Michael Allardyce

Cubs fans voice frustration, boo Tom Ricketts at Cubs Convention

Cubs fans voice frustration, boo Tom Ricketts at Cubs Convention

The Cubs hold a convention every year before Spring Training. Typically it's a fun affair with fans interacting with players, while convention halls brim with excitement for the upcoming season.

After missing the playoffs in 2019 and adding no notable players in the offseason, fans are beginning to get frustrated with the team as a championship roster's window is squandered away. Not to mention, persistent rumors that two of the Cubs stars - former MVP Kris Bryant and catcher Willson Contreras - are being shopped around on the trade market.

The Cubs opened their convention on Friday night with a speech from owner Tom Ricketts, and the fans took the opportunity to voice their frustrations with a chorus of boos.

To make matters worse, Ricketts then denied that those very audible boos existed during a radio interview on Saturday.

Fans can watch it back for themselves to verify whether or not there were boos.

So why are the fans booing Ricketts instead of Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer, or instead of the players who arguably performed during the 2019 season?

The Cubs lack of signings during the offseason is seen as a cost cutting measure to get the club under the luxury tax threshold and since it comes down to dollars and a willingness to spend, Ricketts is drawing the blame.

But one thing is for certain, Cubs fans aren't as optimistic and excited about the 2020 season as the team is.

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Chris Simms: Bears need to get a quarterback to push Mitchell Trubisky

Chris Simms: Bears need to get a quarterback to push Mitchell Trubisky

If last offseason was all about finding the kicker to shore up the Bears' chances at a Super Bowl run, this offseason will be all about the quarterback.

Not only has Mitchell Trubisky not definitively established himself as the unquestioned starter in the eyes of Bears fans, they'll need to add another quarterback with backup Chase Daniel heading to free agency.

With the Bears already announcing Trubisky is the starter heading into the 2020 season, and limited cap space to bring in a top name, what would the team look for on the free agent market?

"I would be shocked if the Bears don’t bring in a real viable backup quarterback, maybe somebody that’s a veteran that has played before," Chris Simms told NBC Sports Chicago. "And if Mitch Trubisky doesn’t play well in the month of September, where they can go okay, we gotta pull the string here, Trubisky is not looking good. Let’s go with our backup."

It worked for the Tennessee Titans, replacing Marcus Mariota with Ryan Tannehill. When the Titans made the swap, the team turned around and eliminated the Patriots in the Wild Card round in New England.

There are intriguing names on the market, including Mariota.

"Maybe it’s a guy like Andy Dalton. Somebody like that, along those terms. A guy who’s been a starter, who might want to go to a new team and know, I can go to this team and if I do get a chance to become a starter I have a chance to be successful," Simms said. "I think that would be the plan of attack that I would have if I was the Bears.

"Find that guy, not only to push Mitchell Trubisky to make him compete and get better at things, but the in-case Plan B, emergency we got to hit the alarm, Mitchell Trubisky is not looking good… we can put this guy in and our offense can execute at a high level.”

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Answer to Bears' offensive struggles hidden in plain sight on Vikings' sideline

Answer to Bears' offensive struggles hidden in plain sight on Vikings' sideline

The Bears thought they were a kicker away from going to the Super Bowl entering the 2019 season. But even before the ball drops on 2020, the season that started with so much promise is over.

The biggest question of the post mortem is how Matt Nagy's 202 offense could average just 17.3 points per game. Former Bears offensive lineman Olin Kreutz has a simple answer to that question.

"Mitch Trubisky doesn’t fit in the scheme,” he said on NBC Sports Chicago's Football Aftershow following the Bears' season finale.

The tougher question may be how to fix that. But the blueprint may have been staring at the Bears on Sunday, right across the field in purple and gold.

In 2018, the Vikings finished the season 7-8-1 and missed the playoffs. 

"What does Mike Zimmer, the head coach, do?" Kreutz rhetorically asked the postgame show panel. "He brings in Gary Kubiak. He brings in Rick Dennison, the offensive line coach. He brings in [Brian] Pariani, the tight end coach. And they install this zone boot system which basically hides a quarterback who can’t process the information."

In 2019, the Vikings bounced back with a 10-6 season and a playoff berth.

"Head coach Matt Nagy, will he fire his system?” Kreutz asked.

That's the biggest question heading into the Bears' offseason.

"Quarterbacks just don’t grow on trees. Good quarterbacks don’t," former Bears running back Matt Forte said on Football Aftershow. "Kirk [Cousins] isn’t leaps and bounds ahead of Mitch. They changed the philosophy. The best thing to add to a quarterback is a good running game, and that’s what Dalvin Cook did this year for them. 

"And look, they’re going to the playoffs.”

In his third NFL season, Cook ran for more than 1,000 yards for the first time. He also caught 53 passes and scored 13 touchdowns. Could David Montgomery do that in his second season with the Bears?

Because general manager Ryan Pace has aggressively traded future draft picks (for Khalil Mack and to move up for Trubisky), the opportunities to improve the roster are limited. For the second year in a row, the Bears won't have a first-round draft pick. And cap space is projected to be tight, ruling out big splashes in free agency.

"Because you’ve traded picks away, you have to figure out how you can win now," Kreutz said. "And the way you win now is with that defense. Eventually you have to change the [offensive] scheme you’re running."

If the Bears get healthy on defense this offseason, they won't need much out of their offense to contend in 2020. They'll simply need a competent offense to win.

"It seems like the Bears are repeating history: You have a good defense, your offense isn’t so good and the one thing you need from your offense is manage games," former Bears linebacker Lance Briggs said. "Don’t give the ball up and eat up time to keep your defense off the field. We’re seeing a Bears team who has the opportunity to do that. 

"Every time you don’t hand that ball off when you’ve shown you can run the ball, to me you’re taking a ring opportunity away from your team."

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