Following are several whispers we've been hearing from around the NFC North:
• Lions OLT Jeff Backus took a lot of heat for giving up the sack that injured QB Matthew Stafford in Week One, but Backus has had a fine season since then. He has had only one penalty this season and has been an anchor in pass protection who doesn't receive a ton of help from backs and tight ends. Backus will never be a crushing run blocker, but the team has had far more success running left than right this season.
• With the Packers continuing to get stung by the injury bug at tight end with rookie Andrew Quarless suffering a shoulder injury against the Jets in Week Eight, we hear the team could be thinking about re-signing Spencer Havner, who was released by the Lions after suffering a pulled hamstring. Word is Havner would most likely be signed after Green Bay's bye week, at which time his hamstring would likely be fully healed.
• The Vikings might try to use more of DT Letroy Guion, who has been viewed as a draft bust to date, but he has made the most of the snaps this season. The Vikings' D-line is not creating enough havoc or pressure up front, and Guion might carve out a bigger role if he can show he can handle it.
• League sources give high marks to the Bears' Rod Marinelli for the job he's done in his first season as the team's defensive coordinator. Marinelli has played a key role in the development of DE Israel Idonije and DT Matt Toeaina, who are both playing well in their first season as full-time starters.