North Notes: Manziel, Spence, Bears, Holmes

Let’s take a look at the latest from the NFL’s two North divisions as Ndamukong Suh continues his reign of terror

  • Speaking on SiriusXM NFL Radio, Browns head coach Mike Pettine didn’t dismiss the possibility of using Johnny Manziel in specified packages in relief of starting quarterback Brian Hoyer. “That is on the table,” said Pettine. “I don’t know if that’s anything that we want to commit to just now, ’cause I think Brian, because of the competition, is a little behind, with the chemistry and continuity in working with that first group. I think that is something that we can potentially look at down the road.” (Link via Jason Butt of the National Football Post).
  • 2012 third-round Steelers linebacker Sean Spence, who had been working his way back from a career-threatening knee injury suffered two years ago, re-injured his PCL in Thursday’s preseason game, writes Alan Robinson of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Nothing official has been announced yet, but the 24-year-old’s NFL tenure might be over.
  • Among the teams that didn’t qualify for the 2013 playoffs, the Bears trailed only the Cardinals in total DVOA. Field Yates of ESPN Insider (subscription required) explains why that level of base talent, combined with a revamped defensive line and developing second- and third-level defenders, could make Chicago a force this season.
  • Despite only being signed less than a week ago, Santonio Holmes has impressed the Bears’ coaching staff, according to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune (on Twitter).
  • The Bears’ free safety competition is “wide open,” tweets Matt Bowen of Bleacher Report. Rookie Brock Vereen and free agent signee M.D. Jennings are the primary contenders.
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