Cubs

CSN & CSNChicago.com to provide extensive, week-long coverage of the 2015 NFL Draft

CSN & CSNChicago.com to provide extensive, week-long coverage of the 2015 NFL Draft

Draft coverage begins with the “SportsNet Central: AT&T Road to the Draft” preview show, airing this Sunday, April 26 at 10:30 PM CT!

Chicago, IL (April 24, 2015) – Comcast SportsNet, the television and online home for the most in-depth Chicago Bears coverage all year long, is ready to deliver extensive coverage of next week’s 2015 NFL Draft (to be held in Chicago for the first time since 1964), highlighted by a pair of half-hour SportsNet Central NFL Draft specials, nightly reports on SportsNet Central, extensive Round 1 draft night coverage (including a remote edition of SportsTalk Live from Tavern at the Park in downtown Chicago & a 90-minute Bears Draft Special to air on CSN+), along with 24/7 NFL Draft coverage on CSNChicago.com.  Please note Comcast SportsNet and CSNChicago.com’s 2015 NFL Draft coverage schedule beginning this Sunday, April 26:

SUNDAY, APRIL 26

10:30 PM – SportsNet Central: AT&T U-verse Road to the DraftThis half-hour NFL Draft preview show, hosted by Chris Boden (@CSNBoden), along with Bears Pre/Postgame Live analyst Jim Miller (@15miller) and SportsNet Central NFL expert Dave Wannstedt, will provide a detailed recap of the Bears off-season, which included the hiring of new Bears GM Ryan Pace and new Head Coach John Fox, interviews with Bears players/coaches/front office execs, along Miller and Wannstedt providing their expert thoughts on which areas the team needs to improve upon and which potentially available players can fill those spots with on-field success.

MONDAY, APRIL 27 – WEDNESDAY, APRIL 29

10:30 PM – GMC SportsNet Central Chris Boden, Jim Miller, and Dave Wannstedt will continue to provide nightly reports on the latest NFL Draft news and rumors leading up to Round 1 of the NFL Draft on Thursday.

THURSDAY, APRIL 30 – NFL DRAFT DAY COVERAGE presented by MILLER LITE

5:30 PM – SportsTalk Live presented by The Chevy Silverado – Host David Kaplan (@thekapman) and a panel of Bears/NFL experts will set the table for a full night of comprehensive NFL Draft coverage with a special remote edition of SportsTalk Live to be held at Tavern in the Park in downtown Chicago’s Millennium Park.

6:30 PM – SportsNet Central presented by Comcast Business – Kip Lewis (@csnkiplewis), along with Dave Wannstedt and former Bears director of college scouting/current National Football Post columnist Greg Gabriel (@greggabe), will provide the latest draft updates, player analysis, and preview all Bears potential first round (#7 overall) candidates.  In addition, SportsNet Central’s Bears beat reporter Jen Lada (@JenLada) will provide live updates from the Draft (being held at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University), along with additional reports from Halas Hall via Chris Boden and CSNChicago.com’s Bears “Insider” John ‘Moon’ Mullin (@CSNMoonMullin).

7:30 PM – BEARS DRAFT CENTRAL brought to you by Miller Lite  (NOTE: This Chicago Bears-produced special will air on CSN+; viewers are urged to visit CSNChicago.com’s CHANNEL FINDER  for the exact CSN+ channel location in their area) (TO ALSO BE STREAMED LIVE ON CSNChicago.com and ChicagoBears.com) – Chris Boden, along with “Bears Pre/Postgame Live” analyst Dan Jiggetts and ChicagoBears.com’s Larry Mayer, will host a 90-minute, comprehensive Bears/NFL Draft night special LIVE FROM HALAS HALL featuring detailed pick-by-pick analysis, live press conference coverage featuring Bears GM Ryan Pace and Head Coach John Fox, a live interview with the Bears #1 pick from the Bears Draft Party in Millennium Park, and much more.

