Cubs

Dolphins star plans to get ejected on MNF

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Dolphins star plans to get ejected on MNF

From Comcast SportsNet
DAVIE, Fla. (AP) -- Preparing for Monday Night Football, Brandon Marshall dropped a pass during drills Thursday, picked up the ball and gave it an angry boot. Not that emotional outbursts take practice, but Marshall said he's planning a prime-time doozy. The mercurial Miami Dolphins receiver complained Thursday that he has been playing with his emotions in check and will show more passion Monday against the New York Jets. "My goal is to get thrown out midway through the second quarter," Marshall said. He mentioned that objective four times during a 12-minute interview session. When asked if he was joking, Marshall said no. "I'm serious. They want to fine me, it'll probably be like a 50,000 fine. But I'm going to play. That quarter and half I'm out there, I'm going to play like a monster." In July, Marshall disclosed he was diagnosed earlier this year with borderline personality disorder, which stems from such things as a negative self-image and a fear of failure. On Thursday, he said efforts to keep his emotions on an even keel have hurt his play. The two-time Pro Bowl receiver has 22 catches this year but only one touchdown, and he's tied for third in the NFL with five drops, including three in the end zone. Any deficiencies have been magnified because the Dolphins are 0-4. "The past four games, it's been tough for me trying to control some things," he said. "I'm just going to let it out. I don't care if they have two, three cameras on me, I don't care if I have penalties. It doesn't matter. I'm going to let it all out. "I'm best when I play emotional, I'm best when I play with passion, and you guys are going to see that on Monday Night Football. I don't know if it's throwing a football 15 yards into the bleachers and getting a 15-yarder, or punting the ball and getting thrown out of the game, but something is going to happen." Marshall's pledge comes with the offense in transition because of quarterback Chad Henne's season-ending shoulder injury. Matt Moore, who will make his first start with the Dolphins, arched his eyebrows when told that Marshall said he hoped to get kicked out in the second quarter. Would a more emotional Marshall be a good thing? "Um, I don't know. Now it's like I'm a doctor," Moore said. "Brandon's got to be himself. Everybody's got to be themselves. He's going to be at the emotional level he needs to be at to be at his best. How about that answer?" Coach Tony Sparano said Marshall at his most fiery would help the Dolphins, and he wasn't concerned about penalties or an ejection. "Obviously Brandon is 50 percent kidding," Sparano said. "I know one thing about that guy -- he's not going to do anything to hurt this team. The people in that locker room are important to him. "But sometimes on the field he's bigger than life when he gets the ball and starts rolling. He can be that way. I think that's the part Brandon is talking about." Marshall had 86 catches for 1,014 yards last season, his first with the Dolphins. But his streak of three successive 100-catch seasons ended, he scored only three touchdowns, and he twice drew penalties for tossing the ball to the sideline after a play. Toward the end of last season, Marshall said he had been too boring, and he's again intent on stirring things up. A Dolphins official tried several times to end Thursday's interview session, but Marshall kept talking, saying he discussed criticism he receives with members of his support group. "When you go through the things we went through, it's like you feel like you've got to be perfect," Marshall said. "That puts you in this bubble, and it's kind of uncomfortable. You're not human if you don't have bad days. "I've been living in a bubble a little bit, trying to control myself instead of being me. You've got to be able to turn that switch on and off. On Monday Night Football, I'm going to turn that switch on and be a monster. When I catch a ball, I might bang my head with a football. I might get into a shoving match with somebody. I might get a penalty. But I'm going to play like I usually play."

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Jon Lester struggles against the division-rival Cardinals

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Jon Lester struggles against the division-rival Cardinals

It was a tough day for the North Siders.

The Cubs got obliterated by the Cardinals as Matt Carpenter had a three-homer, two-double day. Ben Finfer, Seth Gruen and Maggie Hendricks join David Kaplan on the latest SportsTalk Live Podcast to talk about the blowout.

