North Notes: Packers, Allen, Bears, Teddy

Less than two weeks after a pair of special teams blunders contributed to the Packers’ NFC Championship Game loss, Green Bay has fired special teams coach Shawn Slocum, the team announced. Slocum, who’d been with the Packers since 2006, had led an ST unit that had been below-average in recent seasons, finishing 18th, 19th, and 22nd in Football Outsiders’ special teams DVOA in ’12, ’13, and ’14, respectively. As Rob Demovsky of notes, Slocum is just the second coordinator to be fired by head coach Mike McCarthy, the first being DC Bob Sanders, who was let go after the 2008 season.

Here’s more from the North divisions:

  • The Bears are likely to employ a 3-4 defense in 2015 under new coordinator Vic Fangio, and veteran defensive end (or linebacker, perhaps?) Jared Allen has a few concerns about the transition. “It’s not that I can’t do it,” Allen told Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune (link via Kevin Patra of “For me, it is a question of what kind of system are we going to run? How do I fit in the system? How do we achieve our goals? These things will play out.” Both his 2015 base salary and roster bonus (which total $12.5MM) are guaranteed, so Allen, who admits he’d rather play end in a 4-3 look, will be on Chicago’s roster.
  • Chicago’s coaching staff will see some continuity at the receiver position, as the Bears announced Mike Groh will remain in his role as WR coach. Groh, the son of longtime NFL/NCAA coach Al Groh, served under ex-head coach Marc Trestman from 2013-14, and helped Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery put together outstanding seasons.
  • The Vikings nabbed quarterback Teddy Bridgewater with the 32nd pick in last year’s draft, and according to Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer, the Lousiville product was reportedly happy he didn’t last elsewhere. A source tells Cabot that Bridgewater didn’t want to be selected by the QB-needy Browns because he knew that some in the Cleveland organization preferred Johnny Manziel. This jibes with what we’ve heard in the past, including reports that offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan left the Browns due to disputes over the selection of Manziel.
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