White Sox

Bears face 'Cutler Time' vs. Packers

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Bears face 'Cutler Time' vs. Packers

In the wake of the Bears loss to the Minnesota Vikings, coach Lovie Smith indirectly explained the biggest single reason why the Green Bay Packers have dominated his Bears since Aaron Rodgers succeeded Brett Favre.

Their defense out-performed our defense yesterday, Smith said last Monday.

He wasnt talking about the Packers. And defenses dont face defenses, obviously.

But the simplest reason why the Packers have been better than the Bears for the past several years is that their quarterback out-performs the Bears quarterback.

The Packers have survived and even flourished this year and in 2010 despite an avalanche of injuries. The reason has been that Rodgers has established himself in the echelon of quarterbacks like Favre, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and other elites who are not only great in their own right, but makes others around them better.

Jay Cutler does not. The opposite; he makes himself worse in games against his organizations foremost opponent.

In the six and a half games Cutler has played against Green Bay (he was out for the second half of the NFC Championship game and all of game 15 last season), the Bears have scored a total of seven touchdowns.

Cutler has never had a game against the Packers in which he has not thrown at least one interception. Counting the 2010 NFC title game, he has thrown 17 interceptions vs. eight touchdown passes.

His regular-season passer rating against the Packers is 60.5. Rodgers isnot.

Indeed, Rodgers posted a 99.8 rating in the teams first 2012 game despite taking five sacks. Cutlers rating, with seven sacks and four interceptions, was 28.2. That was his lowest against the Packers and carries more concerning significance because he at last had the precise No. 1 receiver he wanted. And Green Bay cornerback Tramon Williams caught exactly as many of Cutlers passes (two) as that No. 1 receiver, Brandon Marshall did.

We missed some opportunities with Brandon last time; I think hed be the first to tell you that, Cutler said. But theyre going to do a good job of taking him away so for us to be successful down the road, were going to have to have other guys make plays for us.

That first other guy needs to be Cutler. Because against Rodgers and the Packers, he rarely has been:

YrGm Cutler Rodgers

09, 1 43.2 92.0
2 74.9 88.9

10, 1 82.5 92.5
2 43.5 89.7
NFC Ch. 31.8 55.4

11, 1 78.9 111.4
2 (out) 142.7

12, 1 28.2 99.8

Passer rating is not the sole measure of a quarterback and a criticism is that its formula is structured in a way that weights interceptions disproportionately. But in a game so often determined by turnovers, it is perhaps an apt standard to use in comparing Bears-Packers quarterbacks.

I often find myself quoting a great teacher of mine, Chuck Knox, said offensive coordinator Mike Tice. And he used to say all the time constantly, you have to make the plays youre afforded the opportunity to make.

Sometime on Sunday, maybe on the first or second possession to answer a Green Bay score, maybe in the fourth quarter to help save a season, Cutler will have to make the plays he too often hasnt.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: What should be the plan to call up the White Sox prospects?

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: What should be the plan to call up the White Sox prospects?

SportsTalk Live is on location for White Sox Authentic Fan Night. Phil Rogers (MLB Network), Mark Carman (WGN Radio), David DeJesus and Ozzie Guillen join Kap to talk about Manny Machado Mania, Anthony Rizzo’s struggles and the White Sox plans for calling up their best prospects. 

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

White Sox add Alex Presley at Triple-A, another veteran outfielder who could factor into 2018 plans for banged-up outfield

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USA TODAY

White Sox add Alex Presley at Triple-A, another veteran outfielder who could factor into 2018 plans for banged-up outfield

Not long after the White Sox brought Michael Saunders into the organization, another outfielder with major league experience is joining Triple-A Charlotte.

Alex Presley — a 32-year-old who played 71 games last season for the Detroit Tigers and has also spent time with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Minnesota Twins, Houston Astros and Milwaukee Brewers — is the latest addition to the Knights’ outfield. He’s a guy who could potentially be used to help the White Sox outfield, which has seen two Opening Day players go on the disabled list for extended periods of time.

Avisail Garcia is in his fifth week on the DL while dealing with a Grade 2 hamstring strain. Nicky Delmonico is expected to miss the next four to six weeks while recovering from a broken bone in his hand. The White Sox might feel that the collection of Adam Engel, Trayce Thompson, Leury Garcia and Daniel Palka might be enough to get them through those injuries. But the results have not been great from that group. Engel and Thompson are both hitting under .200, while Leury Garcia and Palka have on-base percentages just above .300.

Presley, like Saunders, could be an option for a midseason promotion should he hit well in the minors. He hit .314 with a .354 on-base percentage in those 71 games with the Tigers last season. This year, he was playing in the Baltimore Orioles’ organization, where he hit .275 with a .347 on-base percentage in 26 games.

It’s possible we won’t see either veteran outfielder on the South Side this season (though having Presley here for Elvis Night would be pretty excellent), but it gives the White Sox options should the lack of production from their current crop of outfielders and the injuries to Avisail Garcia and Delmonico keep them out longer.

It’s also quite possible that none of the names mentioned to this point will have a role to play in this team’s long-term future, not an outlandish thought considering Eloy Jimenez, Luis Robert, Micker Adolfo, Blake Rutherford and Luis Alexander Basabe are all still developing in the minor leagues.