White Sox

Latest Cutler critique iswell, just read it

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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.

Yoan Moncada is back at the top of the White Sox batting order

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USA TODAY

Yoan Moncada is back at the top of the White Sox batting order

Yoan Moncada’s time down near the bottom of the White Sox batting order came to a quick end this weekend. After just five games, Moncada returned to the top of the lineup for Friday’s game and was there again for Game 2 of the series with the visiting Kansas City Royals on Saturday.

It ended up being the “break” that manager Rick Renteria described it as, and the skipper, for one, believes that short stretch was beneficial to Moncada, who was struggling mightily when Renteria made that move last week.

Through the first 19 games of the second half, Moncada slashed .122/.250/.216 with three extra-base hits, four RBIs and 33 strikeouts. It was as noticeable a period of struggles at the plate as he’s had in his first full season in the majors, a campaign that has to this point failed to meet the big expectations the former No. 1 prospect in baseball carried with him into this season.

Renteria said that bumping Moncada down in the lineup would allow him to watch opposing pitchers face several other batters and remove the need to do certain things that come with batting leadoff.

For what it’s worth, Moncada got four hits — two of them for extra bases and one a home run — and walked twice in 18 plate appearances over the five games against the Cleveland Indians and Detroit Tigers. He struck out nine times. Friday, he returned to the leadoff spot and went 1-for-4 with a walk and a run scored (and no strikeouts).

“When we put him down in the bottom of the lineup, it’s because I wanted to have him see other players have multiple at-bats over the course of a couple of games,” Renteria said Saturday. “When you’re leading off, you have a chance of either working very well, working on base, getting your hits, whatever the case might be. But if it’s not working out, you start to get a little frustrated. You’re still grinding through it.

“The perspective that I’m giving him is, ‘Hey, listen, no matter who I put in there, they also make outs. Sometimes they don’t get on. Understand it’s just not you. It’s a difficult position in which you lead off the ballgame.’ I just wanted him to take a breath, take a step back, look at it, and then make an adjustment, allow him to get back into that situation.”

While the numbers from that five-game stretch aren’t enough to determine whether this is the start of a second-half turnaround for Moncada, Renteria said he did believe the experience to be a beneficial one for his second baseman.

“I thought it was beneficial,” he said. “I didn’t necessarily have this conversation to say, ‘Hey, did it work out for you for the last few days?’ Nothing like that. But as you’re talking to him, just in passing, as you go through conversations and you see where they’re at, hopefully we’re making the right decision and the right adjustments for them.”

Moncada still owns a .149 batting average in the second half. He’s on pace to strike out 235 times this season, which would be a new single-season major league record.

But this rebuilding season was always going to be about developmental growing pains. And the idea is that the experiences he’s going through now will pay dividends down the road, when the White Sox shift from rebuilding to contending and Moncada, the hope is, shifts from the developmental stage to the superstar stage.

Power Rankings: #6 - Nazareth

Power Rankings: #6 - Nazareth

NBCSportsChicago.com preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O’Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles will focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Starting July 30, we’ll unveil the @NBCSPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 24.

School: Nazareth Academy

Head coach: Tim Racki

Assistant coaches: Casey Moran, Joe Reynolds, Rudy Luna, Brody Budmayr, Jeff Tumpane, Joe Battaglia, Steve Gray, Tom Minogue, Matt Letcher, Larry White, Jonathon Bittle, Joe Felice

How they fared in 2017: 12-2 (6-1 East Suburban Catholic Conference), Nazareth Academy made the 2017 Class 6A state playoff field, defeated Springfield, Danville, Sacred Heart Griffin and Providence Catholic before losing to Prairie Ridge in the 6A state title game.

2018 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 24 vs. Lutheran North (Mo.)

Aug. 31 @ Lake Zurich

Sept. 7 @ Marian Central Catholic

Sept. 14 vs. St. Patrick

Sept. 21 @ Benet Academy

Sept. 28 @ Carmel

Oct. 5 vs. Marist

Oct. 12 vs. Joliet Catholic

Oct. 19 @ Marian Catholic

Biggest storyline: Can the Road Runners move up a class to 7A and win a state title in 2018?

Names to watch this season: RB/DB Devin Blakley (Miami of Ohio), WR/DB Michael Love (Bowling Green)

Biggest holes to fill: The Roadrunners welcome back 16 returning starters (7 offense, 9 defense) from last year's Class 6A state title runner-up team, yet more depth will be needed playing "up" in 7A this playoff season.

EDGY's Early Take: The Roadrunners and head coach Tim Racki (who will be playing up in Class 7A this year due to the IHSA Success Factor rule) came up just short in winning the Class 6A state title in 2017 and the 2018 Roadrunners bring back nearly every key player from that squad this fall. The offense will need to settle on a starting quarterback (including D1 recruit sophomore QB JJ McCarthy) while the offensive skills group is a major strength this fall. The Nazareth Academy defense is also loaded and senior DB/WR Diamond Evans along with senior DT Cameron Leach are just names among several others who are expected to make a major impact this season. If the Roadrunners offense can settle in under a new quarterback this team has the potential to win a state title in Class 7A.