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5 Questions with...Comcast SportsNet's Pat Boyle

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5 Questions with...Comcast SportsNet's Pat Boyle

By Jeff Nuich
CSN Chicago Senior Director of Communications
CSNChicago.com Contributor

December 23, 2009

Want to know more about your favorite Chicago media celebrities? CSNChicago.com has your fix as we put the citys most popular personalities on the spot with our weekly media celebrity interview feature entitled 5 Questions with...

Every Wednesday exclusively on CSNChicago.com, its our turn to grill the local media and other local VIPs with five random sports and non-sports related questions that will definitely be of interest to old and new fans alike.

This weekan Emmy award-winning sportscaster who knows just about everything there is know about the Chicago sports scene, not to mention the national sports landscape as wellhes a Chicago guy who loves his teams as much as his own familyyou can catch him weeknights at 6:30, 10:00 and 10:30 PM with partner Mark Schanowski on Comcast SportsNets SportsNitehere are 5 Questions withPAT BOYLE!

BIO: One of the most popular sports broadcasters in Chicago, Boyle has been a centerpiece on Comcast SportsNet as primary co-anchor for SportsNite and host of U.S. Cellular Bears Post Game Live. In addition, Boyle hosts Pro Football Weekly and Countdown to Kickoff. In 2006, he won the Midwest Emmy award for Outstanding Achievement for Individual Excellence On-Camera: News-Sportscaster. He had been at ESPN since June 2000 anchoring SportsCenter and ESPN News' nightly half-hour show during primetime. Boyle has also been a studio host for NHL 2Night and ESPN's Wednesday Night Baseball. Prior to that, he was the weekend anchorreporter for Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia's edition of SportsNite, along with substitute hosting the network sports roundtable discussion show and reporting for the network's game coverage of the Philadelphia Flyers, Philadelphia 76ers and the postgame show for the Philadelphia Eagles. Boyle is a Michigan State graduate with a degree in telecommunications.

1) CSNChicago.com: Pat, as host of numerous Bears programs on Comcast SportsNet, Im sure youve had your own personal moments of sheer frustration this season like thousands of other fans in the city. The pre-season hype with the arrival of Jay Cutler, along with a 3-1 regular season start, had fans going crazy early on. Then the wheels fell off the bus. Should the fall of this team be placed on Lovie Smiths shoulders alone or should Cutler and the entire team be taking some of this blame as well?

Boyle: Its funny to think that back on April 2nd, when the Bears acquired Jay Cutler, I blogged that I felt like I was a kid at Christmas now that they finally have their franchise quarterback. Now, just a handful of days before Christmas, I feel like asking Jerry Angelo if he held on to the receipt and what the NFLs return policy is like. Seriously, I still think the deal for Cutler will turn out to be a good move, although it's getting hard to defend 25 interceptions and counting.

I think I just got caught up like most fans, believing Cutler was the final piece to the Bears Super Bowl puzzle. This team has a laundry list of issues to deal with this offseason. Lovie Smith and the coaching staff is a major part of the problem. I think you will see the team bring in a new offensive coordinator that will devise a game plan that best suits Jays game. That person must also not be afraid of getting into Jays face when he has mechanics or decision making problems. Jerry Angelo has his work cut out for him trying to find the right players to handle the safety position. He needs to also re-tool the offensive line and find a solid 2 running back that compliments Matt Forte. Lovie's job status took a huge step backwards, following their 4th loss of the year by 20 points, in Baltimore. I know the Bears owe him 11 million over the next two seasons, but there doesn't seem to be improvement from week to week, or season to season.

2) CSNChicago.com: Its been rumored that youve been to the Wrigley Field bleachers many, many times in your lifetime. Theres no doubt its one of the best experiences in all of sports. Tell us your favorite bleachers memory or a particular game in the bleachers that stands out to you most?

Boyle: It's hard to single out my favorite Wrigley bleacher moment. It truly speaks to the magic of the park when you can have fond memories, even when the team was struggling. The summer of 1997 seems to stick out in my mind, not because the Cubs were winning, rather I was between jobs and spent half of my unemployment checks at the Friendly Confines. That was the year I learned what the cup game was all about. A betting game that wagers on things like will the ball end up on the mound between innings and will Sammy do his sign to the right field bleachers? It was only fitting that the guy who had no job ended up losing most of the money. My favorite recent memory was sitting in the bleachers for the comeback against the Rockies in 2008. The Cubs trailed 9-1 in the 6th and rallied to win thanks to a Mark DeRosa game-winning homer. The place went absolutely nuts and I was happy I didn't leave when they were down by eight runs.

3) CSNChicago.com: The Tiger Woods sex scandal story will continue to have legs for quite a while, especially leading up to his big return to the PGA Tour. As a sports news journalist, does it make you cringe when you have to report on non-playing, personal stories such as this or is it just par for the course in your job (no pun intended)?

Boyle: It makes me cringe a bit. From our perspective on SportsNite, we stick to the facts like there was a car accident outside his Orlando home or report that Tiger admitted to "transgressions" on his web site. We don't get into 4 said this or 10 worked at Hooters, we leave that stuff to TMZ.com and Inside Edition."

