White Sox

Immediate impact possible from all No. 1s in NFC North

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Immediate impact possible from all No. 1s in NFC North

One of the amusing sidelights of the first round of the 2012 draft was the way half of the NFC North teams selected speed guys to rush the passer and the other half of the NFC North grabbed guys expressly for the purposes of stopping the other half.

Early indications from OTAs are that all four No. 1s will be playing significant time by the time their teams meet, which makes pending matchups especially interesting. If youre inclined to hold off on any rush to grade teams drafts, this season will provide some immediate feedback.

The Bears used the 19th-overall pick on Shea McClellin with the plan of him being an immediate part of a rotation at defensive end. That translates into his initially spelling Israel Idonije on the edge opposite of Julius Peppers.

That projects to pit McClellin against the 26th-overall pick in week seven when the Bears host the Detroit Lions in a Monday night game--word out of Detroit is that Iowa tackle Reilly Reiff is going to push starters Jeff Backus (left) and Gosder Cherilus (right).

Carlos Monarrez over at the Detroit Free Press reports that Reiff who gives the Lions three No. 1s in the tackle mix, vs. the Bears two (Gabe Carimi, Chris Williams) is gaining some notice already, which is arguably premature given that OTAs are not lineman times.

Carimi, Williams and JMarcus Webb will have to deal with Nick Perry in game two when the Bears go to Green Bay for a Thursday night game. Where exactly Perry will be is going to be a work in progress, however.

Perry was an edge rusher in a 4-3 scheme at USC. Now he is transitioning to a 3-4 in Green Bay and the questions have been there as to whether he can work in coverage, particularly with 20 more pounds than he played at in college.

Matt Kalil isnt signed yet in Minnesota but the Vikings have to feel even a little bit better about the USC left tackle after Justin Blackmon, taken a pick later at No. 4 by Jacksonville after the Jaguars traded up to get him, is facing a pretty serious DUI situation.

But Kalil is participating in OTAs without a contract, which bodes well for his immediate installation as the starting left tackle. The Bears wont know how he matches up with McClellin until Thanksgiving weekend in Chicago, and then again two weeks later in Minneapolis.

White Sox Talk Podcast: Emotional interview with Michael Kopech and Vanessa Morgan

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USA Today

White Sox Talk Podcast: Emotional interview with Michael Kopech and Vanessa Morgan

Chuck Garfien and Ryan McGuffey speak with Michael Kopech and his wife Vanessa Morgan at SoxFest about their relationship, Michael’s comeback from Tommy John surgery, his battles with mental health, removing himself from social media, handling fame, Morgan’s acting career and more.

Listen here or via the embedded player below:

White Sox Talk Podcast

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Jim Boylen standing firm at moment of reckoning in Bulls season

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USA Today

Jim Boylen standing firm at moment of reckoning in Bulls season

It’s no secret that the Bulls’ season hangs in the balance. At 17-30, the team is at once three games out of a playoff spot and slated ninth in the current lottery standings. 

To hear head coach Jim Boylen and co. tell it, a playoff berth remains the more desirable of those two timelines. But according to Basketball Reference, the Bulls have the third most difficult remaining strength of schedule in the East. And worse, they’ll have to face the (immediate) future without Lauri Markkanen, Wendell Carter Jr., Otto Porter Jr. and Daniel Gafford.

The loss of Markkanen — the most recent of that group to go down — has tipping point potential. In the Bulls’ first game without him, they mustered just 81 points at home against a swooning Sacramento Kings squad, shooting 8-for-37 from 3-point range in the process. The team’s need for secondary scoring outside of Zach LaVine glared

But, as Boylen has maintained all season, the Bulls are not going to change the way they play. They just need to play better.

“We gotta play faster, we gotta move the ball. I thought we had a couple possessions where the ball stuck. The ball can’t stick. We gotta move it, we gotta drive it,” Boylen said of the loss to the Kings before the Bulls’ Saturday night matchup with the Cavaliers in Cleveland. “I also think we missed some opportunities that we need to make.

“Our margin for error is not great. We have to make the plays we can make and make the shots we can make.”

For now, at least, the starting lineup won’t change (sorry #StartCoby crowd) — though Boylen said he’ll keep his rotation fluid. As for outside reinforcements being brought in?

“We have not talked about that. Doesn’t mean we won’t,” Boylen said when asked if the Bulls could actually pivot to ‘buying’ at the trade deadline, given their relative proximity to a playoff spot. “We’re in the middle of a really tough stretch of games, and a lot of games, so my focus has been on that.

“I love the guys we have,” he added. “And we’re gonna keep coaching and teaching the guys we have. I’ve got a good group, a coachable group.”

Absent from those adjectives was ‘interchangeable’ but that word has been ever-present in Boylen’s vocabulary through the ups and downs of this season. In his first full year at the helm, his primary goal remains clear.

“Because we’re establishing this system,” Boylen said when asked why, through thick and thin, the team’s playing style hasn’t changed, as it did last season after Boylen was hired. “Last year, we were tearing it down and then establishing it. Now we’re gonna keep establishing it.”

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