ESPN article, Frazier claims that he never thought of benching starting quarterback Christian Ponder during the first half of the team’s loss to the Chicago Bears. From what I saw, Ponder got off to a pretty slow start, missing open receivers and throwing a pick-six to cornerback Tim Jennings.

Frazier explained his thought process: “After the interception, I just wanted to make sure that he was right mentally — not concerned or just going over and over that interception. I wasn’t thinking we needed to take him out. I just wanted to make sure he settled down.”

It’s hard to say his patience paid off, but Ponder played better football int the second half and did his best to win the game. It took a last-second game-winning drive by the Bears to seal the deal. The only question I had was whether this patience was based on his faith in Ponder or the fact that his other option was Matt Cassell. The world may never know.

We posted a few weeks back about how Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Christian Ballard left the team mysteriously during the team’s training camp. 1500ESPN shared his reason for quitting the team:

I wasn’t really having a good time playing football. It wasn’t fun for me. It wasn’t a blast for me. Making that much money — that was fun. But money is still a material thing. You can always make money. You can’t make that time that you lose with your friends and your loved ones. Time is something that you can never get back.

While I respect Ballard’s opinion and he’s free to do whatever he wants, football is fleeting. I can’t say I’ll ever be able to be in his position, but I think I would have stuck it out until my time was up to maximize my earning potential. There’s plenty of time after football to do what you love.

1175 comments
MIRaji
MIRaji moderator

I'm tired as hell, and I have bowling tonight. Any of you retards want to sub?

0125
0125 moderator

Hell yea

natesweet
natesweet moderator

@Preparation_A Touch-up painting? You gonna fap all over your bedroom walls is what you mean, right?

0125
0125 moderator

But the thing that the fire burns is usually green (at least in my pipe)

0125
0125 moderator

Makes me wanna burn!

0125
0125 moderator

Pot head is offensive! I prefer stoner. 

0125
0125 moderator

This is just a blind and uneducated guess, but I think Livefyre is tripping because we have too many active settings. Disabled mod logos, disabled likes, disabled embedding, etc. Maybe take it back to bone stock and see what happens. 

0125
0125 moderator

Liked for the comical value

0125
0125 moderator

Green is my favorite color

The Real C-Jammin
The Real C-Jammin

I think it would be awesome if Josh Freeman became the QB for the Jets.  He already created enough drama on his own.  In NY it would be the train wreck of all train wrecks.

0125
0125 moderator

Sup Prep!

adambballn
adambballn

How am I supposed to waste time if this thing is never working?

TheHairy1
TheHairy1

According to all the sources, Oakland, San Diego, St. Louis and Jacksonville all have the ability to get out of their lease agreements either after this season or after the 2014 season. While those teams have all said publicly they would like to stay where they are, that hasn’t stopped them from doing research in Los Angeles.

0125
0125 moderator

LA will never get a team! The threat of moving to LA had generated too much money for the NFL. Look at all these teams getting new stadiums. "If you dont build it, we'll move to LA"

G&G
G&G moderator

We have a really weird energy today..


Donny33
Donny33

has Livefyre gone from a shart to a full blown shit?

The Real C-Jammin
The Real C-Jammin

I understand the experimentation with colors but why did seeing our likes get taken away?

natesweet
natesweet moderator

Use the magnifier, dude.

natesweet
natesweet moderator

I just learned how to create polls in word press. One will be coming your way shortly.