Based on the coverage on our fansided.com NFC North sister sites, everyone has a lot of work to do – not just the Packers.
All three teams saw some work and contributions from their rookie draft picks, but it was the Lions’ Ziggy Ansah who had the biggest splash. It was on the Lions’ fourth defensive play of the young preseason that Ansah stepped in front of a Mark Sanchez pass for an interception and pick-six. That’s certainly a great way to start the season for the young Lion.
Other highlights across the division included solid play from two of the Vikings’ first-round picks – wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson and defensive lineman Sharrif Floyd. The Vikings Age’s editor, Dan Zinski, had this to say:
The main thing is that the young guys got out there and got a taste of action. Cordarrelle Patterson and Sharrif Floyd both showed up big, which will only fuel fan optimism. Floyd suffered a little knee injury but it’s not thought to be serious. Patterson showed a little more polish running routes than we were led to believe he possessed and also flashed his athleticism.
Mike Burzawa, beargoggleson.com’s editor, was a bit tougher on his team:
The Marc Trestman era started with a whimper. That’s the best way to describe the first outing as head coach of the Chicago Bears, as they dropped their preseason opener 24-17 to the Carolina Panthers. Jay Cutler was in mid-season form, as his first pass of the season was intercepted. It looked like Alshon Jeffery cut off his route or didn’t fight enough for the ball, but when asked about it, Cutler said it should have gone to Jeffery’s other shoulder. He sounds like he’s taking accountability. Would you call that progress? Cutler was in there for pretty much the entire first quarter, finishing up the night 6-8 for 56 yards and the one costly interception.
Checking in with Zac Snyder, sidelionreport.com’s editor, he had this to say about the Lions, giving us a hint about the player who stepped up from the mix and one that should be watched:
Matthew Stafford wasn’t particularly sharp but I’m not worried through just one preseason game. Stafford was able to take advantage of a couple opportunities the Jets left available and had no problems connecting with Calvin Johnson. The eye-opening player for me on offense was Matt Willis. A successful challenge on a sliding sideline catch was the first big play, the second being a 15-yard over the shoulder catch for a touchdown. If he wasn’t on your radar as a guy with a serious shot at making the roster, he should be now.
For more NFC North info, check out this article on Forbes.com breaking down NFC North tickets prices.