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NFC North Preview

NFC North Preview

Looking at offseason changes
By: Pete Davidson : July 29, 2013 4:25pm

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Now that camps are opening and we have finished our rookie rankings, we thought it was a good time to start rolling out our team reports, which are being released by division. Old Rotobahn readers know the drill, but for you newbies, the goal here is to get you back up to fantasy speed. If you’ve been eating, breathing and sleeping baseball, we’re here for you. Let’s play a little catch-up. The key things on the docket are coaching changes, rookies and key free agent moves.

 

Bears

Did former HC Lovie Smith deserve to get fired? Probably not, but we love the hiring of Marc Trestman, who is getting a long overdue opportunity. Trestman has done a lot of quality work over the years. His OC will be Aaron Kromer, but this will be Trestman’s offense.

On defense, the Bears will get a new leader in the form of Mel Tucker. Tucker has been a DC in the past, both in Cleveland and then in Jacksonville. We really like this hire. Tucker’s defenses have been tough and smart and he’ll have great talent to work with in Chicago.

I see good things for the Bears, but it’s worth mentioning that they are the NFC North team with the most to do as far as installing systems is concerned. No other team in the NFC North had as much as a coordinator switch, so they’ll be battling divisional foes with more established systems and that’s not a plus. That said, Trestman’s system is a plus in and of itself. This team is going to be very interesting to follow in 2013.

On the field, there are a few changes worth noting.

  • Martellus Bennett was brought in to solve the tight end problem. He will do just that and is a value right now in drafts.
  • They drafted RG Kyle Long (Son of Howie) in the first round. We like the move in concert with the additions of LT Jermon Bushrod and LG Matt Slauson. This will be the best OL that Jay Cutler has played behind in Chicago ... by a freaking ton. This is vital.
  • The Bears got some nice WR depth in the 7th round of the draft by adding Marquess Wilson out of Washington State. We like this kid’s upside a lot for a 7th rounder and they have the roster to allow him the time required.
  • Future HOF LB Brian Urlacher retired.

As for the Bears’ Defense and their fantasy impact, I think you’ll see more of the same. There is still great talent and we like Tucker.  They should still be a top tier fantasy defense.

 

 

Packers

The Pack returns all of their key coaches and that’s obviously a good thing. The big changes on the offense are....

  • The departure of Greg Jennings to the Vikings.
  • The addition of rookie tailbacks Eddie Lacy (Alabama, round 2) and Johnathan Franklin (UCLA, round 4).
  • Drafted two receivers in the 7th. Charles Johnson (Grand Valley State) and Kevin Dorsey (Maryland.) Johnson, in particular, has solid fantasy upside, but will need some time.

That’s the long and short of it. Perhaps a new starting tailback, but it’ll be the usual suspects after that.
 

 

That’s the long and short of it. Perhaps a new starting tailback, but it’ll be the usual suspects after that.


Vikings

The Vikes really followed the courage of their own convictions this offseason and I respect that. Trading Percy Harvin took some serious stones. Then, moving back up in the draft for a third first rounder and taking Cordarrelle Patterson took guts. Our feeling is that they did the right thing. Patterson may be a star right away and he may take some time, but he is the real deal from a talent perspective. More talented even than Harvin and without all of Percy’s baggage.

Now, the Vikings have two amazing talents on offense again. This could work. They also added one of my favorite targets of derision in Matt Cassel. Thing is, as a backup, I am just fine with him and it’s a big upgrade from what they’ve had. Solid move, but the big free agent aquisition was longtime divsion rival WR Greg Jennings.  Jennings can still play, but we've probably seen his best at this point.  He provides a steady veteran hand that's been lacking outside in recent years.  QB Christian Ponder definitely has a better hand to play this year.

There were no significant coaching changes. The rest of the crew returns ... Ponder, AP, Kyle Rudolph and Jerome “flip” Simpson.


Lions

We have Bush. The Lions fans have long deserved a back worthy of Barry Sander’s old spot and they have one in Reggie Bush, who, while not Barry, could be an absolutely perfect fit for the Lions. Keeping the old trojan healthy will be the key. As long as Reggie is 100%, he will be a PPR monster and a high level RB2 in non-PPR.

I also like the fact that, though they went defense early in the draft, they still got a few nice offensive parts in RB/WR Theo Riddick and Va Tech WR Corey Fuller. Both have NFL ability. I also like Joseph Fauria, a UDFA TE out of UCLA that has a lot of offensive upside if he can learn to be a passable blocker in space.

There were no coaching changes at the coordinator level. The Lions should be a better team in 2013 and there should be more fantasy points being scored. There’s a better vibe with the Titus Young ordeal behind them and with a relatively healthy roster for a change. Even WR Ryan Broyles is looking ready to roll after suffering another ACL injury late in 2012.