Cubs

Matchup of Elites I: Johnson vs. Tillman

935177.png

Matchup of Elites I: Johnson vs. Tillman

Every so often a game brings together not just elite players but elite players for two teams in exactly opposing positions, with the prospect of going against each other virtually every snap.
 
Such will the case be on Sunday when the Bears and Houston Texans line up against each other (assuming that one is not called away to be with his wife in childbirth):
 
Texans WR Andre Johnson vs. Bears CB Charles Tillman.
 
Bears WR Brandon Marshall vs. Texans CB Johnathan Joseph.
 
All four have been Pro Bowl selections. Both cornerbacks were chosen last year. Marshall has represented the AFC three times (MVP once), Johnson five times. Johnson is 6-3, the opponents' big receiver against whom 6-2 Tillman has been matched ever since his rookie year.
 
Johnson has an NFL record 60-plus receptions in each of his first eight seasons, 42 this year, tied for 18th in the NFL. Tillman, who endured Johnsons 10 catches, 148 yards and two touchdowns in Houstons 2008 game-16 win that cost the Bears the playoffs, has shut down Calvin Johnson this year to go with his two interceptions, both returned for touchdowns.
 
I knew that about Tillman last time we played him, Johnson said. Whenever you get the ball, you just have to make sure youve got it tucked away well and make sure youve got it protected.
 
Lovie Smith saw Johnson in 2004, Smiths first as Bears coach, Johnsons second with the Texans (drafted third overall in 2003, the year Tillman was drafted in the secod round). He saw Johnson again in 2008. Four more years have not dimmed the luster of an elite at his position.
 
He was a great player back then. We see the same thing now, Smith said. The last couple of years he had some injuries thats hurt him a little bit. When hes healthy, hes as good as there is. We played some good receivers this year, and hes as good as there is out there.

Cubs Talk Podcast: Giving Thanks to the Cubs

wrigley_field_shot.jpg
USA TODAY

Cubs Talk Podcast: Giving Thanks to the Cubs

In this Thanksgiving-themed episode of the Cubs Talk Podcast, Luke Stuckmeyer, David Kaplan, and Tony Andracki discuss what they're most thankful for relating to the Cubs (1:00), with responses ranging from the upgrades at Wrigley Field to the hiring of Theo Epstein and Joe Maddon.

Then, in a nod to Black Friday, our panel debates the best deals the Cubs have ever made (7:10), including trades for Sammy Sosa, Ryne Sandberg, Jake Arrieta and more. Plus, Kap tells us how Harry Caray came to be the Cubs announcer after many years with the White Sox (15:00).

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below: