Preps Talk

Saints' Brees at a standstill

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Saints' Brees at a standstill

By Ryan Thomas
CSNChicago.com

To say that New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees is optimistic that a deal will get done soon with the team, would be a fair assumption.

The six-time Pro Bowler, in an interview with the "The Dan Patrick Show" on Tuesday, said that there is "no new progress or any news to speak of," yet he remains confident that a long-term extension will be reached before the July 16 deadline.

In regards to playing underneath the franchise tag for the upcoming season, that doesn't seem to be in the cards for the 11-year vet.

"I've played under the franchise tag before back in 2005 with the San Diego Chargers, and that did not end well for me, that ended with me having a dislocated throwing shoulder the last game of the season, going into a year where I didn't have a contract, and fighting for my career."

While Brees set the NFL record for passing yards in a single season, and brought a championship to New Orleans, one would tend to think that a hefty pay-out in his contract, should be warranted at this point.

But as it stands now, neither side seems to be willing to budge. At the end of the day the NFL is a business, and are the Saints, amidst a controversial bounty scandal, prioritizing the re-signing of their franchise quarterback?

As far as any developments go, with-in the investigation of the NFL bounty scandal, Brees has taken a rather supportive approach, defending his teammates, coaches, and the Saints organization in it's entirety.

"I really to this point have not seen any hard evidence, any truth that shows these guys were contributing money or accepting money for a pay to injure scheme, I think that pay for performance, has been womped together with pay to injure in this whole thing."

While it can be expected that any teammate, especially the leader of the team, would make it a priority to protect the integrity of those he's left the greatest impression on, is it realistic for the head of the locker room to avoid any responsibility in the matter?

When asked about how exactly he thinks Commissioner Roger Goodell has dealt with the situation, Brees was pretty emphatic about the entire investigation
being a grave mistake.

"Everything has been either twisted or fabricated, or it just seems like this entire NFL investigation has been geared towards a predetermined conclusion, that they wanted to reach for whatever reason, as opposed to just going out and trying to identify the facts that have been presented thus far, do not back up the punishment that's been levied."

With heated exchanges and sparring words from both parties, in the eye of the public, the investigation could get a lot uglier before things start to calm down
and fall into place.

Aside from the differing opinions, and the constant presence of controversy, both sides seem to want the truth to surface so the game of football can once again become the topic of discussion.

Illinois AP football rankings: Week 8

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NBC Sports Chicago

Illinois AP football rankings: Week 8

The Illlinois high school football AP polls are out. Here are the latest rankings of Illinois high school football teams in each class, according to an Associated Press panel of sportswriters:

Class 8A

No. Team W-L Pts Prv
1. Lincoln-Way East (8) 8-0 80 1
2. Loyola 6-2 66 2
3. Warren 8-0 59 3
4. Homewood-Flossmoor 7-1 54 5
5.  Neuqua Valley 7-1 52 T-6
6. Minooka 8-0 36 8
7.  Niles Notre Dame 7-1 35 4
8. Oswego 8-0 24 9
9. Hinsdale Central 7-1 19 T-6
10. Bolingbrook 6-2 5 10

Others receiving votes: South Elgin 4, Maine South 3, Edwardsville 1, Huntley 1, St. Charles East 1.

Class 7A

No. Team W-L Pts Prv
1. (Chicago) Mt. Carmel (7) 8-0 79 1
2. Nazareth (1) 8-0 69 2
3. Glenbard West 8-0 67 3
4.  Hersey 8-0 49 4
5.  Phillips 7-1 47 5
6. Batavia 6-2 37 7
7.  Rolling Meadows 8-0 34 6
8. Willowbrook 7-1 27 9
9. Normal Community 7-1 21 10
10. Benet 6-2 4 8

Others receiving votes: Glenbard East 4, DeKalb 1, Maine West 1.

Class 6A

No. Team W-L Pts Prv
1. Chatham Glenwood (7) 8-0 79 1
2.  Crete-Monee (1) 8-0 71 2
3.  Simeon 6-1 62 3
T-4. Prairie Ridge 7-1 54 6
T-4. Richards 7-1 54 5
6. Antioch 7-1 31 7
7. Providence  6-2 30 8
8. Cary-Grove 6-2 19 4
9. Normal West 6-2 17 NR
10.  Peoria Central 7-1 10 NR


Others receiving votes: Lemont 8, Yorkville 3, Kaneland 2.

Class 5A

No. Team W-L Pts Prv
1. East St. Louis (9) 8-0 90 1
2. Sterling 8-0 77 2
3.  Hillcrest 7-1 68 T-3
4.  Boylan Catholic 8-0 60 T-3
5.  Montini 6-2 51 5
6.  Sycamore 7-1 43 6
7. St. Rita 5-3 35 8
8. Kankakee 7-1 24 9
9.  Carbondale 7-1 20 10
10.  Dunlap 7-1 12 NR

Others receiving votes: Cahokia 7, Joliet Catholic 6, Marion 2.

Class 4A

No. Team W-L Pts Prv
1. Rochester (7) 8-0 88 2
2. Coal City (2) 8-0 82 3
3. Richmond-Burton 8-0 58 4
4. St. Francis 7-1 52 10
5. IC Catholic Prep 7-1 51 1
6.  Mt. Zion 8-0 49 6
7.  Stillman Valley 8-0 48 5
8. Columbia 8-0 30 8
9. Illinois Valley Central 8-0 15 NR
10.  Effingham 7-1 7 7

Others receiving votes: Tolono Unity 6, Murphysboro 4, Bishop McNamara 2, Prairie Central 2, Genoa-Kingston 1.

