White Sox

A little more on this whole CutlerO-line thing

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A little more on this whole CutlerO-line thing

The brouhaha over Jay Cutler saying that the offensive line is a concern until things sort out at the tackle and guard spots probably wont subside until the Bears go maybe five straight games averaging, oh, say 130 rushing yards and more than a rushing TD a game, and only have Cutler sacked maybe once a game.

Oh, wait. That already happened, the last five games of Cutlers season last year ending with the thumb injury vs. San Diego.

Never mind.

Brian Davis over at Yahoo Sports took a different tack on the Cutler comments, suggesting first that you really listen to the interview. Good suggestion.

As Ive said previously, Cutler said that there were concerns until its sorted out where players will be, how well Gabe Carimi and Chris Williams are coming off season-ending injuries, and seeing how JMarcus Webb works out (which should be worth watching if only because hell have a season and an offseason at left tackle, where he only started playing after the lockout last year).

Carimis return is expected well ahead of training camp. And the overall tackle situation already was upgraded when it was obvious early this offseason that Chris Williams was going back to his more natural position of tackle. Thats already an upgrade from Frank Omiyale, the swing tackle last season.

Which of Webb or Williams emerges as the starter or the swing tackle is what camp and preseason are about, but since both have played right and left tackle, this is a considerably stronger position than it would have been with a rookie going into development at this point.

Cutler did not trash his offensive line. Period. Any more than the linemen saying quarterback is a concern until they see that Cutler is all the way back from his broken thumb.

One interesting point of Cutlers comments was that the linemen still need to block even without Mike Martz making the calls. This is evincing concern that they wont? Isnt that obvious?

Cutler is a proven contrarian in his media moments. Not necessarily contentious, but if someone says, the new system under Mike Tice should help, shouldnt it? Cutlers obvious response is that, hey, it doesnt mean you dont still have to block.

But for what its worth, for those who didnt see the Martz light and realize it wasnt at the end of a tunnel but rather an oncoming train:

Before Martz arrived in Detroit, Jon Kitna was never sacked more than 37 times in any of nine previous NFL seasons. With Martz, Kitna was sacked 63 times in 2006 and 51 times the next year, his two seasons under Martz. That was with an offensive line containing three No. 1 draft picks and a No. 2.

This isnt new stuff. And neither is the obvious that the Bears offensive line has to pass-protect on third-and-8.

But if you dont like Lovie Smith, you dont like anything he says about his personnel. If you didnt like Jerry Angelo, whatever he did about the offensive line -- the one that had something to do with the Bears being No. 9 in rushing yards (10th in yards per carry) for the year and sixth in scoring when Cutler was hurt -- was bad.

That just didnt happen to be what Cutler was saying. You heard what you wanted to hear.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Chuck Garfien on Yasmani Grandal signing with the White Sox

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Chuck Garfien on Yasmani Grandal signing with the White Sox

SportsTalk Live is at the United Center for Blackhawks Authentic Fan Night. David Haugh, Charlie Roumeliotis and Scott King join Kap on the panel.

0:00 - The Blackhawks look to get back in the win column with the Lightning in town.

5:00 - Chuck Garfien joins Kap to talk about Yasmani Grandal signing with the White Sox. How much will this help the Sox sign more free agents? Plus the panel discusses how much this improves Willson Contreras' trade value as the Cubs reportedly shop him.

17:00 - Chase Daniel said Mitch Trubisky looked great in practice. Will that translate to the game on Sunday?

Listen here or in the embedded player below.

Sports Talk Live Podcast

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Morgan Park's Adam Miller another program-changing recruit for Illinois

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ADAM MILLER

Morgan Park's Adam Miller another program-changing recruit for Illinois

Illinois and head coach Brad Underwood landed their most important recruiting target for the second time in three seasons on Thursday night.

Morgan Park senior guard Adam Miller became the latest Mustang guard to commit to the Illini and Underwood when the preseason co-favorite for Player of the Year announced his decision during a public press conference at the Jordan Brand store on State Street.

A consensus top-40 national prospect in the Class of 2020, Miller's commitment to Illinois gives the program another highly-regarded in-state prospect. Just two years earlier, at the very same Jordan store and under very similar circumstances, Morgan Park guard Ayo Dosunmu announced his college decision to go to Illinois -- a commitment that changed local recruiting momentum at Illinois during Underwood's first full season.  

Although Miller's commitment shares similarities to Dosunmu's, Miller's pledge is also slightly different from his former high school teammate. Any program can win one major recruiting war over the big boys. By doing it twice in three years, it's a major signal that Underwood and Illinois are a force to be reckoned with when it comes to local recruiting. Landing Miller's commitment in a hotly-contested race over his other finalists of Arizona and Louisville, Miller's announcement on Thursday signifies that Illinois and Underwood are ready annually to compete with national powerhouse programs when it comes to keeping local talent at home.

While former Illinois coaches like Bruce Weber and John Groce failed to consistently keep, and develop, top in-state talents late in their tenures, Miller's commitment is a significant indication that Underwood and his staff are making positive recruiting inroads at home that could continue to last.

The term "pipeline" has become cliche in the recruiting world. But it certainly can't hurt Illinois to be continually involved with Morgan Park's best players. The Mustangs continue to churn out Division I prospects every single season. And Morgan Park has another high-major junior -- guard Brandon Weston -- waiting in the wings that Illinois is already recruiting. 

Illinois will certainly need to spread its recruiting efforts more throughout the Chicagoland area to maintain recruiting stability of top in-state talents. Grabbing a top-50 player in two out of three classes -- particularly in a basketball-crazy hotbed like Chicago -- is significant.

During his junior season, Miller took the city by storm as he was the state's most dominant scorer. The lefty averaged 28.4 points, 7.8 rebounds and 5.7 assists per game -- putting up multiple 40-point games and looking virtually unstoppable during certain stretches of play. Even as opposing defenses threw exotic zones and double-teams his way, it didn't do much to slow Miller down. 

Miller already faced a tough set of local expectations entering the 2019-20 season. Morgan Park returns a loaded, nationally-ranked team. There's a baseline expectation for Miller to replicate his stellar junior season. Those local expectations now become enormous since Miller is staying home and going to Illinois. 

Now that Miller's commitment is under his belt, he can focus on pushing Morgan Park to a potential city and state title as the preseason's No. 1 team in the area. Illinois can focus its recruiting efforts on getting additional reinforcements for Miller and his fellow 2020 recruits. And by the time Miller reaches Champaign next season, Illinois is optimistic that they'll be a consistent NCAA tournament presence once again.