Bears offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer may not call the plays in Chicago (noted offensive mastermind/head coach Marc Trestman performs that duty), but that doesn’t mean his impact on offensive production is limited. Working mostly with the offensive line, Kromer molded a unit that was among the league’s worst in 2012 into one of 2013’s elite lines. The Bears’ line, infused with talent in the forms of Jermon Bushrod and Kyle Long, gave up only 30 sacks (fourth-fewest in the NFL), and finished with a fifth-best 5.5% adjusted sack rate (per Football Outsiders).
Kromer will expand his duties in 2014, writes Adam L. Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times, as the coordinator aims to work more with the Bears’ quarterbacks and receivers. “It’s given myself a chance to broaden my horizons and not spend 100 percent of my time with the offensive line when it comes to practice and meeting time,” said Kromer. “Sometimes an offensive line coach can get pigeon-holed into just doing that job.”
More items from the NFC North:
- Packers general manager Ted Thompson doesn’t sound like he’s ready to leave Green Bay just yet, telling reporters he’s “just getting started” after the conclusion of the draft, according to ESPN.com’s Rob Demovsky. Reports surfaced earlier this month that indicated Thompson might be nearing the end of his tenure in Green Bay.
- Retired NFL kicker Jason Hanson was at the Lions’ rookie minicamp over the weekend, primarily to help seventh-round kicker Nate Freese, who had a 86.4% field goal-conversion rate while at Boston College, writes Tim Twentyman of DetroitLions.com.
- In a separate piece, Twentyman writes that Lions second-year receiver Corey Fuller has an extra reason to want to make the Detroit roster: to play against his brother (and now, divisonal rival), Bears first-round corner Kyle Fuller.
- The Lions have changed their approach with regards to undrafted free agents, according to Justin Rogers of MLive.com. While the team had previously waited until the sixth- or seventh-round to make contact with potential UDFAs, Detroit now starts placing calls to prospects as early as the fourth round. This strategy of displaying early interest in a players aided the Lions in signing Kansas State offensive tackle Cornelius Lucas.
- In his latest mailbag, ESPN.com’s Ben Goessling opines that the battle for the Vikings starting QB job between Teddy Bridgewater and Matt Cassel could play out much like the Russell Wilson–Matt Flynn situation during Seattle’s 2012 training camp.