Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

06 Sep 2009

ESPN INSIDER: NFC North Ones To Watch

My time with the wonderful, miserable NFC North ends with these four dispatches for ESPN Insider. Again, the first player listed is one on the rise, the second is one on the decline, and the third is one to watch out for.

Chicago: Earl Bennett, Brian Urlacher, Jarron Gilbert
Detroit: Kevin Smith, Matthew Stafford, Louis Delmas
Green Bay: Brady Poppinga, Donald Lee, Jermichael Finley
Minnesota: Visanthe Shiancoe, Brett Favre, John Sullivan

Posted by: Bill Barnwell on 06 Sep 2009

12 comments, Last at 09 Sep 2009, 7:28am by paytonrules


by fyo :: Sun, 09/06/2009 - 5:09pm

Matthew Stafford is in decline? Damn, that didn't take long. Quarterbacks just don't last like they used to...

by bubqr :: Sun, 09/06/2009 - 8:03pm

He's washed out for sure.

by Sifter :: Sun, 09/06/2009 - 5:29pm

Was Bill writing these? I think he's got a serious man-crush on Louis Delmas. Bill's been pimping his ability for the last 6 months in various articles, hope he turns out well Bill :D Although in your defense, I guess there aren't really many Lions 'to watch out for'.

by zlionsfan :: Mon, 09/07/2009 - 6:14pm

right. Calvin Johnson, Kevin Smith ... um, after that maybe it's Jason Hanson. It seems like Schwartz brought in a lot of filler ... an upgrade in many places, sure, but not really anything to build on.

I guess if you have an entire house that's rotting and you have nowhere else to sleep, you can't pull the whole thing down around you. And if Delmas actually hits cleanly and can stick to his assignments, he'll be an immediate upgrade.

by JoeHova :: Mon, 09/07/2009 - 3:15am

Brady Poppinga is on the rise? I think even he would be shocked to hear that.

by ammek :: Mon, 09/07/2009 - 3:18am

You may have chosen the wrong time to quit the "wonderful, miserable" NFC North. Could this be the year it stops sucking? The Bears have a quarterback, the Lions might have a decent head coach, the Packers look to have a defense, and the Vikings — well, they signed some old guy.

Sadly I won't read your article but your Poppinga pick is interesting. I guess he's going to start at ROLB until Clay Matthews is ready, and in the 3-4 defense that's the money position for pass rushers. With defenses focused on Kampman as the primary rusher, Poppinga could get some opportunities. Position coach Kevin Greene loves him too — I think the old man is schooling him in all the oldies on Guitar Hero 3. Nice call.

by Never Surrender (not verified) :: Mon, 09/07/2009 - 6:19am

"Miserable" NFC North? But Peter King has the whole division going to the playoffs!

by Packerpalooza (not verified) :: Mon, 09/07/2009 - 8:07am

Poppinga stinks. He's all rage and fury but no finish. He's like a fake de Kooning painting.

That and Poppinga is a hundred years old. Because his career started late due to Mormon missions he's already one of the oldest players on the d*mn roster. On the rise? Cripes, he turns 30 in 2 weeks. He's done before it gets started.

If somebody wanted to look at a guy who looks to take a real step forward how about Allen Barbre who takes over at right tackle? Or maybe guard Josh Sitton? Barbre is taking over for Tauscher and has looked good in camp. Sitton has done the same. He's a 23 year old bulldozer.

But hey, if stiff linebackers who can't disengage from blockers is all the rage now that's news to me........

by Packerpalooza (not verified) :: Mon, 09/07/2009 - 11:47am

By the way, I am referring to Brady's skill set for the 3-4 where he will be asked to rush the passer. Poppinga gets locked up and can never get to the passer.

by Flounder :: Mon, 09/07/2009 - 11:16pm

I have to agree. Poppinga was up for getting traded or cut prior to Thompson and Matthews getting hurt. He's a one-dimensional, mediocre player, and I won't be surprised if he's on bench by mid-season. But hey, BIll thought Tony frickin Moll was going to be the starting right tackle this spring.

by Barney (not verified) :: Tue, 09/08/2009 - 2:00pm

Every time I click on an "Insider" post I become less likely to ever sign up.

by paytonrules :: Wed, 09/09/2009 - 7:28am

Are the Bears still the projected winners of the NFC North? Or does that change to the Vikings with Brett Favre? I'm kinda surprised that hasn't been posted on the site somewhere.