Defenses will set the pace on Monday night


Defenses will set the pace on Monday night

The last time the Bears played in San Francisco, the two teams combined to score 16 points in a 10-6 49ers victory. Monday night has all the makings of being the same type of low-scoring battle. Regardless of which quarterbacks start the game, it's going to be a defensive struggle. With Jay Cutler at the helm, the Bears have been unable to put up points so it's unlikely it will happen if Jason Campbell lines up behind center. The Niners have only been scoring 23 points a contest and, as we all know, they haven't played Lance Briggs and company. San Francisco has an outstanding rushing attack averaging an impressive 170 yards per game, tops in the NFL. There is no doubt the Bears will play to stop the run, similar to what they did when they faced Jacksonville earlier this season. The Niners have better weapons, but there is no way the Bears are going to allow Jim Harbaugh's group to control the clock in what will be a low-scoring game. The key for the quarterbacks will be to manage the game and not commit turnovers. Both coaches will be happy to let their defenses decide the outcome. It's also a game where field position will be a big factor. Neither offense can expect 80-yard scoring drives, so playing with a short field will be vital. These are two of the worst ranked passing offenses in the NFL, and if one side has an edge if backups start it has to be the Bears. Jason Campbell has the experience to be more effective in the passing game, and one or two big plays by his arm could be the deciding factor.

Bears reportedly optimistic about Mitch Trubisky, but Matt Nagy coy on QB’s status

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Bears reportedly optimistic about Mitch Trubisky, but Matt Nagy coy on QB’s status

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported shortly before Matt Nagy met with the media Tuesday that the Bears are “optimistic” Trubisky will play, though the Bears' coach characterized his quarterback's right shoulder injury as a "day-to-day" deal. 

"He wants to play. I know that," Nagy said. "But we gotta make sure in these situations that we're doing the right thing. That is why, regardless of whatever decision is made or wherever we're at on gameday, this goes back to Ryan (Pace) with his guys making sure that throughout this roster we have depth and we feel comfortable. If it's something where Chase (Daniel) ends up playing, that's the way it goes and keep moving forward." 

Nagy did say he's "cautiously optimistic" Trubisky can play Thursday. 

Trubisky injured his shoulder when Vikings safety Harrison Smith hit him as he slid during the fourth quarter of Sunday’s 25-20 win at Soldier Field (Smith was penalized for unnecessary roughness on the play). 

Nagy did not delve into the specifics of Trubisky's injury, but NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport said on WSCR-670 AM Tuesday that it's an AC joint sprain:

Nagy said Trubisky will not require surgery, and he doesn't have any long-term concerns about the issue. 

Trubisky finished Sunday’s game, handing off to Jordan Howard twice, throwing an incomplete pass and then taking a knee twice after sustaining the injury. His appearance on Monday’s injury report — which was a league-mandated estimate, as the Bears did not practice — represented the first time he was listed on the Bears’ injury report in his two-year career. 

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Who are the candidates for Chicagoland HS football player of the year?

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Who are the candidates for Chicagoland HS football player of the year?

It's never easy to select just one standout player from across Chicagoland. Several players that are highly considered for this honor hail from teams that are still remaining in the IHSA state championship games. Here are my top Chicagoland Player of the Year candidates, in no particular order:

QB John Bean, Brother Rice: Bean, a senior signal caller, has been -easily- the biggest key in the Crusader's offense this season. Bean is a threat with the run (823 yards rushing 14 touchdowns) and the pass (124 of 205 passes for 1,854 yards 18 touchdowns). He has also been a calm and confident leader for a Crusaders team that has gone from a 2-7 season in 2017 to a 13-0 record this fall and a potential Class 8A state title this Saturday.

WR/DB/KR Michael Love, Nazareth Academy: Love, a senior who was committed this offseason to Bowling Green, has since reopened his recruiting process this season. Love has been a major impact performer for the Roadrunners and head coach Tim Racki in all three phases of the game. This season, Love has caught 54 passes for 1,087 yards and 18 touchdowns while also adding 289 yard rushing and four touchdowns. Love also has been an impact defensive back who, more often than not, is assigned the opposing team's top speed receiver. Love also is an electric kick and punt returner. 

