Saturday, May 16, 2009
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Now that the draft has come and gone, I have been starting to think more and more about the upcoming Bears season. I started thinking about the Bears captains and I am pretty sure who all of them will be, except for one that stumped me.
I started with the Defense. Brian Urlacher has been wearing the C on his chest since they started that trend. The other one is most likely going to be Adewale Ogunleye who has been filling the role off and on depending on Mike Brown’s Health. So he is a likely candidate to take that over on a full time basis.
Patrick Mannelly was special teams captain last year and is back for another year. He is still one of the best long snappers in the league (if you’ve never been there, check out his website at www.longsnapper.com) and I see no reason why he wouldn’t resume his duties this year.
That brings us to offense. Like Urlacher, Kruetz has been wearing the C on his chest since the NFL started wearing them. Also from what I heard, Kruetz runs the team in the locker room. So he is another lock for the C. So who is going to be the other captain? Last season it was Captain Neck Beard, but he is gone now, so let’s look at the possible candidates and then I will rank them in order from most likely to least likely in my opinion.
Quarterbacks are always a logical place to look. They are always called leaders on the field and regardless if they are or not, they are the ones telling everyone what to do in the huddle. Also, QBs are traditionally some of the smartest players on the field. So it makes logical since that a lot of quarterbacks are captains around the league. Jay Cutler was a captain last season in Denver, so he has experience with the responsibilities. This is his first year with the team and it is yet to be seen how he will gel with the teammates. It’s not that I predict them to not get along, but more about will he come in and assert himself as a leader immediately or will he go in and take a more laid back role; let the already established locker room leaders continue to lead with him self just being a part of the whole?
Matt Forte seems like a great locker room guy and did all the right things last year as a rookie. In his second year is he really ready to step up and take the leadership role and become a captain. Even though my friend Ryan disagrees, I am still concerned he might have a sophomore slump, I am just hoping not as bad as A-Train, and if he does he might have to figure things out for himself. I feel like he could do it, but I don’t think the team will select a sophomore to be captain.
Well the Bears have a lot of these to choose from. However, honestly is there any wide receiver in the bunch you see as a possible candidate? I don’t see Hester nor Davis as captain material quite yet. If you disagree feel free to let me know, but I’m moving on.
The Bears arguably have the best TE’s in football and when I was discussing who was going to be the Bears’ Offensive captain with my bride-to-be Jamie, we found this to be an intriguing position. Greg Olson is the best pass catching tight end in the group and has a lot of natural leadership abilities. I honestly believe he is captain material but only going into his third year, I don’t see him getting the honor.
Desmond Clark is the best all around TE of the group and has always done whatever the Bears have asked him to do. After the Super Bowl season, everyone was trying to find out where the Bears needed to improve after such a solid year. One spot that kept coming up was the TE position. Des Clark heard all this talk during the off-season and didn’t make a fuss about it. The Bears then drafted Olson, which meant less playing time and catches for Clark. Again Clark did what he was told because he knew it was the best for the team. Clark is very outgoing and has a great relationship with the fans and media, he even co-host a talk show on ESPN1000.
I feel that Des Clark would be an excellent choice, but the question is can a TE really be a captain. With more and more teams spreading out the field, TEs are on the field less and less. I honestly don’t think this matters, and there are two captains on the field for a reason.
The biggest reason I see the other captain spot not going to an o-lineman is because Kreutz is already a captain. I always heard that Kreutz and Fred Miller (when he was still around) ran the locker room, however Miller was never named captain. There is no rule that two players from the same position can’t be captains and there are two other good choices on the O-line. The first is Orlando Pace. He can provide the veteran leadership that is needed on every team and his credentials of countless pro bowls give him credibility when dealing with teammates, coaches, and refs. As mentioned with Cutler, this is his first year on the team and it is yet to be seen what kind of role he is going to take on. However, he has played in the league longer then Cutler and his experience might make him better captain material.
The other choice would be Roberto Garza. Roberto has been playing next to Kreutz for the last couple of season and has established himself with solid play and work ethic. I don’t see Garza being a vocal leader like Ed Reed or Ray Lewis, but more of a lead by example. Lead by doing the extra work required to make the team better. Plus, he was a Madden cover boy last year, that has to count for something right?
So who is going to be the Bears other captain? Here is my list from most likely to least likely:
I personally would like the captain’s C to go to Clark and if not Clark then Pace. Not that I don’t love Jay Cutler, because I do, but I’d like to have him have a solid transition year before making this team his next year and hopefully many years to come.
Who do you want to see as captain? Did I forget anybody? Let me know below.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
I know I don’t have a Nielson’s rating box, but whenever a story comes on ESPN of Sportscenter that I don’t enjoy; I turn the channel for the slim chance big brother is watching what I’m watching.
The all time biggest channel changing events for me are Roger Clemens coming back to the Yankees, Roger Clemens steroids scandal, T.O.’s first training camp with Parcells and the Cowboys, and Brett Favre never ending retirement talk.
Well look what’s back in the news, Roger Friggin Clemons and Brett “haven’t you ruined my life enough, and I swear I saw you crying on the sideline of Soldier Field 3 years ago” Favre.
Haven’t these stories been done? My favorite part of each of these stories is how the talking heads and columnist start off their opinion with something along the lines of “I am so tired of this story but…” then go on and discuss the story for 10-20 minutes of a couple hundred minutes. IF YOU ARE SO TIRED OF IT THEN STOP TALKING ABOUT IT!
