Bears

Random News of the Day: Blazing a trail

206067.jpg

Random News of the Day: Blazing a trail

Tuesday, July 6, 20101:08 PM

By Joe CollinsCSNChicago.com
Raise your hand if you've had enough of these NBA rumors.

I'm one of the people that just wants this story to end. Over the last week, we have seen the TMZ'ification of sports magnified to near unhealthy levels. Every day has involved sports paparazzi snapping photos and gathering video of NBA free agents outside restaurants, hotels, stadiums and office buildings. Every rumor contradicts the one that preceded it. The anticipation builds. The tension mounts. For a good amount of sports fans, this kind of theater is great entertainment.

But I need a break. We all do, I think. Just get it done already, you know?

People have different ways to ease their own stress and anxiety levels. For me, I head to the bike trail. You get your exercise, enjoy the scenery and boost your self-esteem a little. What's not to love?

Apparently, 10 things by my count.

I never realized the comedy that makes up a day at the jogging path or bike trail. It is loaded with people trying too hard, people relaxing too hard and people that simply got lost along the way. The trail is full of things that actually cause stress ... and not ease it. Here is a list of the top 10 characters on your neighborhood path:

1) The Swiss Army Trail Person: The comic relief of the bike trail. Since when did a walk in the park become so complicated? It's like somebody covered these guys in Krazy Glue and threw them into one of the shelves at Walgreens. Apparently, some people just cant go an hour without their iPodfanny packheadbandswristbandsleg warmersBluetoothsunglasseschrome novelty shaving kitAltoidscompact umbrellacar key ring holderchaw tinPower Bar holder ... etc. Its too much. Its not healthy.

2) The Lance Armstrong: Before I go on, I should mention that you need to check out the Tour de France on Versus ... even for a few minutes. Some of the crashes these guys endure are incredible. These bikers are fine ... as long as they stay in France. Do we really need them among all of the everyday walkers and joggers? The Lance Armstrong types have a trace of "Swiss Army Trail Person" in them as well: skin-tight spandex bike suit? Check. Livestrong bracelet? Check. Five-hundred-sixty-five dollars worth of safety gear from the mall? Check. Blitzing by you at 40 mph while ricocheting off a kid eating an ice cream cone, all-the-while shouting "ON YOUR LEFT"? You better believe thats a check. Of the hockey variety.

3) The Rollerblading Group: The rollerblading group always seems to look like they're getting filmed as part of a 1990s sitcom intro: carefree and all over the place. Lots of smiles, lots of bad skating, lots of potential accidents. Fortunately, this is where the Lance Armstrong guy comes in real handy.

4) The Marathon Trainer: I have trained for -- and completed -- three marathons in my life. Trust me, were among the most annoying people on the planet. Were the ones who do some kind of jump-rope dance at water fountains -- to maintain a jogging motion -- because we cant stop for anything. Were the ones that get furious if theres a loose pebble on the path. We hate everybody on bikes. We despise anything that moves slower than our own pace. We dont pay attention to red lights ... or flashing "don't walk" signals. Were the idiots you see jogging in a blizzardhail stormtornadoozone action dayflood. Were like that "Rudy" character ... only 23,281,293 times more annoying.

5) Johnny And Susie Chit-Chat: "Susie, I had a wonderful time with you on our first walking date. Mind if I call you again sometime? Wait ... say that again? Move where? Oh ... you mean off the bike trail? Oh, the bikers and joggers wont mind. The bike trail is big enough for everybody. They can go around us. I know we just walked three miles. Im just too lazy and ignorant to move another three feet off the asphalt and into the grass where well be more safe anyway. Were not hurting anyone. It's fine. Maybe Ill also fiddle with my cell phone while standing right in the middle of the path, too. I might even bend down to tie my shoes. Or even send a text message or two without looking up once to see if people are in my way. Let's do this again soon! Same time, same place?"

6) The Novelty Bike Crowd: Nothing says fun like trying to get out of the way of a wobbly penny farthing rider. And dont even get me started on the people that rent those "tandem" bikes like its an old Doublemint Gum commercial. If you're lucky, on a Saturday afternoon, you might come across a unicyclist juggling bowling pins, a chainsaw and a lit torch.

