Cubs

Defending Arian Foster: Dont believe everything you see

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Defending Arian Foster: Dont believe everything you see

The Bears prime directive each game is rendering a team one-dimensional. That will be difficult to accomplish in the case of the Houston Texans. Very, very difficult.

Tailback Arian Foster. leads the NFL in rushing yards and yards from scrimmage over the past 2.5 years. He is a cutback runner behind a line that pulls and wants to get a speed-based front like Chicagos following keys and flowing to one side fast.

But the difficulty with Foster is not simply how much (yardage), but how.

The thing they do is they just get it downhill in a hurry, said linebacker Brian Urlacher. Were pretty good at pursuit. We dont try to over-pursue. Where the guy is at is where we run to.

We dont try to overshoot too many guys. But the Texans are fast, so youve got to take a pretty good angle to get them down. Everything they do is downhill for the most part.

The Denver Model

Texans coach Gary Kubiak was Denver Broncos offensive coordinator for two Super Bowl wins that may have had John Elway at quarterback. But Elways career threatened to be defined by lost Super Bowls (three) before the arrival of a superb run game built on the concept of zone blocking created by legendary line coach Alex Gibbs.

It wasis a clean, simple system that was built on smaller, quicker linemen Houstons still is. The Bears start three linemen 320 pounds or bigger (Lance Louis, Chilo Rachal, JMarcus Webb). The Texans dress one on Sundays: left tackle Duane Brown.

The Bears start three offensive linemen 6-5 or taller: Rachal, Webb, Gabe Carimi). The Broncos start one: right tackle Derek Newton.

And it seldom mattered who the Broncos primary back was, and it rarely was someone people heard of before he started running behind Gibbs and Kubiaks lines.

Over the five-year span from 1998-2002, Denvers leading rushers were Terrell Davis, Olandis Gary, Mike Anderson, Davis again, and Clinton Portis. Gary was a fourth-round pick, Anderson and Davis sixth-rounders.

Lanes open, one cut, then gone

A basic, then with the Broncos, now with the Texans, is linemen creating a strong flow to the front side of a play, with the defense naturally reacting that direction. The running back follows that flow and needs to make just one cut into a lane that opens.

They start with that outside zone and as your defense starts stretching and thats where the lanes start opening up, said defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli. Thats where that one cut is, they get downhill on you fast. They want to get you going that way and then come at you.

Misdirection comes out of the boots and play action. Thats where all the misdirection comes. That O-line sells the stuff so well. They come out and zone-zone-zone and it all looks the same, and then boom, the back is out of there. The lineman gets his head in front of you and cuts you off.

Cubs Talk Podcast: Former Cubs GM Jim Hendry 'we had Baez ahead of Lindor in the draft'

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USA TODAY

Cubs Talk Podcast: Former Cubs GM Jim Hendry 'we had Baez ahead of Lindor in the draft'

David Kaplan and Luke Stuckmeyer are joined by former Cubs General Manager Jim Hendry.  In part 1, Hendry looks back at some of the players he drafted during his time with the Cubs and getting a deal done with Theo Epstein at the trade deadline in 2004.

00:45 - What he does now for the Yankees

02:30 - How involved is a GM with drafting a player

04:30 - Looking back at the drafting of Javier Baez

05:45 - What made Javier Baez so appealing as a draft pick

09:00 - Josh Donaldson moving to 3rd base after the Cubs drafted him

11:45 - On having to trade prospects at the trade deadline to put the team over the edge for a postseason spot

13:10 - Looking back at the 2004 3-way deadline trade that brought Nomar Garciapara to the Cubs

14:35 - On Willson Contreras' growth in the Cubs organization

16:40 - On going over budget to sign Starlin Castro

17:20 - Carlos Zambrano's growth within the Cubs organization

19:10 - How good could Gleyber Torres be?

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

Sports Talk Live Podcast: Can Trubisky handle the Vikings defense?

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USA TODAY

Sports Talk Live Podcast: Can Trubisky handle the Vikings defense?

Hub Arkush, Mark Carman and Gabe Ramirez join Kap on the panel.

0:00- 3 days away from the huge NFC North showdown. Can Mitch Trubisky handle the Vikings defense? Will the Bears defense disrupt Kirk Cousins? And did practicing a Soldier Field help Cody Parkey?

16:00- Christian Yelich is the NL MVP. Javy Baez finishes second. Can he perform at a MVP again next season? And what position will he play? Plus the guys discusses Bryce Harper’s latest name dropping of Chicago. 

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

Sports Talk Live Podcast

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