Bulls

Cutler's OL comments blown out of proportion

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Cutler's OL comments blown out of proportion

The media has covered everything about Jay Cutler. Unfortunately, most of it has no bearing on football. Everything from Cutlers love life, demeanor on the field and toughness have been questioned. Recently, Cutler's comments concerning his offensive line have been making headlines.

One of the golden rules in NFL circles or any sports team is that you never throw your teammates under the bus. It holds true on and off the field of play. But when one actually listens to Cutlers comments, he said nothing malicious toward his offensive linemen. Cutler stated nothing different from the message his offensive coordinator, Mike Tice, has stated publicly.

When it comes to quarterbacks around the NFL, it is almost maddening how Tom Brady, Drew Brees, and Peyton Manning are given a pass when others like Tony Romo and Cutler are excoriated. Brady got a little taste after the Patriots Super Bowl loss to the Giants this past February. Remember, Bradys supermodel wife Gisele Bundchen, complained with colorful metaphors about her husband's receivers dropping the ball.

I have no idea what goes on in the modeling world, but we'll give Gisele the benefit of the doubt feeling confident the Victoria Secret Angels work as a terrific team as each model parades down the runway individually. I would also love to be a fly on the wall in the dressing room enjoying the visuals and listening to the cattiness during a show, but Im digressing.

I think anyone can deduce Giseles statements are more a reflection of her not understanding team sports than Brady, who knows the dynamics of team competing on them his whole life.

Its why Ross Tucker and I caught up with Casey Wiegmann on SiriusXM NFL Radio last week. Wiegmann was Jay Cutlers starting center when the two played together for the Denver Broncos in 2008.

Wiegmann stated, Sometimes things need to be said for people to get pushed a little bit harder. He is who he is...Jay is a leader...I know what hes about.

Wiegmann also came to the defense of his fraternity OL brethren of the Bears.

In 2008 we had an OL that only gave up 12 sacks. So Jay kinda got spoiled in the aspect of getting hit. I think I read Jay had like 48 or 49 sacks last year. Its kinda taken a toll on him and he wants to get back to having an OL that protects him and creates stuff for him. Wiegmann went further saying, The guy says what he says and hes not afraid to say it, but he has to go out and back up his play also.

Wiegmann ended the interview with comparisons with which I started this article saying, Jay is his own guy who I got to know pretty well. He wants to win. I definitely know that and hes going to do whatever it takes to get that done.

There have been all kinds of World Champion quarterbacks who break the stereotypical Brady, Brees, Manning mold. Guys like Joe Namath, Ken Stabler, or Brett Favre to name a few. Maybe the media should quit putting Cutler in a box he does not belong in the first place. Or better yet, get to know what he is all about as former teammate Casey Wiegmann stated.

Players vote Thaddeus Young, Otto Porter Jr. as Bulls captains

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USA Today

Players vote Thaddeus Young, Otto Porter Jr. as Bulls captains

CHARLOTTE, N.C. --- The tribe has spoken. In a players' only vote administered by coach Jim Boylen, Thaddeus Young and Otto Porter Jr. will be captains for the Bulls.

"They’ve demonstrated an ability to put the team above themselves and the ability to communicate with their teammates in a positive way," Boylen said. "I haven’t felt they’re worried about getting liked. They’re worried about getting it right. Something we talk about here is leadership over likership. And I think they have a great feel of that."

Young, a 12-year veteran, long has commanded respect as the consummate teammate. Porter arrived from the Wizards last season and is in his seventh season.

"It means a lot," Porter said. "Just everything I’m doing is for the team, on and off the court. I gotta represent the team right. Make sure our guys are knowing they’re leaded in the right direction. I take that seriously."

Zach LaVine has voiced desire to assume more leadership and perhaps other players, particularly relatively new ones, earning the captain title over him will be instructional and motivational. In the meantime, look for LaVine to land on Boylen's leadership committee, which he established last season. The practice, which is used more in football than basketball, raised some eyebrows around the league for its unconventional usage.

"The leadership group has not disintegrated. It’ll be structured with the help of the captains. I felt the captains was the first step to that. Captains are very important to me in my career," Boylen said. "I’ve always thought it’s big to the leadership of your team. I’m thrilled with the two players that the team voted on having as our captains. We wanted training camp to go by. We wanted everybody to get a chance to be together and see how people operate. And so we voted on it."