7) The Chalk Artisans: Look, I think its great that your friend is jamming at a club tonight with the seating capacity of seven and a 20 suggested donation at the door. Im fine with that. But Id rather not have the message chalk-scribbled on the bike path -- a message that Im going to run over in 4 ... 3 ... 2 ...1. Please move. Hand me a flyer instead. Then, when I get 20 feet away, I can throw it in the garbage can just like the other 2,000 that came before me.

8) The Family: No particular reason to add these guys ... but just add the word "family" to the end of any of the above categories. Maalox suggested.

9) The Skateboarding Gang: A pure crack-up because they can never get those jumps down pat, can they? Keep practicing the ollies, guys. Maybe on the 943rd try youll get it. And hopefully by that time youll be doing it in a TJ Maxx parking lot, where you won't be accidentally ramming skateboards into people's shins.

And finally...

10) The Stroller-Joggers: The only redeeming quality about this situation is that the kids in the seat don't fully realize the embarrassment factor. For a woman to be a stroller-jogger is one thing. But for a man, isn't that pretty much the end? I mean, you might as well buy the minivan, Pete Yorn songs, mineral water and endless supply of polo shirts that go along with it.

A happy list!

I almost want to hear more NBA rumors.

Or something like that.

Joe Collins is an assignment desk editor for Comcast SportsNet and contributor to CSNChicago.com.

Film review: Why wasn't Khalil Mack an effective pass rusher against the Patriots?

khalilmackfilmreview1.png
.

Film review: Why wasn't Khalil Mack an effective pass rusher against the Patriots?

Khalil Mack was not 100 percent against the New England Patriots, a development that became abundantly clear over the course of the Bears’ 38-31 loss.
 
Mack rushed Tom Brady on only 16 of his 54 snaps, dropping into coverage more frequently (18 times) than he tried to get after the quarterback, according to Pro Football Focus. He didn’t record a sack or a quarterback hit, and while PFF credited him with two pressures, his impact was far more limited than it was in the first four weeks of the season.
 
So what went wrong? Was his ineffectiveness due to a bum ankle, or something Brady and the Patriots did?
 
The answer is somewhere in between, after reviewing the 15 clear pass rushing snaps Mack had (the 16th came on a pop pass touchdown to James White, and while it technically counts in PFF’s totals, there was no opportunity for anyone to rush Brady given he got rid of the ball in about a third of a second).
 
The blow-by-blow:
 
No. 1: Mack is lined up, as he was for almost all of these snaps, over the left side of New England’s offensive line. Tight end Dwayne Allen blocks him on play-action, which delays Mack’s rush a bit. While Brady takes about 2.8 seconds to get the ball out on a short pass to running back Sony Michel, the throw goes away from Mack, and he doesn’t have much of a chance on this play. Still, he isn’t able to beat Allen, which becomes a theme here.
 
No. 2: Left tackle Trent Brown has Mack singled, and immediately retreats as soon as the ball is snapped. But that’s by design — running back James White leaks out in the flat, and as soon as Mack engages Brown (instead of being responsible for covering White), Brady dumps the ball off to his running back for a gain of 14 yards. There wasn’t much Mack could’ve done differently here, though New England’s first drive of the game ends with Mack missing a tackle on a Julian Edelman touchdown.
 
No. 3: From the left, White chips Mack, and instead of engaging with Brown, Mack flows back toward the middle of the field as Brady throws a short pass over the middle. Brady needed just a shade under three seconds to get the ball out on this pass.
 
No. 4: This began as one of Mack’s better pass rushes of the game. With his hand in the ground on third-and-seven, Mack has a strong rush toward Brown and executes a good spin move on the left tackle. But Brown was able to re-set and re-gain leverage on Mack after the spin move, taking Mack out of the play. Leonard Floyd, rushing from the right, pressures Brady and forces him to scramble. But from the time Brady got the snap to when he decided to scramble, about 4.3 seconds go by.
 
No. 5: This was the fourth-and-one conversion from Brady to Josh Gordon. While Brady essentially stares down Gordon and leaves his blind side exposed to Mack, he throws the pass about 1.5 seconds after receiving the snap.
 