Was Jon Lester due for this kind of terrible outing? And do the Cubs have enough to swing a big trade before the deadline?

Plus, the panel discusses Matt Nagy’s first training camp practice in the rain and Roquan Smith’s absence in Bourbonnais.

You can listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below:

Could Bears improve and still lose ground? The MMQB's Albert Breer weighs in on tough NFC North

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USA TODAY

Could Bears improve and still lose ground? The MMQB's Albert Breer weighs in on tough NFC North

NBC Sports Chicago’s John "Moon" Mullin talked with The MMQB's Albert Breer, who shared his thoughts on where the Bears stand — and if they’ll be able to compete — in a highly competitive NFC North.

Moon: The Bears have made upgrades, but they’re in the NFC North and not many divisions are tougher, given the strength at quarterbacks.

Breer: Yes. You look at the other three teams, and they all very much believe they’re in a window for winning a championship. The Packers are going through some changes, but they’ve gotten Mike Pettine in there as defensive coordinator and a new general manager who was aggressive on draft day. I know that internally they feel that’s going to give them a boost, and bringing Aaron Rodgers back obviously is the biggest thing of all.

Minnesota, all the things they did this offseason, signing (quarterback) Kirk Cousins, (defensive lineman) Sheldon Richardson, and they were knocking on the door last year.

The Lions have been building for two years under (general manager) Bob Quinn and (new coach) Matt Patricia, who lines right up with the general manager — the two of them worked together in New England. They really believe that Matthew Stafford is ready to take the sort of jump that Matt Ryan made in Atlanta a few years ago, where you see that mid-career breakthrough from a quarterback that we see sometimes now.

It’s one of the toughest divisions in football, and every team in the division believes that it’s in the position to contend right now.

Moon: We didn’t see a lot of Mitch Trubisky — 12 games — so it sounds possible that the Bears could improve and still lose ground.

Breer: The Lions were pretty good last year. The Vikings were in the NFC Championship game. And who knows where the Packers would’ve been if Rodgers hadn’t broken his collarbone. The biggest change is that Aaron Rodgers will be back, and that’s the best player in the league. It was a really good division last year, and you’re adding back in a Hall of Fame quarterback.

As far as the Bears, there’s going to be questions where the organization is going. It’s been seven years since they were in the playoffs. I think they certainly got the coach hire right. This is a guy who I know other organizations liked quite a bit and was going to be a head coach sooner or later.

And I think he matches up well with Mitch. I think the Bears are in a good spot, but as you said, they’re competing in a difficult environment, so it may not show up in their record.

Moon: A lot of love for the Vikings after they get to the NFC Championship and then add Kirk Cousins.

Breer: A lot of people look at Minnesota and think Kirk Cousins’ll be a huge improvement. And maybe he will be. I think he’s a very good quarterback, top dozen in the league. But Case Keenum played really, really well last year, so it wasn’t like they weren’t getting anything out of that position last year.

The NFC right now is clearly the strength of the league. If you picked the top 10 teams in the league, you could make a case that seven or eight of them are in the NFC. I think there will be NFC teams that miss the playoffs who could be in the Super Bowl coming out of the AFC. There’s a little bit of an imbalance there.

Moon: Trubisky projects as part of a wave of new quarterbacks league-wide, a sea change in the NFL.

Breer: The interesting thing is that this is probably as stable as the league has been at quarterback in a long time. There’ve been questions where the next great quarterbacks will come from, but I don’t know that there’s a team right now in the NFL like you looked at the Jets or Browns last year, where you say that team is definitely drafting a quarterback in 2019.

Everyone either has a big-money veteran or former first-round pick on their roster. One team that doesn’t is the Cowboys, but they’ve got Dak Prescott who’s played really well. Every team in the league has some stability at the position. I think the position is as healthy as it’s been in a long time, and you’ve got a lot of good young prospects.