Packers Driver deal cause for "concern"


Packers Driver deal cause for "concern"

A stated reason for the change at general manager for the Bears was the failure to gain enough ground on the Green Bay Packers over the last decade. That task hasnt gotten any easier.

In these situations you need either one side (the Bears) to rise or the other (the Packers) to backslide. One has happened; the other, not so sure.

The problem isnt the Bears. Indeed, the trend arrow was pointing up under Jerry Angelo with additions of Jay Cutler and Julius Peppers and under Phil Emery with Brandon Marshall all additions of proven players from other rosters and presumably with a draft that included immediate impact players in the first two rounds (Shea McClellin, Alshon Jeffery).

But the Packers and receiver Donald Driver have agreed to a contract restructuring that presumably allows the distinguished veteran to finish his career with Green Bay.

The problem for the Bears is not specifically Driver, although his 37 catches would have tied Johnny Knox for team high among Bears wide receivers but was only good enough for fifth among Packers.

Its that Driver is the No. 4 or 5 receiver in Green Bay and that the Packers also have four young receivers (Diondre Borel, Tori Gurley, Shaky Smithson, Dale Moss) clawing for roster spots.

The Bears receiver upgrades at the top of the depth chart put a squeeze on Dane Sanzenbacher, assuming that signees Devin Thomas and Eric Weems are in at Nos. 5-6.

The Packers were last in yards allowed last season and felt good enough about their receiver-based offense to spend the first six of their seven draft choices on defense.

So if youre waiting for the other-than-Aaron-Rodgers strength of the Green Bay roster to decline and the Packers to backslide, its may be a while.

Preps recruiting: Illini add another 2017 piece

Preps recruiting: Illini add another 2017 piece

Illinois and head coach Lovie Smith added another piece to the Fighting Illini Class of 2017 late last night when Prospect two-star ranked offensive tackle Alex Palczewski (6-foot-6, 270 pounds) gave Illinois his verbal commitment.

"I felt extremely comfortable at Illinois," Palczewski told Orange and Blue News publisher Doug Buschon last night. "I know with Coach Lovie Smith there, that program is going to go sky high. We're going to win."

Palczewski, who flew under most recruiting radar screens missed his entire 2015 junior season because of an injury is now the 20th known verbal commitment in the Illinois Class of 2017 and the ninth known in-state commitment. 

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