No. 6. Another quick throw that gets out in a second and a half. By the time Mack engages with Brown, Brady already has got rid of the ball.
 
No. 7: Allen motions from right to left near the goal line, with his responsibility to block Mack — though Mack doesn’t immediately rush at Allen. By the time Mack beats Allen, Brady — who was rolling to his left, toward Mack — is throwing the ball, though the pass falls incomplete.
 
No. 8: Mack is able to pressure Brady by knocking Brown back, and Floyd forces Brady to step up in the pocket. Mack dis-engages and goes back toward the line of scrimmage to chase Brady, forcing him to get the ball out quickly for an incompletion.
 
No. 9: Mack gets doubled on the left and is a non-factor. The sideline mic picks up someone yelling “get him, Leonard” but Floyd slips to the ground while one-on-one with backup right tackle LaAdrian Waddle. Akiem Hicks, though, provides pressure up the middle and forces Brady to throw deep and out of bounds, though he had a little over three seconds to make that decision.
 
No. 10: Near the goal line, the Patriots go hurry-up from under center, and Mack is barely set when the ball is snapped. Roquan Smith and Bilal Nichols, though, quickly generate pressure up the middle, leading to the Bears’ only sack of the game.
 
No. 11: On another quick throw — Brady gets it out in about a second and a half — Brown throws his right shoulder into Mack, making sure he has no chance of affecting the play.
 
No. 12: Mack goes to the inside shoulder of Brown and picks up left guard Joe Thuney on a stunt with Eddie Goldman, which generates some pressure, but Brady makes a short throw a little under three seconds after receiving the snap that’s dropped by White.
 
No. 13: This was one of Mack’s most disappointing pass rushing snaps. Facing a third and two after Mitch Trubisky’s second interception, Mack is one-on-one with Brown and isn’t able to mount any pressure, allowing Brady to easily pick out White in about 2.2 seconds for a first down.
 
No. 14: Mack is lined up to the right this time but gets successfully chipped by Allen. By the time Brady throws the ball, Mack is about five yards from the quarterback, and this pass went for 55 yards to Josh Gordon, setting up a touchdown.
 
No. 15: Mack is one-on-one with Brown and doesn’t mount pressure, though Roy Robertson-Harris does, forcing Brady to make an ill-advised throw that’s picked off by Kyle Fuller.
 
Some visual evidence:
 

The verdict: New England did occasionally commit multiple players to Mack, but frequently it was only the left tackle (Brown) or the tight end (Allen) who were on him. And while Brady is a master of getting the ball out quick and protecting his body, he didn’t seem bothered by Mack at all.
 
The quick throws would’ve been part of New England’s gameplan if Mack were healthy, but chances are the Patriots wouldn’t have singled Mack as much as they did — and almost certainly not with a tight end. That Brown and Allen had the success they did blocking Mack (Allen, in particular, was excellent in blocking Mack while the Patriots were running the ball late in the fourth quarter) speaks to Mack not being 100 percent.
 
The Bears may not get Mack back to 100 percent in the near future, though Nagy said the highest paid defensive player in the NFL is “kind of a freak in regards to his health and how he goes and pain tolerance.” Chances are, Mack will continue to play — he’s never missed a game in his career — but if he does, the Bears need to get more production out of him, especially when there’s only one player keeping him from the opposing quarterback.

Podcast: Bold predictions for the Cubs offseason

harper_and_machado_bold_predictions_podcast_slide.jpg
USA TODAY

Podcast: Bold predictions for the Cubs offseason

With the MLB offseason about to kick off, we run down the boldest predictions for the Cubs winter from around the NBC Sports Chicago Cubs content team. Topics include where Bryce Harper and Manny Machado will sign, how much money they’ll get, what the Cardinals will do this winter, Cubs offseason trades and how Theo Epstein’s front office may add to the pitching staff.

 

One topic we could all agree on was David Ross' potential as Cubs bench coach if the incumbent Brandon Hyde ends up taking a job as manager for another team around the league.

