Have the Bears built up back end of the roster?


Have the Bears built up back end of the roster?

I had the great opportunity this past week to host a few shows with former NFL scout, coach, and executive Pat Kirwin on SiriusXM NFL Radio. It was a fact finding mission identifying which NFL teams have done the best job building up their roster to survive injury during the season. The Bears made our list with criteria diagnosed with Pats years of experience and a template most NFL General Managers follow for success.

Keep in mind the 2011 Bears season spiraled out of control due to quarterback Jay Cutlers injury at the most critical position on the field. I encourage CSNChicago.com readers to check out Pat Kirwins article at CBSSports.com. Pat breaks down his favorite roster builders this season. I briefly summarized the criteria below with comments how the Bears have addressed each:

1. Have backup quarterback who can go 2-2 if they had to play a month of the season.

The Bears have done just that with the signing of Jason Campbell who comes with wins and quality starting experience.

2. Have a second running back who can be a 1,000 yard back or at minimum generate 75 yards a week as runner or receiver.

The signing of talented runner Michael Bush will pay huge dividends for the Bears in 2012. Phil Emerys work may not be done if Matt Forte elects not to report for training camp. If Bush or Khalil Bell were to go down in pre-season with an injury, it could have disastrous consequences. Emery, most likely, has done his homework on experienced free agent RBs if one needs to be signed before camp. It will be done quickly, only if Forte withholds his services.

3. Have third wide receiver who can play if a starter goes down, who must average 4-6 receptions a week as an X (weak side receiver) or Z (strong side receiver).

The Bears may be featuring their most talented group of receivers in quite some time. Brandon Marshall can play X or Z and so can Earl Bennett. If either goes down to injury, rookie Alshon Jeffery would become the X and either of the aforementioned, moves to Z. Devin Hester becomes the slot in this scenario, plus the Bears also signed Devin Thomas who is a Z if they elect to keep Bennett in the slot where he has thrived in three WR sets. Chicago now has incredible depth at wideout.

4. Have second TE whos a legitimate threat as a blocker and receiver.

Finally, the Bears will be utilizing the talent at this position. Kellen Davis is very athletic at 67, 267 lbs. Second year tight end Kyle Adams looks the part, but inexperienced. Rookie draft pick Evan Rodriguez is more of a FBH-back type of player, not a true tight end, but is definitely a threat to catch the football.

5. Have two experienced backup offensive linemen. A swing-tackle for either side or an experienced inside player for guard or center positions.

The Bears have it all on the offensive line. Chicago is very versatile up front. Just think of Chris Williams, if right tackle Gabe Carimi or left tackle J'Marcus Webb were to go down, Williams has started at both positions, along with experience playing at left guard. Chris Spencer can play guard or center along with Roberto Garza. The offseason signing of Chilo Richal brings even more playing experience on the offensive line to go with snaps logged last year at guard and tackle by Lance Louis. Chicago has tremendous flexibility up front.

6. Have third defensive tackle that could play a whole game if a starter went down.

Between Stephen Paea, Matt Toeaina, Israel Idonije, Henry Melton, and recently signed veterans like Chauncey Davis, and DeMario Pressley, there will be nice competition during camp. The depth is there.

7. Have a pass-rush specialist.

Julius Peppers is the guy, but a pass rusher opposite could reap the rewards of a ton of slide protection to Peppers side. The Bears believe first-round draft pick Shea McClellin is the guy. Also, Corey Wooten needs to come on strong because if both fail, Izzy will be kicking back up to defensive end.

8. Have a fourth cornerback if either starter at right, left, or nickel corner were to go down with an injury.

Charles Tillman, Tim Jennings and DJ Moore have all been solid. Free agent Kelvin Hayden comes with a ton of experience during his days as a Colt in the exact same defense as the Bears. If Hayden performs even remotely as good as Jennings has, the Bears hit pay dirt again.

9. Have a third safety.

This position has been the Achilles' heel for the Bears for quite some time. Next on stage is rookie Brandin Hardin if Major Wright or Chris Conte get injured or falter. Love Craig Steltzs heart, but he is limited. This group has to grow up quick.

10. Have four core special teams players be able to fill in if starter goes down on offense or defense during a game.

Thomas, Hayden, linebacker Geno Hayes and Rachal all fit the bill as does Davis.

The Bears have met all criteria, but need No. 4 and No. 9 to come around and finally develop. The defense just needs to be the typical Bears defense. The special teams need to be who they always have been. The offensive accountability Mike Tice is shaping needs to take hold during the end of training camp and the first three weeks of the season. If this happens, the Bears can sustain and remain consistent through injury.

NBC Sports Chicago launches new show Bulls Outsiders

NBC Sports Chicago

NBC Sports Chicago launches new show Bulls Outsiders

Chicago, IL (October 15, 2018) – NBC Sports Chicago – THE Home of the #AuthenticFan – has announced it will launch Bulls Outsiders, a brand new, live, multi-platform, fan-interactive Bulls program that will provide a fresh take on that evening’s game and much more from three non-conventional sports show hosts.  Bulls Outsiders will make its network debut after the Bulls 2018-19 road/season opener this Thursday, October 18 (approx. 10:00 PM CT) immediately following Bulls Postgame Live presented by BlueCross BlueShield of Illinois on NBC Sports Chicago+, via live stream to authenticated NBC Sports Chicago subscribers at NBCSportsChicago.com/WatchLive, and -- on Facebook Live (Facebook.com/NBCSChicago). NOTE: Bulls Outsiders will also re-air on the main NBC Sports Chicago channel on this night at 11:00 PM; the majority of airings will also air live on the main channel location.

