Bears

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.

Tarik Cohen was NFL's best big-play RB in 2017

Tarik Cohen was NFL's best big-play RB in 2017

Tarik Cohen's rookie season with the Chicago Bears was an impressive blend of running, receiving and special teams play. He quickly became a household name. The combination of his diminutive frame and oversized personality made him a fan favorite, especially when he started gaining yards in chunks.

In fact, of all running backs with a minimum of 80 carries last season, Cohen had the highest percentage of runs that were 15 or more yards, according to Pro Football Focus.

Cohen will have a big role in new coach Matt Nagy's offense this season because of everything he offers a play-caller. He's a weapon as a receiver out of the backfield and can chew up yards on the ground like any traditional running back. He's a hold-your-breath talent who can turn a bad play into a touchdown in the blink of an eye.

Cohen had 370 rushing yards, 353 receiving yards and three offensive touchdowns in what can be described as a limited role last year. John Fox and Dowell Loggains didn't seem to ever figure out how to best use Cohen's skill set. That should be no issue for Nagy and Mark Helfrich, the team's new offensive coordinator, who both bring a creative offensive approach to Chicago.

Jordan Howard will be the starter and will do most of the heavy lifting. But Cohen is going to have a much bigger role than he had as a rookie, and that should result in more big plays and points on the board.

94 Days to Kickoff: Kaneland

94 Days to Kickoff: Kaneland

NBCSportsChicago.com preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O'Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles will focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Starting July 30, we'll unveil the @NBCSPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 24.

School: Kaneland

Head coach: Pat Ryan

Assistant coaches: Mike Thorgesen, Ryan Gierke, John Pavlak, Drew Sterkel, Matt Smith, Zack Martinelli, Ryan Noel, Mike Lotz, Anthony Mastropieri, Trevor McKeown and Alec Aurelio

How they fared in 2017: 7-4 (3-1 Northern Illinois Big 12 East Conference). The Knights made the Class 5A state playoff field. They defeated Lindblom, then lost to Sterling in second round action. 

2018 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 24 @ Hinsdale South 

Aug. 31 vs Geneva 

Sept. 7 vs Rich Central 

Sept. 14 @ Sterling 

Sept. 21 vs DeKalb 

Sept. 28 @ Sycamore 

Oct. 5 @ Yorkville 

Oct. 12 vs Morris 

Oct. 19 vs Rochelle

[MORE: 95 Days to Kickoff - Waubonsie Valley]

Biggest storyline: Will the Knights leave their mark in the last season of the Northern Illinois Big 12 East conference?

Names to watch this season: RB Jonathan Alstott and OL/DL Drew Hahn.
 
Biggest holes to fill: The Knights will need to reload in a few key spots, especially at QB and on the O-line; however, they bring back a nice core of 11 returning starters (five offense, six defense).

EDGY's Early Take: The Knights are still in search of a new conference to call home after the 2018 season. The Northern Illinois Big 12 is in its last season under its current form. This year's Knights have a chance to get back to the state playoff field. The schedule is very tough, but this team will challenge every single week come August.