The latest from the NFC North..
- The Packers are expected to keep the duo of Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb together, writes Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com. Still, with $14.25MM already committed to Nelson this season, GM Ted Thompson has to figure out how to keep Cobb in the fold as well. Cobb is in the final season of his rookie extension and Green Bay has other needs to take care of with their projected $8.8MM in cap space. The feeling around the league is that there’s no way the Packers would let him hit free agency next March. “It will get done,” said an NFL personnel executive. “He’s a Ted guy.”
- Lovie Smith is preaching a different defense with the Buccaneers, and the Bears have taken notice, writes CSNChicago.com’s John Mullin. “They’ve played a lot of man-to-man coverage, more than you’d think,” Bears coach Marc Trestman said. “You look at where they’ve been defensively, and they’re moving man-to-man coverage significantly.
- More from Mullin, who wonders if the newly-signed Marc Mariani is the key to the Bears turning their return game around. Special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis spoke highly of Mariani’s “returner mechanics” and attributed that to the tutelage of former coach Jeff Fisher. Mariani went to the 2010 Pro Bowl as a member of the Titans.