Hosted by three, die-hard Bulls enthusiasts – Matt Peck (@Bulls_Peck), David Watson (@bawlsports), and John Sabine (@jsabine214) – Bulls Outsiders will provide viewers with the hottest takes, insightful analysis, and spirited commentary from the fans' perspective. This new half-hour program will immediately follow the network’s dedicated, season-long presentation of Bulls Postgame Live for all 82 Bulls games this season.  

In addition to the lively post-game discussion with the show’s hosts, Bulls Outsiders will also emphasize heavy viewer interaction via fan engagement on a number of the network’s social media platforms including Twitter (@NBCSBulls; fans urged to utilize the Twitter hashtag #BullsOutsiders in their posts) and Facebook Live (Facebook.com/NBCSChicago), which will enable Bulls fans to directly interact with the show’s hosts via comments and questions pertaining to that particular evening’s game, the key topics presented to them that night, or anything else they want to discuss from a league-wide NBA perspective. 

“Our primary goal at NBC Sports Chicago is to super serve our fans and with the introduction of Bulls Outsiders to our multi-platform programming line-up, we are able to continue that mission with a fresh and fun new program that not only speaks to Bulls fans, but one that directly involves them in the dialogue,” said Kevin Cross, Vice President of Content for NBC Sports Chicago. 

In preparation for the hiring of the program’s three primary hosts, NBC Sports Chicago reached out to a number of notable local (and vocal) die-hard Bulls fans who stood out among the vast Bulls social media community. Candidates who responded back with interest were simply asked to shoot a one-minute video on their phone and offer up their take on Chicago native/Simeon Career Academy H.S. grad Jabari Parker joining the Bulls via free agency.  From there, the initial two dozen candidates were narrowed down to eight, who were then all brought in for in-studio auditions. Following the lengthy on-camera process, Cross, along with Bulls content producer Kevin Anderson, finalized their decision and welcomed Peck, Watson, and Sabine to the NBC Sports Chicago family.  

“It was an intricate process in choosing our hosts, but there’s no doubt Matt, David, and John have a great chemistry and solid individual strengths,” added Cross. “I’m also excited about how Bulls Outsiders will take fan interactivity to a brand new level and I couldn’t be more pleased that we will be able to deliver this show to the passionate and undeniably-dedicated Bulls fan base.”

Please note the following Bulls Outsiders host bios:

Matt Peck - Podcast host/writer for ‘Locked On Bulls’

Age: 31

Hometown: Glen Ellyn, IL

Favorite Bull of all time: “MJ, obviously…but Rodman is a very close second.” 

Favorite Current Bull: Lauri Markkanen 

Favorite Bulls moments: 

1st place – “1997 NBA Finals Game 1. MJ hits the game-winner at the buzzer after Karl Malone misses 2 FTs...Mailman doesn't deliver on Sundays."

2nd place – “2011 Eastern Conference Finals Game 1…Bulls blow out the ‘Heatles.’ Taj destroys Dwyane Wade's soul. And has a FILTHY put back dunk late with the route on. The Madhouse goes insane. We all leave that night thinking we were about to win the title.” 

David Watson - Bulls writer/podcast host for BawlSports.com

Age: 39

Hometown: Chicago, IL                            

Favorite Bulls player of all-time: Michael Jordan

Favorite current Bulls player: Lauri Markkanen

Favorite Bulls moment: “Jordan Flu Game in ‘97…Noah dunk on Paul Pierce in ’09 first round Game 6 Triple OT…oh, and that Pippen dunk on Ewing in the ’94 playoffs.”

John Sabine - Actor, copywriter, and improviser…he has performed with The Second City IO and The Improvised Shakespeare Company.

Age: 34

Hometown: Originally from Dallas, TX…has lived in Chicago for the last 11 years

Favorite Bulls player of all-time: “Pippen or Rodman, it's probably Rodman. Is it weird it's Rodman?”

Favorite current Bulls player: “Lauri Markkanen, but really Bobby Portis. I want to be friends with Bobby Portis.” 

Favorite Bulls moment: “Jordan's return from baseball. As a kid I couldn't understand, I said "wait ...he just decided to not play and now he decided to play, but like he has a new number and he's still awesome...what?!’ or…either 2013 Round 1 Game 4 against the Nets 3OT, Nate Robinson. It was a Marvel Movie.” 

REMINDER: NBC Sports Chicago will carry the 2018-19 Bulls HOME OPENER on Saturday, October 20 (Bulls Pregame Live presented by Coors Light at 6:00 PM; Bulls vs. Pistons tip-off at 7:00 PM; Bulls Postgame Live presented by BlueCross BlueShield of Illinois at approx. 9:30 PM, which will immediately be followed by Bulls Outsiders at approx. 10:00 PM).


Week 7 NFL Power Rankings: Outside the top, no clear picture yet

Week 7 NFL Power Rankings: Outside the top, no clear picture yet

Last night's 43-40 game between the Patriots and Chiefs said more about the NFL than it did either team playing in it. 

Through the first seven weeks, there are pretty clearly three very good NFL teams: the Rams, the Pats, and the Chiefs. 

After that? Who knows. The Chargers look strong, but have looked strong for years -- and have what to show for it? After a good start, the Jaguars have looked actively terrible. The Steelers are rounding into form and yet still find themselves in third place. All three of the NFC East's contenders are sitting at .500 or barely better. 

How'd your probably-mediocre team do in our Power Rankings this week? 

Wait no longer! You can find out right here.