QB JJ McCarthy, Nazareth Academy: McCarthy, a sophomore signal caller, was under some serious attention and scrutiny after adding FBS level scholarship offers as a freshman before even taking a snap at the varsity level. The attention only increased after several impressive offseason camp performances. This season, McCarthy has been a huge key for the Roadrunners having completed 161 of 219 passes for 3,088 yards and 35 touchdowns with just four interceptions all season. McCarthy has all the physical tools and maturity beyond his years, and at times it's scary to even think that McCarthy has two more full seasons of high school football still ahead of him.

QB Jack Baltz, Lincoln-Way East: Baltz, who is verbally committed to Illinois State, was able to spearhead the Griffins offense this season and took full advantage of his senior season after serving as a backup on the 2017 8A state title team. One of the best playoff games for Baltz was a five touchdown effort against St. Charles East. He passed for 244 yards and four touchdowns and rushed for 45 yards and another score in a 49-0 victory.

QB/ATH Alante Brown, Simeon: Brown, who is verbally committed to Michigan State as a receiver, has been spectacular for the Wolverines and head coach Dante Culbreath. This fall, Brown amassed 3,436 yards of offense (2,347 yards passing and 1,089 yards rushing) and a combined 41 touchdowns. Brown can also play at any number of spots on the football field. He answered the call at quarterback, running back, wide receiver and defensive back in his varsity career at Simeon. 

S Jake Gonzales, Loyola Academy: Gonzales, who is verbally committed to Penn, is the quarterback of the Ramblers defense-- and has been for the past handful of seasons. Gonzales, who leads the Ramblers this season with 125 tackles and two interceptions, is always around the football. He is a big time finisher who also has exceptional football smarts and instincts. 

QB Payton Thorne, Naperville Central: Thorne, who is verbally committed to Western Michigan, wrapped up an outstanding career at Naperville Central after starting his first two years at Metea Valley. In 2018, Thorne completed 204 of 319 passes for 3,079 yards and 40 touchdowns in just 11 games. Thorne also ran for 4440 yards and four touchdowns and was easily one of the top overall quarterbacks in Chicagoland. 

RB Keenan Hailey, Joliet Catholic: Hailey, a senior who was expected to share the Hilltoppers' rushing game load with junior RB Kenyetta William. However, he wound up being the main runner for head coach Jake Jaworski after Williams went down with a season ending injury in the opening week. All Keenan Hailey has done this season is carry the ball 300 times for 2,541 yards and 32 touchdowns while drawing the attention of every opposing defense all season long.

QB Mike Markett, Marist: Markett, a multi-year starter for the Redhawks and head coach Ron Dawczak, posted some very impressive numbers in leading Marist to the Class 8A semifinals. Markett completed 151 of 248 passes for 2,032 yards and 17 touchdowns while also rushing for 944 yards and 11 touchdowns this season. Markett made huge strides  in both the passing game and on the ground. He became a much more confident runner in 2018. 

WR/S Tyler Nubin, St. Charles North: Nubin has solid overall numbers. But his value to the North Stars program over the past few seasons is immeasurable. Nubin, who is verbally committed to Minnesota, has run for 530 yards and 12 touchdowns while also catching 40 passes for 638 yards and nine touchdowns. Yet Nubin can -and will- play anywhere on the field. That includes under center as a Wildcat quarterback. His efforts in double overtime led North to huge win over Mount Carmel last Saturday, sending the North Stars to the 7A state title game for the first time in school history. 

OL/DL Addison West, Cary-Grove: Ok, it's rare that a linemen will draw any sort of serious "Player of the Year" accolades, That said, West is undoubtedly one of the biggest keys on both side of the football for the Trojans this season. West, a 6-foot-5, 275 pound senior who's verbally committed to Western Michigan, is a three year starter on coach Brad Seaburg's offensive line. He has also been starting on the defensive line this fall for the first time in his high school career. West has terrific size, strength and quickness along with possessing a non-stop motor.