10:30 PM – GMC SportsNet CentralComplete Round 1 NFL Draft recap featuring up-to-the-minute player and team news, interviews, and analysis via Kip Lewis, Dave Wannstedt, Greg Gabriel, Jen Lada, Chris Boden and John ‘Moon’ Mullin, along with a look ahead at the potential Bears picks on Friday (Rounds 2-3) and Saturday (Rounds 4-7).

FRIDAY, MAY 1 – SATURDAY, MAY 2

10:30 PM – GMC SportsNet Central Complete coverage of Rounds 2-7 over the weekend featuring detailed analysis of every Bears draft pick, along player highlights, interviews, and more.

SUNDAY, MAY 3

10:30 PM – SportsNet Central: Draft Special Chris Boden, along with Bears Pre/Postgame Live analyst Jim Miller and SportsNet Central NFL expert Dave Wannstedt, will assess the entire draft from both a Bears and overall league perspective.  The show will also feature interviews with Bears management with their reflections on the draft. 

In addition to the extensive coverage on Comcast SportsNet, viewers are urged to visit CSNChicago.com for even more comprehensive 24/7 NFL Draft coverage (presented by AT&T U-verse), including the following highlights:

  • For a deeper look at potential NFL draftees, fans need to check out CSNChicago.com’s comprehensive "Road to the Draft"  section (presented by AT&T U-verse), featuring over 200 extensive player draft profiles, including video analysis for players projected to go in the first two rounds provided by NBC Sports and Rotoworld NFL Draft analyst Josh Norris. 
  • In addition, CSNChicago.com’s “Road to the Draft” section will be the home for everything NFL Draft-related throughout the week, including instant reaction and analysis during the draft with updated profiles, an up-close look on how the draft affects the Bears rivals in the NFC North, along with a detailed draft overview of the entire NFL.
  • Bears “Insider” John ‘Moon’ Mullin (@CSNMoonMullin) will file daily reports leading up to and throughout the 2015 NFL Draft from Halas Hall, featuring the latest news and on-camera reports.  Plus, CSNChicago.com Bears digital reporter Scott Krinch (@scottiekrinch) will be covering the Draft from Roosevelt University and will provide a number of “digital exclusives,” including coverage of the “NFL Draft Gold Carpet” event on Thursday night.
  • Fans can chat NFL Draft and potential Bears moves by utilizing the Twitter hashtag #BearsTalk and by visiting the “Bears Pulse” page at CSNChicago.com.  For 24/7 Bears/NFL Draft updates on Twitter, fans are urged to follow @CSNBears.
  • CSNChicago.com will profile numerous mock drafts from a number of CSN anchors and reporters.
  • CSNChicago.com will work closely with NBC Sports and “Pro Football Talk” throughout the week for additional nationally-based NFL Draft content.

What makes David Bote so good in the clutch?

What makes David Bote so good in the clutch?

Wherever David Bote's career takes him, he'll always carry the label as a "clutch player." 

When you become the only person in baseball history to hit a walk-off grand slam with two outs, two strikes and your team down 3 runs, that kind of reputation will absolutely follow you around.

But how about the fact Bote is already second among Cubs players with 4 walk-off RBI despite playing just 46 home games in his career? (Anthony Rizzo is first with 7 walk-off RBI in his career.)

That's more than Ben Zobrist and Daniel Descalso, who have each notched more than 10 years and 1,000 games in the big leagues.

Even beyond walk-offs, Bote also has a game-tying 2-run shot in the bottom of the ninth inning on his resume from a July 26 game against the Diamondbacks last season. 

In total, Bote is hitting .370/.433/.815 (1.248 OPS) with 3 of his 7 career homers in the ninth inning or later. 

Here's where he ranks in leverage situations over his 93 big-league games:

High leverage — .280/.302/.660 (.962 OPS), 4 HR
Medium/low leverage — .242/.340/.348 (.688 OPS), 3 HR

Those are all just fancy numbers, but what's it all mean? When the lights are the brightest, Bote is at his best. 

"You can't teach that," Anthony Rizzo said. "He's had a lot of situations like that and he's come through. It's fun to watch."

So how does Bote do it? What makes him so clutch?

He has a specific approach and he practices those types of situations — and not just in the way where kids go out in their backyards and pretend they're up with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth inning.

