Bulls

Simple approach may be all Bears offense needs

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Simple approach may be all Bears offense needs

Its only organized team activities, but following quarterback Jay Cutlers comments after only two days of work, its easy to conclude Cutler has confidence in the offensive concepts the Bears will be running in 2012. He has confidence in new quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates, who Cutler believes will accentuate his strengths as a quarterback. Having a successful prior relationship wont hurt as the Bears try to build offensive confidence not only in Cutler, but the entire offense, which has been chaotic at best the past two seasons.

Realistic approach?

Its hard to have confidence as a player if what youre being asked to execute offensively is unrealistic. The Bears were never going to be the greatest show on grass under former offensive coordinator Mike Martz. Players cannot just be plugged into a system if their skill sets do not translate.

For example, Roy Williams was never going to be Torry Holt or Isaac Bruce within the Bears offense. The same can be said of Cutler. Cutler was never going to be Kurt Warner and why Martz or anyone would curtail Cutlers athletic gifts is still mind-boggling. At times it appeared the fans and players had a much firmer grasp of what the Bears' offensive identity should be than their own coordinator.

Certain players like Cutler are going to have knowledge of football concepts. They question if what they are being presented to execute is sound football. Its not as if Cutler doesnt understand how to attack defenses or what a defense is trying to accomplish attacking an offense. In 2008, Cutler led a Broncos offense that ranked second in the NFL. Cutler understands the pitfalls of every particular pass play, but some plays, principles and concepts stand the test of time, which is why they are solid, sound football concepts.

Cutler offered some early thoughts on the Bears' new offense that caught my attention. Cutler commented on how the new offense will be curtailed to his attributes, saying: I feel it goes with my strengths, what Im able to do, and Ive had success with it in the past.

Cutler also discussed confidence in Bates, who called plays for him in Denver.

I think Jeremy has a really good feel of what I like to do and what I dont like to do, he said.

Cutler touched on the passing game changes and how everyone on offense will benefit saying, it will help the offensive guys putting them in positions to be successful.

Cutler confidently knows both Bates and offensive coordinator Mike Tice will have a realistic approach with solid football concepts for success. Confidence on offense will breed success for the offense and entire team.

The Bears finally have a direction of what they are required to do and why they're required to do it rather than game plans nobody could decipher. Many in the football realm consider Martz an offensive genius, but maybe just a common-sense approach is all the Bears need for offensive success.

Zach LaVine is “tired of people talking sh*t about my defense” and working towards becoming an NBA All-Star

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USA Today

Zach LaVine is “tired of people talking sh*t about my defense” and working towards becoming an NBA All-Star

Zach LaVine is fed up with being underestimated and he’s going to do something about it. The Bulls guard has been having a strong pre-season so far but is looking to improve his skills as a two-way player.

“I’m just tired of people talking shit about my defense,” LaVine said. “I’ve always been a good on-ball defender. But there’s no reason I can be this good offensively and not be that on the defensive end.”

“I’m taking more pride in it,” he continued. “I’m pretty sure it’ll show. I’ll make sure of that.”

If you think LaVine sounds confident, he has good reason to be. Last season LaVine was one of only ten players to average at least 23 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 4.5 assists, making him stand out as an elite player in the company of MVPs and All-Stars. LaVine’s personal triumphs, however, were overshadowed by the Bulls abysmal 22-60 record last season.

So far, this preseason LaVine has been looking better on defense, averaging 1.3 steals per game through three preseason games. Any improvements on defense will greatly help LaVine’s All-Star case.

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Report: Giants interested in Cubs first base coach Will Venable for manager opening

Report: Giants interested in Cubs first base coach Will Venable for manager opening

The Giants' search for a successor to now-retired manager Bruce Bochy has led them to the North Side.

According to NBC Sports Bay Area's Alex Pavlovic, the Giants are interested in Cubs first base coach Will Venable for their own managerial opening. San Francisco's interest is intriguing, as Venable went to high school just outside San Francisco in nearby San Rafael. His father — Max Venable — played for the Giants from 1979-83. 

Venable also interviewed for the Cubs' manager job earlier this month, telling the Chicago Sun-Times that his interest is in the "organization in general." He is one of several internal candidates for the Cubs' job, along with bench coach Mark Loretta and front office assistant David Ross.

The Cubs also interviewed Joe Girardi and are set to meet with Astros bench coach Joe Espada and former Phillies manager Gabe Kapler.

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