4) CSNChicago.com: With Christmas Day almost upon us, whats the best present you ever received as a child?

Boyle: This is going to date myself, but long before X-Box and Wii, there were video game consoles called Atari and Intellivision. It was the early 80's, I was probably 11 or 12 and Santa brought me Intellivision. I would play the game so long that you could literally fry an egg on the console when I was done.

5) CSNChicago.com: Tell us one thing about your SportsNite partner Mark Schanowski that you most admire and the one thing that makes him kind of annoying? NOTE: the same question will be posed to Schanowski about you in next weeks 5 Questions with!

Boyle: I admire Mark's professionalism and his preparation each and every day. You don't have a career like his in Chicago unless you are good at what you do and well respected by others. It's been an amazing experience to work with him the last few years. As for the annoying part, I would have to say it's his last name. When you think of how many shows we do together each week and how many times I bang S-C-H-A-N-O-W-S-K-I into my keyboard, you can understand the carpal tunnel issues I have with my fingers. I may call him when I am 65 to complain, if I can pick up the phone.

Boyle LINKS:

Comcast SportsNetSportsNite page

Boyles Boyle-ing Point blog on CSNChicago.com

Follow Pat Boyle on Twitter

Under Center Podcast: Takeaways from Week 1 of OTAs

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USA TODAY

Under Center Podcast: Takeaways from Week 1 of OTAs

JJ Stankevitz and Cam Ellis dive into a few interesting developments from OTAs at Halas Hall on Wednesday, including Bradley Sowell’s position change (0:30) and Leonard Floyd’s upside (5:30). Plus, hear from Eddie Jackson and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix about how the ‘Bama safety pair came to be re-united in Chicago (12:30). 

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below:

Under Center Podcast

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Bears eye position changes in search for improved depth on offense

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USA Today

Bears eye position changes in search for improved depth on offense

The Bears will try to address one of their more glaring weaknesses — tight end depth — by giving longtime offensive tackle Bradley Sowell some work at tight end in the coming weeks of practice at Halas Hall. 

Sowell, a reliable backup swing tackle the last two seasons with the Bears, was targeted twice as a receiver in 2018 — first, on a nearly-intercepted Mitch Trubisky pass against the New England Patriots, and second on the famous “Santa’s Sleigh” touchdown against the Los Angeles Rams. He also got some work as a fullback in the Bears’ Week 17 thumping of the Minnesota Vikings. 

“We felt like at the ‘Y’ position we could use some more depth,” coach Matt Nagy said. “It’s something we talked about at the end of the season. We discussed it and now we’re giving him a chance.”

Nagy’s assessment of the Bears’ “Y” (in-line) depth is accurate, if not even undersold. The athletic 6-foot-7, 312 pound Sowell will have a chance to be a backup to Adam Shaheen, who has missed 13 games in his first two years due to a string of injuries. Reserve tight end Ben Braunecker can play both the “Y” and “U” positions, and the Bears have a handful of undrafted free agents (led by Utah State's Dax Raymond) competing to catch the eye of the coaching staff in the coming weeks. 

The Bears’ offense struggled with two tight ends on the field last year, especially in Shaheen’s absence as Dion Sims played himself out of the league. It’s far too early to tell if adding Sowell to the tight end mix will help, but at this point, the Bears think it’s worth a shot. 

“He’s shown it repetitively in practice that he has the athletic ability, the hands, he’s very smart, he knows how to block and all that stuff,” Nagy said. “So let’s test it out and see. When I tell you he’s all-in, he’s all-in.”

Center of Attention

As expected, the Bears indeed will flip James Daniels and Cody Whitehair on the offensive line, with Daniels sliding to center and Whitehair to left guard. 

“We feel comfortable with it, so again, this is the time to test it out and see,” Nagy said. “It’s hard right now because we don’t have pads. So, we’ll get into training camp and see how that goes. But I feel pretty good about it.”

Daniels exclusively played left guard during last year’s regular season, with the Bears opting to hold steady with Whitehair at center for the third consecutive season. Whitehair, though, was drafted as a guard back in 2016 and only moved to center after the last-minute signing of Pro Bowl guard Josh Sitton. Daniels, too, starred as a center at Iowa and did get a smattering of preseason snaps there before fully committing to playing guard his rookie year. 

The change is the only planned one on Harry Hiestand’s offensive line, which returns every primary starter from 2018 (Daniels, Whitehair, Charles Leno, Bobby Massie, Kyle Long). Perhaps the most significant change for this group, then, will be losing Sowell as its backup tackle. 

Windy City: Smoke Out?

Taquan Mizzell will work as a wide receiver during OTAs, with the now-former running back trading in No. 33 for No. 11 but facing an uphill battle to make the Bears’ roster. 

Mizzell does have a decent track record as a pass-catcher dating back to his college days at Virginia, but it’ll take a massive effort for the third-year player to crack into a crowded receiver room that already has a competitive battle brewing between Javon Wims, Marvin Hall and a group of undrafted free agents. 

While it’s too early to grant rookie running back Kerrith Whyte Jr. a roster spot, shifting Mizzell out of the picture does appear to create a clearer path for the seventh-round pick to stick with the Bears this fall.