Cubs

Tice sends sharp message to Webb in LT competition

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Tice sends sharp message to Webb in LT competition

This is possibly one of those situations where something gets said, gets taken the wrong way and whats said in response borders on the harsh.

The battle between JMarcus Webb and Chris Williams for the No. 1 job at left tackle was one camp practice old and offensive coordinator Mike Tice was asked if the job was Webbs to lose.

Now, Webb hadnt said it was. But Tice was already not happy with the play of his tackles and was in no mood for even a hint that Webbs status as 2011 starter meant anything now.

No. Its not his job to lose, Tice said. He happened to be in there first with the 1s on Thursday because of the fact that he finished the season as a starter. Its going to be a dogfight for those two guys.

I have too many athletes to not be able to throw the football explosively, and no, its not his job to lose. He might think so, but if he thinks so, hes wrong. Theres going to be a competition between him and Chris, and well see how that turns out. Were going to keep the heat on both of them, and we want to see when we get in pads whos going to block our good pass rushers. I know they can both run block, but were not going to go out there and run the ball 50 times a game, so youve got to be able to protect.

If they cant protect, they cant play for us.

The problem here is that there are not a lot of options beyond what is on the roster now. Good pass protectors simply do not turn up on cut lists or are sitting by their phones this time of year.

Webb made too many mistakes last season to turn left tackle into his job to lose. Pressure from Tice or Williams is nothing worse than he faced from Jared Allen and hes holding to a perspective to keep superfluous pressure at a minimum.

Not too much pressure, Webb said. You put too much pressure on yourself, and you start to overthink and make mistakes.

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 31st homer in 1998

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 31st homer in 1998

It's the 20th anniversary of the Summer of Sammy, when Sosa and Mark McGwire went toe-to-toe in one of the most exciting seasons in American sports history chasing after Roger Maris' home run record. All year, we're going to go homer-by-homer on Sosa's 66 longballs, with highlights and info about each. Enjoy.

Sosa's 18th homer of June and 31st of the season came off the Tigers in the Cubs' brief 2-game Interleague series in Detroit. 

Sosa connected in the first inning off Tigers starter Seth Greisinger, going back-to-back with Mickey Morandini. 

The Cubs wound up getting out to a 5-0 start in the game but still lost 7-6 on a Gabe Alvarez single in the bottom of the 11th.

The aforementioned Morandini homer was only the 3rd of the season for the Cubs second baseman. He finished with 8 homers on the year and 224 total bases on 172 hits in what was a very good offensive season. Yet it paled in comparison to Sosa, who had nearly 200 more total bases (416) and a slugging percentage nearly 200 points above Morandini's (.647 to .471), a testament to how truly incredible Sosa's season was.

Fun fact: Tony Clark was the Tigers' cleanup hitter that day. Clark is now the head of the MLB Players Union.

Fun fact No. 2: Paul Bako was the Detroit catcher in the game. He later became the Cubs backup catcher in 2003 and 2004, when he posted a .611 OPS in 119 games over the two years.

Mitch Trubisky jersey sales trending in right direction

Mitch Trubisky jersey sales trending in right direction

Positive press about the Chicago Bears' offseason is having a strong impact on the jersey sales for the team's highest-profile player, Mitch Trubisky.

According to Dick's Sporting Goods, Trubisky's No. 10 is the fifth-most popular jersey among offensive players over the last 30 days. He's No. 6 among all players, regardless of position.

The Bears' offseason has been full of superlatives since their aggressive approach to free agency. The signings of Allen Robinson, Trey Burton and Taylor Gabriel put the spotlight on Trubisky and the potentially surging passing game. The second-round selection of Anthony Miller and word of Kevin White's offseason emergence has turned positive momentum into higher-than-anticipated expectations for Trubisky this season.

For Chicago to have any chance at meeting those expectations, Trubisky, who's entering his first full season as a starter with a new head coach and offensive system, has to thrive. Fans must be confident that he will, considering the investment they're making in his jersey.

Trubisky ended his rookie season with four wins in 12 starts, throwing for 2,193 yards with seven touchdowns and seven interceptions. He completed 59.4 percent of his passes. He should have a much more productive season in 2018 with his new arsenal of skill players and an innovative coaching staff, led by coach Matt Nagy and offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich.