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What'd They Say: Vikings NFC North Foes Have New Look at 2018 Combine

INDIANAPOLIS — There are plenty of fresh faces each year at the NFL Scouting Combine, but it seems there has been more turnover than usual in the NFC North this offseason.

Both the Bears and Lions have new head coaches, as Chicago hired Matt Nagy and Detroit brought in Matt Patricia to lead those respective franchises.

Green Bay shook up its front office by naming Brian Gutekunst as the Packers new general manager and has new offensive and defensive coordinators in Joe Philbin and Mike Pettine.

The Vikings are the only team that hasn't undergone a change at head coach or general manager, much to the enjoyment of Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer.

"I'm just glad the Vikings don't have a new coach," Zimmer quipped Thursday morning from Indianapolis.

Here's what the Bears, Lions and Packers had to say from Indianapolis:


The Bears hired Nagy in January after he was formerly the offensive coordinator in Kansas City.

The 39-year-old Nagy was asked about the responsibilities of being a head coach and making the transition to that role.

'The first thing you notice, and I was reminded of this by Coach [Andy] Reid and Coach [Brad Childress], when this process first started, when you get into the office, you put a couple things on your desk to get done. They're not getting done until 6 o'clock at night," Nagy said. "There's a lot more to-do's, so for me it's balancing my time management, which is easy; that part's not hard, and it's actually fun. I look forward to it."

Nagy inherits second-year quarterback Mitch Trubisky, who threw for 2,193 yards with seven touchdowns and seven interceptions in 12 starts as a rookie in 2017.

Nagy commented on what he's seen from the young quarterback based on film evaluation.

"Well, what you see with Mitch is kind of what I already knew," Nagy said. "First of all, the person is, you can see it on tape from what he did in regards to his interview last year in this Combine. You can see that in his style of play. You see him go out there, he goes in and he plays hard.

"He makes some really special throws, and he's learning the tempo and the speed of the game. So for him, just understanding, getting in and out of the huddle, getting up to the line of scrimmage and then make a play, there's a lot to that process," Nagy added. "And so you can see the growth of him as he develops throughout the year that he's improving and getting better and better. For somebody like myself and the staff that comes in, that's really fun."

Bears General Manager Ryan Pace said he's more than happy to have Nagy on board in the Windy City.

"He's extremely passionate about this, the collaboration is very natural for us, he's highly intelligent, but he's also very humble with that, which I think is a real attractive trait," Nagy said. "Matt's naturally a very energetic person, he's also a very creative, outside-the-box thought process, which is nice."

Pace revealed that Chicago will release quarterback Mike Glennon at the start of the new league year on March 14. The Bears signed Glennon as a free agent during the 2017 offseason.

"Mike Glennon, just to be transparent on that, I've talked to Mike a lot recently. Obviously there's a mechanism in his contract where we really can't release him until the start of the new league year, so that's kind of our plan going forward. We've been transparent with Mike; that's how that will play out," Pace said.


The Lions also have a new leading man in Patricia, who won three Super Bowls during his time in New England.

Both Patricia and Detroit General Manager Bob Quinn said the past few weeks have been a wild ride because Patricia couldn't be brought on by the Lions until after Super Bowl LII, which was less than a month ago in Minneapolis.

"It's kind of a whirlwind right now. I mean, it's all been unbelievable from the standpoint of just, you know, everything that you're involved in and kind of trying to make decisions on, which is great," Patricia said. "Big focus is trying to get through the process. You know, just setting timelines for, 'OK, hey, we're working on this this week. Next week we've got to move on to that.'

"And really putting a schedule together for the short-term and long-term, looking at big picture where we want to be, say, in a month or two months and then where we are and where we want to be in a week," Patricia added. "So it's been fun and a challenge all kind of wrapped into one."

Added Quinn: "It's been busy. It's been fun. A lot of long hours watching tape, talking through different things. We had a lot of time talking about staff. The staff is kind of coming together pretty good. I feel like we're getting close there. Matt and I have evaluated the roster and kind of dove in to free agency, I'd say the last week or so. Kind of going through guys that might fit what we're trying to do; it's been fun. It's been like the good old days."

The Lions made news earlier this week by deciding to use the franchise tag on defensive end Ezekiel Ansah, who has 44 sacks in his first five seasons in the NFL.

"We talked to Ziggy yesterday morning," Quinn said Wednesday. "Had a good conversation with Ziggy about what the future entails. All those conversations between me and the player is going to be private. We're not going to get into talking about it with you guys."But we did talk to him, told him what our plan was and he understands where we're coming from," Quinn added. "We understand where he's coming from, and we're looking forward to having him on the team."

Green Bay

The Packers snapped an eight-year run of playoff appearances by going 7-9 in 2017 and made a change by adding Gutekunst as the leader of the front office.

He said it's a little different being one of the key faces of the organization and having to meet the media.

"For me, the actual process for what I'm about to do doesn't change much. Our process is going to stay the same," Gutekunst said. "The evaluation part of it, the medical part of it, that all kind of stays the same. The media stuff is different for me, so that's new. But I'm excited to kind of get into these prospects and see what they're all about."

Gutekunst said an offseason priority could be signing quarterback Aaron Rodgers to a contract extension.

"I don't know if there's pressure, I think we certainly would like to get it done sooner rather than later — not necessarily for those reasons," Gutekunst said. "But when you have the best player in the National Football League, it's not going to be inexpensive, you know what I mean? Obviously Aaron is a high priority, he's a great player, and I think that should take care of itself at some point."

Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy said his emphasis this offseason is getting Green Bay's defense shored up.

The Packers ranked 22nd overall in yards allowed per game (348.9) and 26th in points allowed per game (24.0) in 2017.

"It's got to be a mentality," McCarthy said Wednesday. "I'm sick and tired of our defense feeling like the stepchild. I mean, how many times do you have to tell them, 'You're not the stepchild.'?

"That's a blatant statement, and it's not a cure-all," McCarthy added. "But it's definitely a starting point. So, now, with that, you've got to give them the opportunity to be better."

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