Cubs

Latest Cutler critique iswell, just read it

784760.png

Latest Cutler critique iswell, just read it

Whether hes suffering a knee injury, getting through a press conference or throwing footballs, Jay Cutler is nothing if not a figure of discussion.

The latest to weigh in is Greg Cosell, outstanding senior producer over at NFL Films and executive producer of NFL Matchup, who makes a case for Cutler being a top-10 quarterback. The reasoning isinteresting.

The qualifier up front is that anytime someone has to belabor their credentials, pretty good guess that the first point is to establish that they know more than you do because they know their point is shaky. Among Gregs statements:

based on my extensive experience
studying Cutler when he came out of Vanderbilt in 2006
the tape told the story
when you watch as much tape as I do

and thats in just the first four paragraphs.

Anyway, its really about Cutler, who I do believe became an exponentially better quarterback from 2009 to 2010 and again from 2010 to what of 2011 he was able to play.

Neither Greg nor I have a particular rooting interest in Cutlers play. And Greg is absolutely one of the best all-around commentators on the game. Usually.

My take on Cutler is that he is right on the cusp of becoming the best since Sid Luckman and could prove better than the Hall of Famer. But hes not yet. Better passer? Probably. Just not better quarterback.

Greg has focused on Cutlers passing; that badly misses the most important point about a quarterback. Thats like measuring a pitcher by strikeout total or based on a speed gun.

(That said, passer rating does have its uses. The collapse of the 08 Denver team from 8-5 to out of the playoffs can be blamed on the defense. That may be. But with playoffs on the line, Cutler posted three straight games with sub-75 passer ratings. Greg cites one particular rookie pass of Cutlers as a true memory; the guess here is that the Broncos, including Cutler and Brandon Marshall, probably remember those last three games. Marshalls recent comments at OTA said as much.)

Greg basically blames Cutlers career 61.1-percent completion percentage on everyone except Cutler. If your receivers do not win against man coverage, its the quarterbacks fault that sort of thing. Guessing here that Charles Woodson, Deion Sanders and Darrelle Revis would demur but theyre exceptions, too.

And while correctly describing Cutler as a see it, throw it passer who doesnt like to throw before his receiver is breaking open, Greg curiously then blames receivers for not getting open. If they werent open, why did Cutler throw it? That was always the Cutler rub before the last two seasons.

Greg allows that Cutlers ball location can be a little imprecise at times. Yes.

It wasnt the 26 interceptions in 2009 that was the real jaw-dropper, or that so many of them happened in red zones. It was that three of them went to defensive linemen with a combined weight of nearly half a ton. These were not issues of receiver separation. Imprecise. Yes.

Cutler is one of the best pure throwers in the NFL. If there is a more meaningless observation to make about a quarterback Never mind. This is Scouting Combine talk. Tight spiral? Arm strength? Able to throw a ball, while on his knees, through a goal post from 50 yards? Howd that work out? You cannot separate a quarterbacks arm from the brain that tells it where to throw.

In the end, you are what your record says you are. Cutler could be a top-10 quarterback, or even passer, for that matter. Personally, based on the better part of his last 20 games, dating back to the 2010 off week, he was earning a place in the discussion.

He is not yet. And best guess here is that Cutler would agree.

Yu Darvish thinks Houston Astros should be stripped of 2017 World Series title

darvish.jpg
USA Today

Yu Darvish thinks Houston Astros should be stripped of 2017 World Series title

The Astros' sign-stealing scandal is personal for a lot of players, though it probably hits a little differently for Yu Darvish. 

Darvish was a member of the 2017 Los Angeles Dodgers team that Houston beat in the World Series. Darvish didn't have his best performance in the series and when asked about the scandal, the Cubs' pitcher didn't hold back:

It's a weird feeling. Like, in the Olympics, when a player cheats, you can't have a Gold medal, right? But they still have as World Series title. That makes me feel weird. That's it. And one more thing. With [Carlos] Correra talking about [Cody] Bellinger. I saw that yesterday. So they cheat, and I think right now that they don't have to talk. They shouldn't talk like that right now.

You can watch the video of Darvish's comments, from ESPN's Jesse Rogers, it right here.

The comments took on a life of their own, as Astros' soundbytes have been known to do over the last few weeks or so. Darvish was ready for the clapback, though, and delivered a final blow to some poor 'Stros fan who thought he could compete with Darvish on twitter dot com. 

Sign a lifetime contract, Yu. Never leave us.

Related: Bryant crushes Astros for cheating scandal: 'What a disgrace that was' 

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of the Chicago Cubs easily on your device.

Jason Kipnis comes home looking to write one final chapter of his career

kipnis-1030.jpg
USA TODAY

Jason Kipnis comes home looking to write one final chapter of his career

Jason Kipnis, who’s potentially the Cubs’ new second baseman but indisputably the pride of Northbrook, said there’s one major reason why his possible reunion with Wrigley Field is so exciting.

“Now I don’t have to hate the 'Go Cubs Go' song,” he quipped.

Kipnis was a late addition to the Cubs’ roster, and still not even a guaranteed one at that. After almost a decade spent being one of the Cleveland Indians’ cornerstones, Kipnis arrived in Mesa on a minor league contract, looking to win a job. Ironically, being with his hometown team is unfamiliar territory for the two-time All-Star. 

“[Leaving Cleveland] was hard at first,” he said. “You get used to the same place for 9-10 years, and I think it’s a little hard right now coming in and being the new guy and being lost and not knowing where to go. But it’ll be fun. It’s exciting. It’s kind of out of the comfort zone again, which is kind of what you want right now – to be uncomfortable. I don’t know, I’ve missed this feeling a little bit, so it’ll be good.”

It was a slow offseason for the second baseman, but the second baseman said he was weighing offers from several teams. Opportunity and organizational direction dictated most of his decision-making, but Kipnis admitted the forces around him were all, rather unsubtly, pulling him in one direction.

“They were telling me to take a deal, take a cut, whatever. Just get here,” he joked. “... It made sense, it really did. I think I didn't fully understand it until it was announced and my phone started blowing up and I realized just how many people this impacted around my life. Friends and family still live in Chicago, so it’s going to be exciting.”

The theme of renewed motivation has hung around Sloan Park like an early-morning Arizona chill, and Kipnis said part of the reason he feels the Cubs brought him in is to set a fire under some guys. He talked with Anthony Rizzo during the offseason, who talked about how the Cubs had struggled at times to put an appropriate emphasis on each of the 162 games in a regular season. That’s not a new problem in baseball, and it struck a chord with Kipnis, who himself was on plenty of talented Cleveland teams that never got over the hump. 

“They got a good core here. I’m well aware of that, they’re well aware of that, too,” he said. “I texted him and called him and asked him what happened last year, because I look at rosters, I look at St. Louis’, I look at all that, and I’m like, ‘I still would take your guys' roster.’” 

As for his direct competition, Kipnis said he hasn’t had a chance to really get to know Nico Hoerner yet, but doesn’t feel like the battle for second base has to be a contentious one by any means. At 32, Kipnis has been around long enough to understand the dynamics an aging veteran vs. a top prospect, and doesn't feel like it’s a situation where only one of them will end up benefiting. 

“I know he came up and had a pretty good success, so I think [it’s] going to be a competition, but at the same time, I’m not going to try to put him down,” he said. “I’d like to work with him, kind of teach him what I know too and hopefully both of us become better from it.”