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It's playoff week for several 4-4 teams

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NBC Sports Chicago

It's playoff week for several 4-4 teams

While the official start of the 2019 IHSA State Football Playoffs won't be announced until Saturday night, teams that are holding 4-4 records heading into Week 9 are already in state playoff mode.

Several familiar names are in search of big Week 9 wins just to get into the playoff field. 

Marist (4-4) has been a Class 8A regular yet the Redhawks and head coach Ron Dawczak will need to beat Loyola Academy (6-2) on Saturday in Wilmette just to find a place in the playoffs this year. So how difficult has the Redhawks road been so far in 2019? Marist four losses (Notre Dame/Brother Rice/Mount Carmel and Nazareth Academy) have a combined 28-4 record and beating Loyola on Saturday in Wilmette should count for more like two wins.

Naperville Central (4-4) entered the 2019 season ranked by everyone, yet after a 0-3 start the Redhawks have been able to settle down and win four of its last five games to get into position to land its fifth win Friday night in Naperville. The Redhawks can undoubtedly make a case for having one of the state toughest schedule. Its four losses (Hinsdale Central, Lincoln-Way East, Pickerington Central OH and Neuqua Valley) are a combined 29-3. So who's the Redhawks Week 9 cupcake? None other than the state's top ranked team in East St. Louis (8-0). And much like Marist a win over the Flyers this Friday should count for much more than one win. 

New Trier (4-4) and head coach Brian Doll has made the IHSA state playoff field for the past 16 seasons and 23 out of the last 24 years, yet the Trevians need to beat longtime rival Maine South (6-2) at home tomorrow night to keep it's state playoff streak alive. 

The DuKane Conference has been full of surprises in 2019 and both St. Charles North (4-4) and Wheaton North (4-4) are looking to seek wins on Friday to remain alive. St. Charles North was also highly ranked to begin the season but has dropped three straight games and will need to beat Wheaton South (5-3) at Red Grange Field to advance.  Wheaton North has won two straight games including a big 24-19 win last Friday over St. Charles East (6-2), but now a Friday night showdown against Batavia (6-2) in Batavia looms for the Falcons. 

The North Suburban conference has a ‘Win To Get In Bowl’ Friday night as Stevenson (4-4) travels to Lake Forest (4-4). Libertyville (4-4) needs a wn on Friday night against Zion-Benton (3-5) and the Wildcats will be keeping a close eye on the playoff pairings show since they are low (30) on playoff points. 

The Southwest Prairie East is, well, a mess. Plainfield South (4-4/3-1) and Plainfield East (4-4/3-1) are seeking a win to get in, yet even with wins both Plainfield schools could lose the conference title and automatic bid to Joliet West (3-5/3-1). Joliet West and head coach Bill Lech holds a tie breaker if all three teams win on Friday night and that looks more and more a possibility. Plainfield South will host Romeoville (1-7), Plainfield East travels to Joliet Central (1-7) and Joliet West will travel to Plainfield Central (1-7). 

Both East Aurora  (4-4) and Elgin (4-4) square off on Friday at Elgin's Memorial Stadium for a chance at getting into the state playoff field...and just let that statement sink in. East Aurora. Elgin. State Football Playoffs. Needless to say not too many outside of those programs expected to be playing a meaningful in Week 9 especially with so much on the line. A win for East Aurora would be the Tomcats first state playoff bid since 1982 and for Elgin it would be the Maroons second state playoff appearance since 2001.

Looking for more drama? The West Suburban Silver conference will feature Lyons Township (4-4) and first year head coach Dan Hartman in search of its fifth win on Friday night. All the Lions and Dan Hartman has to do is travel to Hinsdale Central (7-1) and beat Hartman's former team from  a season ago in Hinsdale. Also Oak Park-River Forest (4-4) has a tall task looking to get an upset win over Glenbard West (8-0) in Oak Park on Friday night. 

While several of these on the bubble teams have some tall task this week, never say never especially when teams are playing for their playoff lives and if the 2019 season has taught us anything, it's that anything can happen on any given Friday night/Saturday in IHSA football.