"It's the mental side of calming yourself, making sure you look for what you want to do — even throughout the whole game," Bote said. "In the offseason and the cage, my last swing of the day is always the game-winning type — OK, it's bases loaded, two outs, we're down 1, I need a base hit. Or we're down 3 or whatever the situation is, I play it out and I just have that practice."

The mental aspect of the game is a huge reason why Bote became such a big story last year, persevering through a long journey in the minor leagues. 

But it's also about opportunity and there's certainly a sense of luck involved.

Sunday, for example, Javy Baez led off the bottom of the ninth inning by motoring into third base, which put Willson Contreras up for a possible walk-off situation. But Arizona's Archie Bradley hit the Cubs catcher with a pitch, bringing Bote up with a chance to end the game. 

"Definitely opportunistic," Bote admitted. "You only have a chance to do it if you're in a position to do it. ... It's a team effort — those guys set the table and I just happened to be the one on Sunday that came through. 

"[Albert] Almora is another guy who gets that opportunity a lot. I think that's the team mindset we have — getting to the next guy. If I didn't do it, I know [Ben Zobrist] would've done it. I think that's the mindset of it all and you hope the first guy that gets a crack at it gets it done."

Bote's clutch hit Sunday allowed the Cubs to avoid extra innings and gave him the opportunity to make his flight back home to Colorado for the birth of his third child, Sullivan. 

Bote was on paternity leave from the team Monday and Tuesday and had some time to reflect on what's already been an emotional week. 

Sunday also marked the one-year anniversary of his MLB debut.

"It was a year ago and it felt like forever ago, just with all that's happened," Bote said. "And I think it's a good thing. Just enjoying every day — the longer it seems, the better. I'm more focused on just worrying about today."

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Cubs easily on your device.

Finding the 'It Factor' – Teams pondering draft mega-deals need to study Bears’ hits, misses trading No. 1’s

trubisky.jpg
USA TODAY

Finding the 'It Factor' – Teams pondering draft mega-deals need to study Bears’ hits, misses trading No. 1’s

At some point of Thursday’s first night of the draft, history says that some team will push a big pile of draft chips over in front of another team at the NFL table in return for the latter’s pick. Some of those will work out; others will be considerably less than successful.

Just ask the Bears. Ask them why some of those mega-deals work and others don’t.

Last year it was Arizona trading up from No. 15 to Oakland’s spot at No. 10, taking quarterback Josh Rosen. The deal netted little, unless you believe that the NFL’s worst record and this year’s No. 1-overall pick count for something.

In 2017 it was the Bears going all-in for a one-spot move and Mitchell Trubisky. The Bears at least cashed one playoff check. Kansas City traded two No. 1’s and a 3 to move from 27 to 10 for Patrick Mahomes. Two slots later Houston traded two No. 1’s to move from No. 25 to 12 for Deshaun Watson.

The Bears, Chiefs and Texans all cashed playoff checks last offseason.

In 2016 the Rams traded up from 15 to No. 1 overall for Jared Goff. Philadelphia jumped from No. 8 to No. 2 for Carson Wentz. Both teams were in the 2017 and 2018 postseason, the Rams in the last Super Bowl.

In the might’ve-been category, Bears general manager Ryan Pace pondered a move from No. 7 to No. 2 in 2015 in a quest for Marcus Mariota but judged the price too steep.

The Cardinals’ Rosen gamble and the Bears’ for Trubisky – plus three other Bears mega-deals – offer case studies on the do’s and don’t’s of blockbuster trades involving top draft picks.

Three times in the past decade, and once 10-plus years before that, the Bears rocked the NFL with franchise-altering trades for what they hoped would be franchise-defining talents. Twice they appear to have gotten what they bargained for; twice, not so much, for intriguingly similar reasons.

These deals form a collective object lesson for teams (Oakland? Arizona?) contemplating the kinds of trades this week that the Bears made that brought them Jay Cutler, Khalil Mack, Rick Mirer and Mitchell Trubisky. Only the Bears-49ers deal that secured Trubisky represented a specifically draft-weekend trade; Cutler happened 10 years ago, ahead of the 2009 draft, Mirer was moved in February 1997 for a Bears No. 1 and Mack was a late-preseason deal.

