Cubs

15 on 6: Make Yourself Bullet Proof

15 on 6: Make Yourself Bullet Proof

Saturday, Oct. 23, 2010
6:38 PM

By Jim Miller
CSNChicago.com

Communication

The games I loved the most were the ones when I came off the field mentally spent. A nice day where you hit 20 of 24 pass attempts, 235 yards, and two td's. Even better would be if you did not have one grass stain on your uniform. You hang out with the guys talking about a great victory over a bottle of suds, then go home with your significant other and .....wait.... crash! You left it on the field and were absolutely mentally exhausted. You still replay the four passes you should of hit in your head, but walked away with knowledge if the same situations ever arose again. It is time for Jay to experience one of those games in a Bears uniform.

You work every facet of the game. You talk to the guys in the huddle, giving them tips on what blitz or defensive look to expect. You communicate down and distance and what you need to get a first down. You tell a receiver to go a little deeper on his route to ensure a first down or to shorten it up because you're coming to him quick. You approach a receiver on the sideline and tell him you see the corner playing inside technique and to be aware if you shoot him a signal for a different route. You let the offense know you may audible to a different play if you get a certain defensive look again. Most important of all, you talk to your offensive coordinator, going over plays, situations, timeouts, and looks to attack. Former offensive coordinators Gary Crowten and John Shoop would ask what plays I liked during a game. I would always say the same thing "just call plays" because I was determined to make them all work. If it wasn't good call, you get your offense into something better that will. Bottom line is, you make it work. We have already covered this in earlier blogs, because after it's all said and done, you are the Chief Executive Officer on the field. You run the show.

Make Yourself Bullet Proof

Jay must be ready to:

1. Have a play ready to not waste timeouts. Know your personnel on the field and go! It happens all the time in the NFL. Headsets go down, OC's late getting calls in, etc.... if it happens, you must know the game plan and rattle off a play that fits the situation, ie, 1st and 10 plays, 2nd and medium, etc. Save your timeouts for the critical situations in a game. That's good football.

2. Think the game. Why is this play being called? Is it being called for matchup reasons, beat a blitz, set up something later, or say for a certain coverage to be exploited? Go through your checklist in your head as soon as you receive the play to prepare for the worst case scenario. Then communicate hints to the players who may be involved. It could be to throw hot, dump the ball off for a better 3rd down situation, throw it away, change protection, whatever...if the boss is prepared, you can prepare your fellow coworkers for advantageous situations instead of digging a deeper hole by panicking and compounding the issues.

3. Play confident....When you are prepared, you play confident.

Jay must buildup this arsenal so he is bullet proof by game time.

Jim Miller, an 11-year former NFL quarterback, is a Comcast SportsNet Bears analyst who can be seen each week on U.S. Cellular Bears Postgame Live. Miller, who spent five seasons with the Bears, analyzes current Chicago QB Jay Cutler in his "15 on 6" blog on CSNChicago.com and can be followed on Twitter @15miller.

Why did Kris Bryant get a first-place vote in this year's National League MVP balloting?

1117_kris_bryant.jpg
USA TODAY

Why did Kris Bryant get a first-place vote in this year's National League MVP balloting?

Kris Bryant was the 2016 National League MVP. And despite having what could be considered an even better campaign this past season, he finished seventh in voting for the 2017 edition of the award.

The NL MVP was awarded to Miami Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton on Thursday night, a fine choice, though it was nearly impossible to make a poor choice, that's how many fantastic players there were hitting the baseball in the NL this season.

After Stanton, Cinicinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto finished second, earning the same amount of first-place votes and losing out to Stanton by just one point. Then came Arizona Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, Colorado Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado, Rockies outfielder Charlie Blackmon and Washington Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon ahead of Bryant.

But there was someone who thought Bryant deserved to repeat as the NL MVP. Yes, Bryant earned a first-place vote — as did everyone else mentioned besides Rendon, for that matter — causing a bit of a social-media stir considering the Cubs third baseman, despite his great season, perhaps wasn't as standout a candidate as some of the other guys who finished higher in the voting.

So the person who cast that first-place vote for Bryant, MLB.com's Mark Bowman, wrote up why he felt Bryant deserved to hoist the Kenesaw Mountain Landis Memorial Baseball Award for the second straight year.

"In the end, I chose Bryant because I believe he made the greatest impact, as his second-half production fueled the successful turnaround the Cubs experienced after the All-Star break," Bowman wrote.

"Though I don't believe the MVP must come from a playoff contender, in an attempt to differentiate the value provided by each of these three players (Bryant, Votto and Stanton), I chose to reward the impact made by Bryant, who produced the NL's fourth-best OPS (.968) after the All-Star break, when the Cubs distanced themselves from a sub-.500 record and produced an NL-best 49 wins."

It's easy for Cubs fans and observers to follow that logic, as the Cubs took off after the All-Star break following a disappointing first half. As good as Bryant was all season long, his second-half numbers, as Bowman pointed out, were especially great. He hit .325 with a .421 on-base percentage and a .548 slugging percentage over his final 69 games of the regular season, hitting 11 home runs, knocking out 21 doubles and driving in 35 runs during that span.

Perhaps the craziest thing about this year's MVP race and Bryant's place in it is that Bryant was just as good if not better than he was in 2016, when he was almost unanimously named the NL MVP. After slashing .292/.385/.554 with 39 homers, 102 RBIs, 35 doubles, 75 walks and 154 strikeouts in 2016, Bryant slashed .295/.409/.537 with 29 homers, 73 RBIs, 38 doubles, 95 walks and 128 strikeouts in 2017.

Of course, the competition was much steeper this time around. But Bryant was given the MVP award in 2016 playing for a 103-win Cubs team that was bursting with offensive firepower, getting great seasons from Anthony Rizzo (who finished third in 2016 NL MVP voting), as well as Dexter Fowler and Ben Zobrist. While the Cubs actually scored more runs this season and undoubtedly turned it on after the All-Star break on a team-wide basis, Bryant was far and away the best hitter on the team in 2017, with many other guys throughout the lineup having notably down years and/or experiencing down stretches throughout the season. Hence, making Bryant more, say it with me, valuable.

So Bowman's argument about Bryant's impact on the Cubs — a team that still scored 822 runs, won 92 games and advanced to the National League Championship Series — is a decently convincing one.

Check out Bowman's full explanation, which dives into some of Bryant's advanced stats.

HandiKapping presented by Xpressbet

HandiKapping presented by Xpressbet

In the latest edition of HandiKapping presented by Xpressbet, NBC Sports Chicago's David Kaplan makes his picks for the weekend.

Kap made his picks with the help of Eddie Olczyk this week.