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Bears may have lost game, but Cutler the concern

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Bears may have lost game, but Cutler the concern

It was halftime when Bears quarterback Jay Cutler approached backup Jason Campbell.

Jay told me, Hey, get ready. Im not sure now of the status of my injury. Just get ready to go out and play the second half, Campbell recalled. From that point on, the coaches came out and said, Youre in. Lets roll.

Cutler suffered a concussion in the Bears 13-6 loss to the Houston Texans on Sunday night, and its uncertain what his status is entering next Mondays game against the San Francisco 49ers. It was a tough blow for the Bears, who couldnt overcome another stale offensive evening on a sloppy night at Soldier Field.

But it was a tougher blow for Cutler, who took a vicious helmet-to-helmet hit from Texans middle linebacker Tim Dobbins near the end of the first half. Cutler was down for a few moments before popping back up. He finished the first half before telling Campbell at halftime that the backup better be prepared.

Dobbins saw the hit differently.

I did not hit him in his head and actually he ran into me. I just felt like he was going to take off and run with the ball and I thought he was past the line, Dobbins said. I was very surprised when he went down to the ground but I hope hes all right. He is definitely a tough quarterback.

Coach Lovie Smith was hopeful that Cutler could return next week, but you cant go that far. We just know he had symptoms, which started clearing up after the half. When a guy doesnt finish the game, youve just got to go with that right now.

Asked if he could tell Cutler had a concussion, Campbell said no, not right off the bat.

You know, Jays a tough guy. I think he tried to keep fighting and fighting through it, Campbell continued. Unfortunately he wasnt able to keep it going. You just try to make the right decision and do the right thing at this point in the season.

Yes, it is about doing the right thing. Ironically, Cutlers concussion comes on the night the Bears and U.S. Army co-hosted a pregame forum to discuss concussionstraumatic brain injury. The Bears also lost defensive end Shea McClellin to a concussion early in Sundays game.

And it was a tough weekend for other quarterbacks as well. Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick sustained a concussion, as did Alex Smith of the 49ers -- the Bears next opponent.

But the Bears concern is obviously for Cutler. Hes sustained his share of nasty hits and has certainly proven to be one of the toughest players in the league. Still, the hits -- and head injuries -- start to add up. This is Cutlers second concussion, the last coming on Oct. 3, 2010, against the New York Giants when Cutler was sacked nine times in the first half. At one point in that game, Cutler wobbled toward the wrong sideline.

Hes a tough guy and obviously we want him on the field, Bears center Roberto Garza said. Nobody can question his toughness. We look to have him back soon.

But if Cutler cant return next week, the Bears are confident in what Campbell can do.

Thats why we got Jason. Were better off now than we were last year at this time, Brian Urlacher said. Hopefully hell be back soon. But Jason did a good job. Its a tough situation throwing the ball in those conditions. It cant be easy. I thought he came in and did a good job for us.

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Reacting to Round 1 of NHL Draft

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USA TODAY

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Reacting to Round 1 of NHL Draft

On the latest Hawks Talk Podcast, Pat Boyle and Charlie Roumeliotis recap Round 1 of the 2018 NHL Draft.

They discuss the pair of puck-carrying defensemen that the Blackhawks selected on Friday, Adam Boqvist and Nicolas Beaudin. When can we expect to see these first-round picks play in the NHL?

Boyle also goes 1-on-1 with Boqvist and Beaudin. The guys spoke with Stan Bowman and Joel Quenneville on Friday.

The guys also share their biggest takeaways from those interviews, which includes your daily Corey Crawford update and Quenneville appeared excited that the team has plenty of cap space to spend in free agency.

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

It's only one start, but that's the Lucas Giolito that White Sox fans expected to see this season

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USA TODAY

It's only one start, but that's the Lucas Giolito that White Sox fans expected to see this season

The preseason expectations and the results have been drastically different for Lucas Giolito.

Expected to be the best pitcher on the White Sox starting staff, Giolito hasn’t come too close to that title, instead heading into Friday’s doubleheader with the most earned runs allowed of any pitcher in baseball. His walk total has been among the highest in the game all year long, too. And the calls from social media to send him down to Triple-A haven’t been at all infrequent.

But Friday, White Sox fans got a glimpse at what they expected, a look at the guy who earned so much hype with a strong September last season and a dominant spring training.

It wasn’t a performance that would make any reasonable baseball person’s jaw drop. But it was the best Giolito has looked this season. He still allowed four runs on seven hits — as mentioned, not a Cy Young type outing — but he struck out a season-high eight batters. Prior to giving up the back-to-back singles to start the eighth inning that brought an end to his evening, he’d surrendered just two runs.

Most importantly he walked just two guys and didn’t seem to struggle with his command at all. That’s a big deal for a pitcher who had 45 walks to his name prior to Friday.

“You know it was a tough eighth inning, but throughout the whole game, I felt in sync,” Giolito said. “(Catcher Omar Narvaez) and I were working really well, finally commanding the fastball the way I should. Definitely the best I felt out there this year, for sure. Velocity was up a tick. Just felt right, felt in sync. Just competed from there.”

Confidence has never left Giolito throughout the poor results, and he’s talked after every start about getting back on the horse and giving it another try. Consistently working in between starts, things finally seemed to click Friday night.

“It all worked today,” manager Rick Renteria said. “(Pitching coach Don Cooper) says that every bullpen has gotten better, from the beginning to this point. He sees progress. The velocity that he showed today was something that Coop was seeing in his work. You can see that his delivery is continuing to improve. He was trusting himself, really attacking the strike zone, trusted his breaking ball today when he need to and just tried to command as much as he could. Did a nice job.”

Giolito went through this kind of thing last year, when he started off poorly at Triple-A Charlotte with a 5.40 ERA through his first 16 starts. But then things got better, with Giolito posting a 2.78 ERA over his final eight starts with the Knights before getting called up to the big leagues.

This was just one start, of course, but perhaps he can follow a similar formula this year, too, going from a rough beginning to figuring things out.

“I’m not trying to tinker or think about mechanics anymore,” he said. “It’s about flow, getting out there and making pitches. We were able to do that for the most part.

“I’ll watch video and see certain things, and I have little cues here and there. But I’m not going to go and overanalyze things and nitpick at certain stuff anymore. It’s about going there and having fun and competing.”

Maybe that’s the secret. Or maybe this is simply a brief flash of brilliance in the middle of a tough first full season in the bigs.

Whatever it was, it was the best we’ve seen of Giolito during the 2018 campaign. And it was far more like what was expected back before that campaign got going.