But the four together serve as a collective trail of breadcrumbs regarding what is typically the difference between those kinds of blockbusters working out vs. blowing up on the acquiring team, in those cases the Bears, this draft, someone else.

Finding “It”

The critical element is, pure and simple, football character. It’s not talent. It’s the “It Factor.”

“The competitiveness, a guy playing with, we call it ‘dog’ or energy or swagger, those kinds of things,” Pace said. “There's more specific things I don't want to get to, but I would just say you can feel a guy's football character on tape and we're really strong on that.”

Mack and Trubisky have that essential football character, the “It Factor;” Cutler and Mirer didn’t. And the results reflected it.

The Cleveland Browns snagged “undersized” quarterback but leadership-heavy Baker Mayfield and improved by seven wins last season and by four prime-time games going into this one. Irrespective of any trade situations here, the Browns, like the Bears, can vouch for what happens without “It” – Johnny Manziel, Brandon Weeden, Brady Quinn.

Cutler, Mirer: leadership-lite

If there is a jolting difference that sticks out, it is that Pace very clearly has made football character a priority (Mike Glennon notwithstanding). Others haven’t.

Those inside Halas Hall at the time recall the personnel staff asking for evaluations of Cutler by the coaching staff. Those were done and included prescient, serious reservations about Cutler’s leadership and personality.

Those were disregarded by the dealmakers as not significant. They were. Cutler's Chicago teammates said all the right things about him, even as he was shoving one offensive lineman coming off the field, told another to shut up and play his own position at another point and was telling one position coach, on the practice field, to back off his fundamentals.

Cutler took a Lovie Smith team that reached the 2005 postseason behind Kyle Orton and the 2006 Super Bowl with Rex Grossman, and missed the playoffs four of his five Smith years, then in both of his Marc Trestman years and both of his John Fox years. Grossman and Orton were a combined 40-24 in Chicago. Cutler was 51-51.

Cutler simply wasn’t worth what the Bears gave up for him. It seemed obvious at the time (certain commentators who will remain nameless here were roasted for saying so at the time) and it proved out. He was in Chicago exactly what he’d been in Denver. He was the same middling quarterback with suspect “weapons” as he was with Pro Bowl’ers Martellus Bennett, Matt Forte, Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall, behind an offensive line that included Jermon Bushrod and Kyle Long, both Pro Bowl players.

Mirer was a disaster after the Bears chose to ignore his dismal four years with the Seattle Seahawks and give away. Mirer seemed perceptibly overmatched by the game when he was given three starts in ’97, all losses. He had no confidence and, worse, inspired none.

On the other hand, Mack and Trubisky… 

A rookie Trubisky told veteran Pro Bowl guard Josh Sitton to shut up in a 2017 huddle (no one is supposed to talk in there except the quarterback), which Sitton respected and recounted. Not the same thing as embarrassing or disrespecting. Head coach Matt Nagy on more than one occasion last season made mention of Trubisky’s reactions to adversity and mistakes.

Football character. There is something to be said about a rookie quarterback who earns a complimentary nickname – “Pretty Boy Assassin" – from the defense for what he was doing to them running scout team. The defense’s nickname for Cutler doesn’t clear NBC censorship standards.

Mack brought with him from Oakland not only sacks, but also a mindset that took root in and resonated with an already-strong defensive unit.

“When you bring a guy like Khalil in,” Pace said, “I think the longer you’re around him, it’s not just the player, it’s his work ethic and it’s his professionalism and it’s everything he is as a person. And to have your best player be absolutely one of your harder workers is a great thing to have as a franchise.”

Football character.

The unfortunate reality is that character is harder to assess than talent. But as a handful of Bears transactions involving all-important high-round draft choices (and quarterbacks) have repeatedly demonstrated, arm strength, size, 40-times, all that stuff, don’t make up for a missing “It” factor if that targeted player doesn’t have “It.”

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of the Bears.