Preps Talk

'Leadership' sentiments have a vaguely hollow ring

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'Leadership' sentiments have a vaguely hollow ring

Something isnt entirely lining up in all of the emotional accountablejobs talk and whats going to happen after the season.

The unnamed target of Marshalls accountabilityjobs declaration was assumed to be offensive coordinator Mike Tice. Marshall certainly wasnt talking about himself, or buddy Jay Cutler. Other wide-receiver jobs already have changed hands and the offensive line was one revolving calliope of accountability in the Green Bay game.

But heres the thing:

Cutler did not mesh with Ron Turner; the two had history going back to high school and college scholarships, and Turner was kept a tight rein on everyone.

Mike Martz was the next step up the doctrinaire chain. That didnt work for Cutler.

Tice, however, is a proven consensus manager. What that means is that coaches have not-insignificant input into game plans.

And so do quarterbacks.

If Cutler and Marshall are subtly or not so subtly attacking the play calling and game planning, it happens to be game plans in which Cutler has had a hand. The plan is developed and the quarterback involved heavily on what plays he likes, doesnt like, is or isnt comfortable with, and so on. Jeremy Bates, Cutlers hand-picked position coach, is involved.

And heres the kicker: Tice afforded Cutler the freedom to audible. If the play calling isnt to Cutlers liking, well

As for after changes after the season, I dont think we can worry about that right now, Cutler said. Weve got to worry about Arizona and then whatever happens at the end of the season, thats going to be a cause for concern and Phils going to do whatevers right for this team.

Good idea to give a shout-out to the general manager, who also happens to be the guy in whose hands Cutlers chances for a contract extension rest.

What about 15?

The work and demeanor of Brandon Marshall has been exceptional this season. But be careful of something here.

Losing doesnt automatically build character but it does unfailingly reveal it. Marshall was upset after the Packers throttled him for two catches in Green Bay. He lost his cool at the end of a difficult first half in San Francisco. And his accountable outburst was after another losing performance against the Packers.

The problem here is public criticism.

Cutler showing up teammates with mannerisms is no different than calling out unspecified players or coaches or whomever after a bad game.

That said, Marshall at least knows he fouled up a little bit there.

This is a new role for me as far as leadership, he said. I know Im not perfect. Maybe Im approaching it the wrong way, but there are different ways you can lead. You can lead by example. You can lead by encouragement. You can lead by speaking, creative energy. There are so many different ways. You can lead sometimes by calling guys out. That depends on the situation.

Ive been reading a lot of books on leadership, studying documentaries on some of the greats like Ray Lewis and Michael Jordan and their approach to the game and more importantly just leadership. This is my first year of really being in this role in a positive way.

Ripping people publicly isnt a positive way, much as it might make for good sound bytes or quotes.

And regarding 54.

Heres a last thought on Brian Urlachers vented frustration at the fans for their booing and the media segment that simply wants Lovie Smith fired.

The booing was directed primarily at the offense, which again had not only failed to score more than one touchdown, but had managed that dubious feat in spite of:

first-and-goal from the Green Bay 5field goal;

the special-teams takeaway at the Green Bay 16zero yards, field goal; and

56 seconds remaining on the clock, final possession. ran a total of three plays, net one yard.

The point is that Urlacher was mad about teammates being booed and he was at least sticking up, misguided or not, for the whole team. The defense wasnt being booed; that group allowed the Packers 14 points plus the seven on a 26-yard drive following Cutlers interception just before halftime.

It was Urlacher getting defensive over the Bears, not just Lovie Smith.

VOTE: Viewers' Choice Game Of The Week

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NBC Sports Chicago

VOTE: Viewers' Choice Game Of The Week

Who wants it more?

We are putting High School Lites, Chicagoland's top prep sports show, in the hands of area football fans in our "Viewers' Choice Game of the Week." Fans will get the chance to pick one game that the @NBCSPreps crew will cover on Friday night. We will send our cameras to the game that gets the most votes; highlights and postgame reaction of that game will appear on that night's "High School Lites" broadcast at 11 p.m. — just after Chicago White Sox baseball. The show also live streams at www.nbcsportschicago.com/watchlive. High School Lites will also have broadcast replays at 7:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. the following Saturday. This week we spotlight some Indiana vs. Illinois border wars:

Gary (West Side) at Woodstock, 7 p.m.

Hammond (HS) at Reavis, 7 p.m.

Hammond (Gavit) at St. Ignatius, 7:30 p.m.  

Poll opens Monday at 12 p.m. and closes Thursday at 4 p.m. Here is what fans need to do to vote:

— Follow @NBCSPreps on Twitter.
— Note the "pinned Tweet" atop the @NBCSPreps feed. Vote for the game you want us to cover.
— Spread the word! 

We will make an announcement on @NBCSPreps just after 4 p.m. Thursday with the official results of which game will be covered. And as a reminder, be sure to follow @NBCSPreps for updates on the "Viewers' Choice Game of the week," along with other high school sports news, scores and highlights this season.

Power Rankings: #4 - Batavia

Power Rankings: #4 - Batavia

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: Batavia

Head coach: Dennis Piron

Assistant coaches: Matt Holm, Billy Colamatteo, Sean Anderson, PJ White, Dan Cadena, Adam Lester, Steve Bailey, Alvin Cole, Shane Holl and Gary Urwiler

How they fared in 2017: 13-1 (5-1 Upstate Eight River Conference). Batavia made the 7A state playoff field and defeated Glenbard North, Wheaton North, Lincoln-Way West and Benet Academy. They went on to defeat Lake Zurich in the state title game to capture the 7A state championship.

2018 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 24 @ Lemont

Aug. 31 vs Naperville North

Sept. 7 vs Lake Park

Sept. 14 @ Glenbard North

Sept. 21 vs Wheaton Warrenville South

Sept. 28 vs Geneva

Oct. 5 @ St. Charles East

Oct. 12 vs St. Charles North

Oct. 19 @ Wheaton North

[MORE: 89 Days to Kickoff - St. Charles East]

Biggest storyline: Can the Bulldogs, winners of state titles in 2013 and 2017, get back to state and claim another 7A title?

Names to watch this season: LB Luke Weerts (North Dakota State) and LB Michael Jansey Jr. (Northwestern)

Biggest holes to fill: The Bulldogs will need to replace nine graduated starters from last seasons's state championship squad. 

EDGY's Early Take: The Bulldogs are turning the page from their championship season, which was capped off with a 21-14 OT victory over Lake Zurich in the title game. While the offense will be inexperienced to start the season, the program has never been in better shape under head coach Dennis Piron. The Bulldogs' defense feature two D-1 senior team leaders in Luke Weerts (North Dakota State) and Michael Jansey Jr. (Northwestern). The offense will look to run the football behind two starters back on the offensive line in senior Evan Holden and senior Anthony Glisson. Batavia will also see a ramped-up schedule, thanks to the new DuKane Conference. It will challenge the Bulldogs week in and week out. Bulldogs fans also have an added treat: this season marks the 100th rendition of the Batavia-Geneva rivalry game. If Batavia can get their play-action passing game sorted out they have the tools to make another deep run in 2018.