Bulls

Bears make second change in starting lineup in two days sort of

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Bears make second change in starting lineup in two days sort of

BOURBONNAIS, Ill. On Tuesday, the winds of change blew through the nose tackle spot of the No. 1 defense, where Stephen Paea replaced Matt Toeaina as the starter, as first reported by CSNChicago.com.

On Wednesday, the change was happening on the other side of the ball where JMarcus Webb spent a second straight day as the No. 1 left tackle and Chris Williams went over to right tackle with the 1s to give Gabe Carimi a break.

Webb and Williams have been following a strict program of alternating days with the starters, leading to the conclusion that Webb has been declared the winner of the competition at that critical spot on the offensive line.

Not so fast.

Coach Lovie Smith cautioned against reading too much into the situation, and indeed any final position award is not expected until after at least one or more preseason game.

Six days in, dont look at too much right now, Smith said, except that its safe to say Jay Cutler is going to start at quarterback.

(When pressed, Smith also confirmed, tongue-in-cheek, that Matt Forte is a roster lock.)

Webb has rated a slight edge in recent days over Williams, who is philosophical about the situation.

You just come in and keep working hard like I always do and let that stuff sort itself out, said Williams, who had no clear explanation for the change in program.

Williams subbed for Gabe Carimi, the starter at right tackle, and Carimi took reps with the No. 2 offensive line alongside right guard Ricky Henry, who has had a strong camp.

If you have players that have been around here for awhile, you want to give them an opportunity to play against everyone, Smith said. If a guys on the second team, and hes always going against those guys, you want to see what he can do against some of the other guys. No more than that.

Which, of course, remains to be seen.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Are the playoffs in sight for the Bulls?

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Are the playoffs in sight for the Bulls?

On this episode of the SportsTalk Live Podcast, David Haugh (Chicago Tribune), Seth Gruen and Ben Finfer join Chuck Garfien on the panel.

The Bulls win again. Do they dare think playoffs? Vincent Goodwill joins the guys to discuss.

Plus, they debate where the “Minneapolis Miracle” ranks amongst the greatest plays in NFL playoff history and if Tom Ricketts is right to say that Sammy Sosa needs to put everything on the table to rejoin the Cubs family.

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below:

Humorous things we learned at Cubs Convention

Humorous things we learned at Cubs Convention

One of the best things about Cubs Convention is the access fans and media have to the team and the state of mind the players possess in mid-January.

At this point, they’ve had time away from the field to rest and relax with their family and friends and as Anthony Rizzo says “no one is oh for four yet.” While workouts are in full swing, few have started hitting or pitching at this point in their off-season schedule, so “baseball talk” is not always priority. Instead, this is when we get to hear fun stories and entertaining tidbits about these players.

It’s no secret this team genuinely enjoys being around one and other and that the camaraderie is on full display for fans as they interact and poke fun at one and other during the question and answer panels. So, for those that may have missed the weekend’s festivities here are a few humorous things we learned about the Cubs:

  • When asked about a celebrity crushes, Anthony Rizzo coaxed Javier Baez into a J-Lo response while Kyle Schwarber weighed out his options before coming up with Katy Perry. That was “until she shaved her hair off and now looks like Eleven from Stranger Things!”
  • Schwarber’s name has consumed the recent headlines following his physical transformation this winter, but he isn’t the only Cub who dropped some weight this off-season. Those that got a picture or autograph from Ian Happ over the weekend should have noticed a slimmer physique as well. Happ told me “you have to look and feel your best for your first full season.” And when it comes to all the trade rumors involving his name, he said he’s been too busy golfing and working out this offseason to pay any attention.
  • During a one-on-one interview with new Cubs starter Tyler Chatwood, he gave us his best scouting report on himself, “four-seam fastball, two-seam fastball, I’ll throw my curveball a lot more. That’s always been my best pitch and I kind of got away from it a little bit, but I’m going to be throwing that a lot more. Cutter and a changeup, too. So, you know, try to trick them with something.” And when asked which Cubs player he’s most interested in meeting, his response was Kris Bryant. “Just watching him it seems like he does everything cool.”
  • Addison Russell recalled his favorite memory or most funny moment of 2017 as the exchange with Nacho Man. Bringing Cubs and Cardinals fans together over nacho cheese and selfies. The All-Star shortstop also informed us that if he weren’t playing major league baseball, his fallback would be, a dart player. That’s right.
  • After being left off the panel of last year’s Kids Only Press Conference, Anthony Rizzo asked to be the host this year. “It’s my favorite event of the weekend,” Rizzo said. The Cubs first baseman did a tremendous job, toeing the line between appropriate parent/child humor. And after a few minutes of trash talking with Kris Bryant, Rizzo conceded that the younger Bryzzo partner would likely beat him in a one-on-one pickup game. Something I’m sure we’ll see a few weeks from now in Mesa at Spring Training.
  • And last, but certainly not least, Willson Contreras stole the weekend as he recalled the best defensive play of 2017 being Jon Lester’s pickoff of Tommy Pham. “I went out there and said hey motherfu**** throw the ball to first.” A moment that left his teammates on stage shaking their heads in disbelief. But our takeaway: the young, fiery catcher is not intimidated working with the veteran lefty, and he’s just the guy you want behind the plate for this experienced rotation.

After an easy going weekend full of laughs and selfies, the players now buckle in and turn their attention to spring training, with pitchers and catchers reporting to Mesa in less than a month.