Preps Talk

Bears' first-down woes an alarming trend


Bears' first-down woes an alarming trend

The Bears' 5.1-yard average gain per play was ranked 28th in the NFL going into the Tennessee game. They finished a little above their average at 5.5 per play, but going into the game, the Bears were ranked dead last in first down productivity. Its called staying on schedule and its where the Bears' desperately need improvement before they face two much better defenses in Houston and San Francisco.

Lets see how they fared on first down against Tennessee:

The Bears ran 32 total plays on first down for a total of 165 total yards, which averages out to their season average of 5.16 yards per play.

Of the 32 plays the Bears lost yardage on four, two of which were costly penalties, such as tight end Kellen Davis holding call to start the game on first down, which put the Bears in an early hole on four drives.

Another was a Jay Cutler fumble. This play is worth a mention when looking at how the Bears thrive off defensive turnovers for scores. This fumble could have easily gone for six if Tennessee defensive end Kameron Wimbley doesnt bobble a pitch from teammate Zach Brown.

Three plays went for only a one-yard gain and one play for only two yards, and then on nine other first down plays, the Bears had no gain. To defend the offense, one of these no gainers was a Jason Campbell kneel down to end the game.

So for the sake of reasoning, take out the kneel down by Campbell. The Bears still failed on 17 of 31 first down plays, even without the kneel down. Failing on over 50 percent of your first down plays is not going to cut the mustard against top five defenses like No. 3 Houston or No. 2 San Francisco. When they put you in a hole, they make you pay and that's why the Bears must strive to be more productive. It will minimize feared pass rushers on second and third down if the Bears give themselves more manageable situations by being more productive on first down.

96 Days to Kickoff: Jacobs

96 Days to Kickoff: Jacobs preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O'Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles will focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Starting July 30, we'll unveil the @NBCSPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 24.

School: Jacobs

Head coach: Bill Mitz

Assistant coaches: Bubba Smith, Mike Warren, Brian Zimmerman, JM Foote, Ryan Arndt and Bob Mackey

How they fared in 2017: 6-4 (5-3 Fox Valley Conference). Jacobs made the Class 7A playoff field. The Golden Eagles lost to Lincoln-Way West in opening round action. 

2018 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 24 Hampshire 

Aug. 31 @ Huntley 

Sept. 7 Dundee-Crown 

Sept. 14 @ McHenry 

Sept. 21 Neuqua Valley 

Sept. 28 Prairie Ridge 

Oct. 5 @ Cary-Grove 

Oct. 12 Crystal Lake South 

Oct. 19 @ Crystal Lake Central

Biggest storyline: Can the Golden Eagles move up in the Fox Valley Conference pecking order in 2018?

Names to watch this season: OT Joacheim Price and OL Nick Zonta

Biggest holes to fill: The Golden Eagles will need to replace its entire starting linebacker group from a season ago.

EDGY's Early Take: Year in and year out, Jacobs is always a factor in the rugged Fox Valley Conference (seven playoff appearances in the last eight years). The Golden Eagles return some starters in several key spots. If the underclassmen group can step up this summer, look for Jacobs to challenge for the FVC conference title and a higher seed in 7A come IHSA playoff time. 

Carlos Rodon's first rehab start went well, White Sox set date for next one


Carlos Rodon's first rehab start went well, White Sox set date for next one

Carlos Rodon's return to the South Side is coming soon.

The top-five draft pick recovering from last fall's shoulder surgery made his first rehab start Saturday with Class A Kannapolis and threw well. Rodon allowed just one run on three hits in his five innings of work, striking out six and walking none.

The White Sox announced Sunday that Rodon's second rehab start will come Thursday with Triple-A Charlotte.

As for the exact date Rodon returns to the big league roster, it's unknown at this point. General manager Rick Hahn said that Rodon will make multiple rehab starts. One might look to the pitcher's recovery from a spring injury last year as a guide. Rodon made four rehab starts in June before debuting with the White Sox on June 28.

This recovery is different, of course. Rodon is eligible to come off the 60-day disabled list on May 28.