 

Listen to the entire podcast here and check out all of our bold predictions below:

 

 

David Kaplan

 

—Anthony Rizzo and his new wife, Emily, will adopt Manny Machado, change his last name and see Manny Rizzo playing third base for the 2019 Cubs.

—Because of the Rizzo move, the Cubs will move Kris Bryant to a full-time outfielder.

—The Cubs will trade away Jose Quintana and sign Patrick Corbin.

—The Cubs will sign a pair of former Indians relievers for the back end of the bullpen in Andrew Miller and Cody Allen.

—The Cubs will trade Kyle Schwarber to the Royals for Whit Merrifield, who will start 155 games in the leadoff spot in the order.

—Joe Maddon will be a lot more consistent with the Cubs' lineup and batting order all season.

 

Kelly Crull

 

—Anthony and Emily Rizzo will receive more wedding gifts from Cubs fans than Kris and Jessica Bryan received.

—Anthony Rizzo will train this offseason so he will be able to sing — or play the piano — for the National Anthem at Wrigley in 2019.

—The Cubs will have no money left to remodel the media room at Wrigley Field.

 

Luke Stuckmeyer

 

—The Captain Morgan Club at Wrigley Field is going to be replaced by Kap's Kryo & Keto Korner.

—The Cubs will finally find a solution to the leadoff hitter issue.

 

Tony Andracki

 

—The Cubs sign Bryce Harper for less than $250 million. (He follows 23 people on Twitter)
—Manny Machado does not get a contract for more than $250 million, either.
—The Cardinals will sign Craig Kimbrel and either Machado or Josh Donaldson to play 3B. 

 

Rationale: St. Louis could really use the bat and closer and they have a sense of urgency in the division this winter we haven't seen from them in at least a decade. The Cubs and Brewers have clearly been better for two seasons now and look to have a better chance at contending than the Cardinals in 2019, as well. That can't be sitting well with the "Best Fans in Baseball." 

 

Jeff Nelson, producer

 

—The Cubs will trade 2 of the following players:  Kyle Schwarber, Ian Happ, Addison Russell, Albert Almora Jr.

—The Cardinals will sign Manny Machado to play third base.

—Because of construction delays, the visitors’ clubhouse will not be ready for the home opener, forcing the Pirates to dress at their hotel and come to the ballpark in full uniform.

Mike Piff, social media manager

—Cubs sign Nick Markakis.
—Cubs sign Tyson Ross.

Eric Strobel, producer

—The Cubs 2019 saves leader is not currently on the roster.

Rationale: We saw what happened to the bullpen in Brandon Morrow's absence; it got the job done by and large, but was not longer truly feared. Deep 'pens are the norm in October now with lockdown relievers being counted on more and more. The front office knows they can't truly entrust that kind of workload to Morrow with his injury history - Theo admitted as much in his end-of-season press conference. While they probably will not make a big splash, a huge focus of the offseason will be to surround Morrow/Strop/Edwards/etc. with as many talented arms as possible. The Cubs could very well enter next season without a designated closer, but if they do, it will not be Brandon Morrow.

Scott Changnon, multi-platform producer

—The Cubs will sign Bryce Harper.

Rationale: "I dunno, maybe."

Nate Poppen, producer

—Cubs sign Andrew McCutchen, plug him into CF and make Almora a 4th OF (or expendable)
—Bryce Harper signs with Yankees.
—Manny Machado signs with Angels.

Matt Buckman, producer

Non-roster prediction: The Cubs will welcome Sammy Sosa back to Wrigley Field. Sammy turns 50 this winter, and fueled by our wonderful documentary on 1998, the Cubs will finally mend their broken bond with Sammy and bring him back to Wrigley.

Roster prediction: The Cubs will trade Kyle Schwarber for a leadoff hitter. Joe has had to get very creative with the top of his order since Dexter Fowler left. Though the front office has downplayed the importance of a lead-off hitter the last two off-seasons, they will look to add one for 2019 so that Joe doesn’t have to be so creative. They won’t have a place to play Schwarber after they sign Harper so they will swap his power for a new “you go, we go” guy. Look at KC or TB as AL teams that need to add power and also have guys who could potentially lead off for the Cubs. Mallex Smith (TB) or Whit Merrifield (KC) would be interesting options.