Bulls

Marshall: Look past black-white stereotypes on Bears new starting QB vs. 49ers

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Marshall: Look past black-white stereotypes on Bears new starting QB vs. 49ers

Jason Campbell is not Jay Cutler. That much is pretty obvious.

Jason's black and Jay's white, veteran sociologist Brandon Marshall pointed out on Friday. Then he urged looking past stereotypes when thinking of the Bears starting quarterback next Monday Campbell vs. the one who is down for at least the next game with a concussion.

You know what, it's the opposite, said Marshall, who moonlights as a Pro Bowl wide receiver. You would think Campbell would be like Michael Vick.

But J-Cut is like Vick, and Jason is more of a pocket guy, I would say. Cut likes to run around a little bit, so that's a little opposite. But because of the picture we paint on black quarterbacks, it's supposed to be a guy who runs around a lot, but Jason does a good job in the pocket, really reading coverage, really taking control of the offense.

Campbell in fact might like to think he has a little Vick in him, however.

We both have big arms, we both move around a little bit, he said, comparing himself to Cutler. We have differences in certain things we do and how we see things but were both pretty athletic.

But it is in the control of the offense that Campbells key lies.

Check-downs = avoiding sacks

Campbell had the nickname Captain Check-down with the Raiders, not totally framed as criticism. The moniker derived from his quick decisions to check down to secondary, safety valve receivers rather than take sacks, not an altogether negative tendency.

He has been sacked once every 15.5 pass plays for his career, compared with Cutlers once every 16.6. The latters numbers increased dramatically since coming to the Bears, whether for reasons of poor protection, poor decision-making, holding the ball too long, poor receivers or whatever.

Against a Houston defense that Campbell told CSNChicago.com was clearly stacking to take away deep balls in a one-score game, Campbell presented two different personas, mixing Captain Check-down with Air Cutler.

Cutler went to five different receivers in the first half vs. Houston. Campbell distributed the ball to seven in the second, his first action regular-season action since breaking his collarbone Oct. 16, 2011.

The Marshall Ratio

Ironically, Cutler has been questioned on his excessive targeting of Marshall. That occurred four times of 14 first-half attempts.

Campbell went to Marshall nearly twice as often, nine of 19 throws in the second half (47 percent), including once for 45 yards.

But where Cutler has made less use of backs and tight ends this season, and just five of 14 targets last Sunday, Campbell went to tight ends and backs nine times.

Cutler was intercepted twice inside the Houston 40; Campbell was not picked off and finished with a 70.9 passer rating, respectable for coming in rep-less in practice, in the rain, against the best defense in the AFC.

Campbell already is installing control as a guide.

I cant put so much pressure on myself to feel like, Ive got to make every play or Ive got to do this or do that, because you cant play the game that way, Campbell said. I cant be putting pressure on myself to feel like, This is your one game to dictate what youve got to do.

Thumb injury leaves Wendell Carter Jr. on the outside looking in at NBA All-Rookie teams

Thumb injury leaves Wendell Carter Jr. on the outside looking in at NBA All-Rookie teams

Wendell Carter Jr. was on his way to becoming the second consecutive Bulls player to make an All-Rookie Team, but a thumb injury that required surgery in January ultimately proved to be the deciding factor in his omission.

The All-Rookie Teams were announced on Tuesday afternoon and, as expected, Carter was not on either. The seventh overall pick had a promising rookie campaign in which he averaged 10.3 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game. Those marks ranked 10th, 4th and 2nd, respectively, among first-year players.

But Carter's thumb injury limited him to just 44 games. Of the 10 players who made the first and second teams, Memphis' Jaren Jackson Jr. played the fewest games (58) while the group averaged 72.8 games played.

Carter's thumb injury was initially diagnosed as a jam, but further testing revealed that surgery was the best course of action for the then-19-year-old (he turned 20 in April). The Bulls opted not to rush Carter back at the end of the season - a wise decision on multiple levels - and Carter, when he spoke with media members for the first time after undergoing surgery, said his goals had moved to the long-term.

“So many people have had this injury and they don’t get it taken care of and bones are coming out of their socket very easily,” Carter said. “I just wanted to eliminate all that. If I was to get in a cast and come back and the tendon didn’t come back out, then I’d have to wait another eight weeks and get the surgery. So I just went ahead and knocked it out to get it out of the way.

"It's all good. I'm just looking at the long-term now."

He was one of the league's youngest rookies but hardly played like it. He moved into the starting lineup for good just a few days into the preseason and wore multiple hats for the Bulls. Injuries to Kris Dunn, Bobby Portis and Denzel Valentine thrust Carter into a significant scoring role for the Bulls, sometimes acting as the No. 2 option behind Zach LaVine early in the season.

He took on more of a traditional post-up role - with solid footwork making him a serviceable roll man - when those players returned and Jim Boylen took over, slowing down the offense. He shot a respectable 48.5% from the field and his 79.5% mark from the foul line showed a nice touch. But he also went 6 of 32 from beyond the arc in his rookie season. He'll need to find some more versatility on the offensive end, though there will be more floor spacing in his sophomore season after the Bulls added Otto Porter Jr. at the trade deadline.

He is one of five rookies over the last seven seasons to average at least 7 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game, joining Andre Drummond, Anthony Davis, Nerlens Noel, Kristaps Porzingis, Karl-Anthony Towns and Joel Embiid in that category. That's not to suggest that Carter will have the same career arc as those All-Stars plus Noel - he's got plenty to do on the defensive end - but in Carter the Bulls have found a defensive anchor and someone to complement Lauri Markkanen on that end of the floor.

He's a raw talent who showed promise as a rookie. And while it didn't result in an All-Rookie bid, the future is bright in the middle for the Bulls. Like many of his teammates, expectations will increase for Carter as they enter Year 3 of their rebuild.

Check out the All-Rookie Teams below.

Jake Arrieta full of appreciation in return to Wrigley mound: ‘I’ll never forget this city’

Jake Arrieta full of appreciation in return to Wrigley mound: ‘I’ll never forget this city’

The last time Jake Arrieta pitched at Wrigley Field, his night ended with Cubs fans giving him a rousing standing ovation. The former Cubs right hander tossed 6 2/3 innings of one-run ball, leading the Cubs to victory in Game 4 of the 2017 NLCS—their only win against the Los Angeles Dodgers that series.

Arrieta returned to Wrigley Field as a visitor on Monday night, making his first start against the Cubs since joining the Philadelphia Phillies last season. Ironically, Arrieta’s counterpart for the night was Yu Darvish, who ultimately replaced Arrieta in the Cubs starting rotation.

Despite now donning Phillies red, Cubs fans once again showed their love for Arrieta, giving him a lengthy standing ovation ahead of his first plate appearance. Darvish even stepped off the mound in respect for the moment.

“I loved it, absolutely loved it,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said to reporters postgame. “[I’m] very happy that our fans would acknowledge him like that. Yu stepped away from the mound nicely. Jake deserved it.”

Arrieta tipped his helmet in appreciation for the crowd, taking in the moment for more than 30 seconds before stepping into the batter’s box. After the game, he told reporters that moment brought back memories of his time with the Cubs.

“That was something that really brought back great memories of getting that same sort of ovation pretty much on a nightly basis,” Arrieta said. “[I’m] very appreciative of that. I can’t say thank you enough to the city of Chicago, I really can’t.”

Arrieta took fans back to his Cubs tenure on Monday, throwing six innings of one run ball in the Phillies’ 5-4 10-inning win. Although the 33-year-old didn’t pick up the victory, he matched Darvish—who threw six innings of three-run ball—pitch by-pitch.

Phillies manager Gabe Kapler noted how well Arrieta handled his emotions throughout the night.

“I thought he handled the emotions really well. I thought he was in control of the game even when we were down,” Kapler said to reporters. “He always maintained his poise and he just got stronger as the outing went on and that’s why we were able to have him take down the sixth inning for us.”

It’s well-documented how Arrieta’s career improved for the better after the Cubs acquired him in a trade with the Baltimore Orioles in July 2013. When the Cubs acquired him, Arrieta held a career 5.46 ERA in 69 games (63 starts). He finished his Cubs career with a 2.73 ERA in 128 regular season starts. He also won five postseason games with the Cubs, including Games 2 and 6 of the 2016 World Series.

Despite moving on in free agency, Arrieta spoke highly of his time with the Cubs, their fans and the city of Chicago.

“Cubs fans all across the country, all across the world, they really respect and appreciate what guys are able to do here for them,” he said. “It means a lot, it really does.

"I’ll never forget this city, the fan base, the organization, everything that they did for me. It was 4 1/2 incredible years of my career.”

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