49ers still unsure on QB Smith's concussion comeback


49ers still unsure on QB Smith's concussion comeback

The Bears made their decision Friday on Jay Cutler and his concussion. Out of Mondays game at San Francisco.

The 49ers are not ready to declare on quarterback Alex Smith, however. Backup Colin Kaepernik continue on Friday to take more practice reps, a strong indicator given that starters typically get all of them.

But Smith was due to see a neurologist on Friday as part of the evaluation process, which played out as of late Friday afternoon.

Seems like things are progressing as it does, said San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh. And then the same thing weve always said is, again, its in the doctors hands and theyll evaluate him as the week goes. There seems to be some progress.

First and Final Thoughts: Is Trubisky going to play on Thanksgiving?

First and Final Thoughts: Is Trubisky going to play on Thanksgiving?

Welcome into First and Final Thoughts, one of our weekly columns with a title that's a little too on the nose. Here we'll have Insider J.J Stankevitz and Producers Cam Ellis and Paul Aspan give some insight into what's on their minds between games.

Final Thoughts on Week 11

Paul Aspan: “Who do you block?” That was Akiem Hicks’ response when asked about the Bears defensive dominance against the Vikings. Khalil Mack & Eddie Jackson continued to add to the Bears NFL-leading 27 takeaways, but it was Hicks who (continued to)  set the tone from the very first drive by blowing up a 3rd and inches and forcing the Vikings into a 3 and out.

The Bears put everyone on notice on the national stage that yes, they are for real and in control of the NFC North, in a 25-20 win that wasn’t even that close.

Monday & Tuesday did bring an unwelcome surprise with the news that Mitchell Trubisky’s status is in doubt for Thursday’s short turnaround against the Lions. Anytime the franchise QB lands on the injury report is unnerving but the good news is that Matt Nagy is at least saying it’s not a long term concern. So even if Mitch misses Thursday, he’ll have 10 more days to rest up for the final month.

Cam Ellis: Based in tiny part to his incredible play but mostly due to this hilarious mic'd up video, this seems like the time and the place to give Akeim Hicks his due. If the Patriots hadn't spent the last 20 years getting rid of their best defensive talent far too early, it'd almost be surprising that they let Hicks walk after the 2016 season. In the first year as a Bear, Hicks put up a career-best 8.5 sacks, and he's been one of the highest-rated defensive linemen in football this season:

He's probably headed to the Pro Bowl this season, and if not for Bryce Callahan, Hicks would probably be considered the best defensive player not named Khalil Mack. 

First Thought on Week 12

Aspan: So Chase Daniel huh? The 85 hour turnaround was always going to be a challenge but that certainly adds another wrinkle if Trubisky is forced to watch from the sidelines.  But this is still the same Lions team that allowed the Bears six sacks just two weeks ago. That doesn’t just fix itself. This is also the same leaky secondary - that despite beating the Panthers - allowed D.J. Moore to catch 7 passes for 157 yards and a TD, one week after allowing Anthony Miller and Allen Robinson 100 yard days.

The Bears are clearly the better team, regardless of who’s playing quarterback. This game will probably be closer than it should be, but here’s to counting on the Bears to back up Sunday night’s showing with another W.

Ellis: While having a QB show up on the injury  is never a good thing, the Bears' situation is about as good as you can expect, given the circumstances. The Lions have the the 29th ranked overall defense by DVOA, so theoretically a Chase Daniels offense could hand the ball off enough to not lose. The 30th ranked secondary in the NFL isn't going to be *that* much better against Chase Daniels than they would Mitch Trubisky. Next week? The Giants have the 27th ranked pass defense and are the 20th ranked rush group. All things considered, it could be a lot worse. There's a reason Daniels is one of the highest-paid backups in football. 

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of the Bears and stream the ‘Football Aftershow’ easily on your device.

Cubs make multiple moves to fill out 40-man roster


Cubs make multiple moves to fill out 40-man roster

Tuesday night was the deadline to set 40-man rosters in advance of the Rule 5 Draft and the Cubs made a flurry of moves with that in mind.

Earlier in the day the Cubs claimed pitcher Ian Clarkin off waivers from the White Sox. They followed up by trading Jason Vosler to the Padres for right-handed pitcher Rowan Wick.

Wick, who turned 26 less than two weeks ago, got a call-up late in 2018 with the Padres. He made his MLB debut on Aug. 31 and totaled 10 appearances out of the bullpen. He had a 6.48 ERA in 8 1/3 innings with seven strikeouts and just one walk. The improved control was a good sign after Wick walked 31 batters in 54 innings between Double-A and Triple-A earlier in the season, but he gave up 13 hits in the majors.

Going the other way, Vosler is a 25-year-old infielder who had been in the Cubs organization since getting drafted in 2014. He worked his way up to Triple-A this past season. Vosler hit .263/.306/.458 for the Iowa Cubs in 63 games.

The Cubs also added left-handed pitcher Justin Steele to the 40-man roster. Steele was a fifth-round pick of the Cubs out of high school in 2014 and came from injury in 2018. He made 11 starts between rookie ball, Single-A and Double-A before recently pitching in the Arizona Fall League.

Clarkin, Steele and Wick join the 40-man roster for the Cubs, which now stands at 39.

In addition to Vosler exiting, the Rangers claimed Jack Reinheimer off waivers from the Cubs. The Cubs had claimed Reinheimer off waivers from the Mets on Nov. 2. Outfielder Johnny Field and left-handed pitcher Jerry Vasto, both of which were claimed off waivers since the 2018 season ended, both cleared waivers and been assigned outright to Triple-A Iowa.


Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Cubs easily on your device.