The NFC North could experience a change at the top. The Packers enter the season as the defending champions, but most believe the Vikings have positioned themselves as the favorites in 2005. Meanwhile, the Lions and Bears might be ready to make a move. Scouts Inc. highlights the one player on each team who could help shape the division next year.
Doug Brien, PK, Bears
Brien's experience over the last four months embodies the roller-coaster ride that is the place-kicker position in the NFL. Brien knew his days in New York were numbered after he missed a pair of field goals in a division-round playoff loss at Pittsburgh. After the Jets used a second-round selection on Ohio State PK Mike Nugent, Brien was sent packing.
The Bears, who had kicking problems of their own, signed Brien to a one-year contract, with a minimum-base salary ($765,000). Brien was added to give struggling PK Paul Edinger a push for the starting job in training camp. After Brien stood out as the much more accurate and consistent field goal kicker during May mini-camp, the Bears decided to release Edinger and name Brien the starter.