As the offseason dragged on it was the Chicago Bears, Minnesota Vikings, and Detroit Lions who kicked their feet up and enjoyed all the drama unraveling in Green Bay. Now Aaron Rodgers is back. While the long-term future of the reigning MVP is in doubt, this year is all that matters for now. And look around the rest of the NFC North — things are okay with the Packers while all the chaos has shifted elsewhere.
In Detroit, the Lions appear to have hired a certified lunatic as their head coach in Dan Campbell. After practice on Tuesday, which featured a fight on the field between a couple of players, Campbell was a bit too jacked up, via MLive.com.
“Yeah, I mean, I was fired up,” Campbell said. “Because they were competing, man. It was good to see both of them, two young bucks, go after it. They were, uh — look, we had a pretty good idea of Amon-Ra, you know? The Sun God? What he’s capable of? His aggressiveness shows up — it would show up on tape — in college. Look, this guy will mix it up.”
This isn’t the first bizarre thing Campbell has said since being hired, and it won’t be the last.
“We’re gonna kick you in the teeth, and when you punch us back we’re gonna smile at you, and when you knock us down we’re going to get up, and on the way, we’re going to bite a kneecap off,” Campbell said Thursday. “We’re going to stand up, and it’s going to take two more shots to knock us down. And on the way up, we’re going to take your other kneecap.”
We’re not here advocating for stale coaches with a vanilla scheme and boring personality. But treating player brawls like you’re Dana White running your own version of the UFC seems a bit odd. When the Lions are 3-10 entering game No. 14 on the year and the players are still fighting with each other, perhaps Campbell will have a different take instead of acting like a WWE character bound in a strait-jacket.
But, yes, the rest of the NFC North, continue to talk about how Aaron Rodgers isn’t happy in Green Bay and how the Packers will come up just short of a Super Bowl again.
In Minnesota, the quarterback room is a disaster. Usually, this is true anytime Kirk Cousins is your starter, but it’s especially messy right now. Let’s preface by saying: Shoutout to the entire Vikings roster for having the lowest vaccination numbers in the entire NFL. That will surely lower Mike Zimmer’s blood pressure.
Rookie quarterback Kellen Mond tested positive, which sent two other Vikings quarterbacks (Cousins and Nate Stanley) to the reserve/COVID-19 list as well. As a result, Minnesota is scrambling for anything that looks like it can throw a football while they await the return of those three. To say Zimmer was less than thrilled would be an understatement.
“I just feel like we’re going to have guys miss games,” Zimmer said. “There are so many cases going on right now. We’re going to have guys miss some games and we have to be prepared for it. … I talked to the team, and like I said before, there are quite a few guys that are just against it,” Zimmer said. “I’m not going to be able to change their mind, so, it’s like half the country, I guess.”
None of this should be a surprise. It was Cousins who, when the NFL Network’s Kyle Brandt asked him about the coronavirus last year, said, “If I die, I die.” How elegantly put, Kirk, you’re really a wordsmith. Now he’s on the reserve/COVID-19 list. Imagine what the response would have been if Aaron Rodgers had said this. Twitter would’ve crashed. Sometimes it pays to be mediocre, right Kirk?
But yes, continue to talk about how Davante Adams doesn’t have a contract extension yet and how Aaron Rodgers is running the front office.
No, we didn’t forget about the Bears. Surprisingly, Chicago has had the least amount of chaos of the three division bottom feeders. This is somewhat eyebrow raising considering Matt Nagy is still the head coach after he led the Bears to another incredible 8-8 showing last season. Chicago’s case can be quickly summarized: Andy Dalton is still the starting quarterback as of right now and Nagy and Ryan Pace are on the hot seat. When Dalton throws three interceptions in the opener and Nagy sticks with him for Weeks 2 and 3, Bears fans will revolt and chaos will ensue. The Bears are always a ticking time bomb.
Everyone in the division laughed at the Packers and cheered as Rodgers and the Green Bay front office seemed destined for a breakup. Now, No. 12 is back and as motivated as ever to win a title, even if just to shove it in Brian Gutekunst’s face. For now, it’s smooth sailing in Green Bay while Detroit, Minnesota, and Chicago stumble around trying to put out one fire after another.