Class 3A

No. Team W-L Pts Prv
1. Williamsville (7) 8-0 97 2
2. Byron (1) 7-1 87 3
T-3. Wilmington (1) 7-1 69 1
T-3. Beardstown (1) 8-0 69 4
5. Vandalia 8-0 65 5
6. Fairfield 8-0 54 7
7. Princeton 7-1 37 9
8. DuQuoin 8-0 32 NR
9. Breese Mater Dei 7-1 14 NR
10. Pana 7-1 12 8

Others receiving votes: Nashville 9, Mt. Carmel 4, Eureka 1.

Class 2A

No. Team W-L Pts Prv
1. Fieldcrest (6) 8-0 95 1
2. Clifton Central (3) 8-0 92 2
3. Maroa-Forsyth 7-1 78 3
4. Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley (1) 7-1 73 4
5.  St. Teresa 7-1 62 5
6.  Knoxville 8-0 50 6
7. Newman Central Catholic 7-1 38 7
8. Bismarck-Henning 7-1 32 8
9. Auburn 6-2 20 9
10. Flora 6-2 7 NR

Others receiving votes: Chester 3.

Class 1A

No. Team W-L Pts Prv
1. Lena-Winslow (9) 8-0 90 1
2.  Moweaqua Central A&M 8-0 79 2
3. Annawan-Wethersfield 8-0 68 3
4.  Morrison 8-0 55 4
5.  Aquin 8-0 53 7
6. Hope Academy 7-1 45 8
7. Camp Point Central 7-1 31 9
8. Forreston 6-2 20 6
9. Athens 6-2 15 10
10. Carrollton 7-1 14 NR

Others receiving votes: Greenfield-Northwestern 9, Kirkland Hiawatha 5, Tuscola 4, Ottawa Marquette 3, Arcola 2, Argenta-Oreana 2.

A peek behind the curtain at what makes Joe Espada such an intriguing managerial candidate for Cubs

A peek behind the curtain at what makes Joe Espada such an intriguing managerial candidate for Cubs

As the Cubs managerial search continues, the Astros are vying for their second World Series championship in a three-year span.

Coincidentally, the man leading Houston once envisioned himself doing the same thing on the North Side of Chicago. It’s strange how baseball works sometimes. 

A.J. Hinch — who interviewed for the Cubs managerial job in 2013 — was disappointed when Theo Epstein and Co. chose Rick Renteria to take the reins of the club instead, especially given his managerial experience. But then again, Hinch recognizes he still could have been pushed out a year later for Joe Maddon the same way Renteria was. So, maybe things did work out best for everyone.

Between that history and Hinch's time with Jed Hoyer in San Diego, it explains why Hinch knows a thing or two about what the Cubs brass is looking for in their next manager and the process they are taking to find the right guy to steer the ship.

That guy might end up being Hinch’s current bench coach Joe Espada, who had a second interview with Epstein's front office this week.

“Joe and I were Triple-A roommates back in Oakland,” Hinch said. “I tried to hire him in Arizona as a first- or third-base coach when I became manager in Arizona and he immediately got promoted to the Marlins coaching staff. So when he was with the Yankees and we eliminated them in the ALCS in 2017, Cora was just about to be named the manager of Red Sox. I immediately asked for permission to speak to Joe and he was my choice; he was my hand-picked guy [to take over as Astros bench coach] immediately.”

And it appears, Espada will soon become someone else’s “hand-picked guy” to manage.

Will that be with the Cubs?

“He’s a well-rounded baseball man,” Hinch said. “He’s been in a few places and so he’s seen and done virtually everything to prepare himself to manage. From coaching in Miami to being with the Yankees on successful teams, to being a bench coach here. He’s been around decision-making, he’s been around high end winning and he’s intellectually curious.” 

Besides his coaching resume, Espada is thought to bring other innate characteristics to the table that would appeal to any organization. The Cubs liked what they saw and heard enough to bring him in for a second interview, which was no surprise to Hinch.

“He’s organized, diligent, he’s very fair to people, he’s a good family man.” Hinch said. “All attributes that help you build something in the clubhouse that ultimately leads to winning. The only thing untested in him is managing. And any time you talk about someone without managerial experience, I think you’re just going to have to learn on the job, period. There’s been plenty of examples of guys that have done it and Joe is really good. The potential could be very quick for him. A lot of teams have asked about him.” 

Naturally, the same could be said for David Ross, a candidate Hinch also spoke highly about.

“I think he’d be really good," the Astros manager said of Ross. "If he’s all in, I’ll love it because I think he could learn quickly. He’s got immediate credibility. I think the player buy-in is there and it would be interesting to build a staff around him.”

The intrigue will continue to grow in what now seems to be a two-horse race, but with the World Series getting underway the Cubs will likely wait for an off day or the conclusion of the Fall Classic to make an announcement. And even though their team isn’t playing, Cubs fans can still keep an eye on Espada as well as former Cubs bench coach Dave Martinez as the Astros and Nationals take center stage in the baseball world.