NHL Dream Matchups
The NHL has had a pretty excellent post season for a rating stand point. Yes I know not everyone gets VS (I do!) but I don’t think this year’s ratings should be judged too harsh. This year for the NHL is all about bringing fans back. This is the season that the NHL really reclaims its status as one of the big four team sports in America.
The NHL has been promoting their young stars (Alexander the Great, Sid the Kid, and the lumped together Kane and Toews) as reason for people to watch. What have these young stars done in the second round? AO, Hat Trick, Sid, Hat Trick, Kane, Hat Trick, Toews, 2 Goals. I don’t know if the NHL can build its fan base up based on it’s Stars like the NBA has, but that’s a good way to start. Also 3 of the 4 of these guys are guaranteed to at least make the conference semi-finals.
Besides players, series can draw big ratings. Of the 4 conference semi-finals 3 of them are going to a game 7. Is there anything more compelling then a Game 7? The teams are sick of each other at this point and it’s a winner take all. 1 great play or mistake could end the series. I honestly hope one of these goes into OT.
Another way to get ratings; Big Markets and the Original Six in the playoffs.
Detroit: In the Playoffs. Going to Game 7 in Conference Semi Finals
Chicago: In the Playoffs. Going to Conference Finals
Boston: In the Playoffs. Going to Game 7 in Conference Semi Finals
New York Rangers: In the Playoffs
Montreal: In the Playoffs
Toronto: Missed the Playoffs
New York: Rangers and Islanders in the Playoffs
LA: Ducks In the Playoffs. Going to Game 7 in Conference Semi Finals
Chicago: In the Playoffs. Going to Conference Finals
Philadelphia: In the Playoffs
Washington: In the Playoffs
Boston: In the Playoffs. Going to Game 7 in Conference Semi Finals
Vancouver: In the Playoffs, Lost in Conference Semi Finals
Lastly, Matchups get ratings.
LOOK at the matchups that have occurred.
Battle for California: Ducks vs Sharks
Battle for Penn: Penguins vs Flyers
Original Six: Boston vs Montreal.
Sid the Kid vs Alexander the Great.
Fantastic match ups everywhere. And we can’t forget about the potential of Detroit vs Chicago in the Western Finals.
I have loved this years NHL playoffs. Obviously the Blackhawks playing well keeps my interest longer, but I can honestly tell you, of the 12 playoffs series that have occurred to date, I have watched at least 1 game in 10 of them.
11:05 Start for the White Sox
That’s early. And to make matters worse, Mark B vs Cliff Lee is the pitching matchup. Honestly the game is going to be 90 minutes long. If I was still in college, or a townie like Fodor, I wouldn’t wake up until after this game was over. I do enjoy the afternoon games from a work perspective; it gives me something to continually check back on while working.
$10 on the Cavs!
Mandalay Bay, I’m coming to collect. The LeBrons 8-0 and double digit margin of victory, ridiculous. Regardless who they play, their playoffs haven’t started yet, while everyone else has. [Ed. note– Stop lookin' at my lemonade! I love grandpa LeBron]
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
It's finally summer! Unfortunately, it's also a Tuesday, and this particular Superstar just finished up a long day at work, which is now pretty much a Tuesday only thing. (Closing Sunday and Wednesday, doubles Tuesday, just fyi.)
Still, there is a whole lot going on in the world of sports right now. It wouldn't be fair to leave everyone without at least a brief look at what's been going on. I think we'll have a bunch more updates later this week as Snuffles heads down to the ancestral homeland of Bloomington for an Armchair Convention.
Without further ado, how about some links?
John Mullin talked to Jerry Angelo about the Vanderbilt-Chicago pipeline that the Bears have going these days.
Peter "Brett Favre's Wife Better Be Jealous That We're Having Dinner!" King ranks Chicago #4 in his preseason power rankings. Hope that's not a curse.
Meanwhile, the NBA conference semifinals have been interesting, even without our Bulls participating. King James and the Cavs crushed the Hawks (who didn't see that coming?) and are undefeated in the postseason thus far. The other NBA superstar, Kobe Bryant, is currently relaxing on the bench as the Lakers are demolishing the Rockets by around 35-40 points in Game Five there. Still, the Rockets beat LA handily the other day even with Yao Ming out for the season, and this one is at least going six games.
Back to the East– Orlando and Boston are battling it out in a tough series. Apparently it was a good game tonight. I have a tough question for this one. Who is less likeable: Eddie House or JJ Redick? Right now, I have a narrow edge for House, who celebrates every made shot just long enough to completely ignore his defensive assignment, but my longstanding hatred for Coach K Junior makes it a close race.
One of my Mabears coworkers asked me today about who I want to see in the Finals. Honestly? I took Cavs-Nuggets. Carmelo vs. LeBron is just such a compelling storyline. But I think it will be chalk, and the Lakers will take down Denver, who is handling Dallas in their series.
O'Shea, where's my Blackhawks update at?? The Hawks punched their ticket to the Western Conference finals, right? They could play their historic rival from Detroit in what would be an epic matchup (think Bulls-Knicks in the '90's). Would love to give you more but I'm not exactly qualified for that. I believe the Red Wings and Mighty Ducks (yeah, yeah, I know, Ducks) are still playing.
Lastly, the White Sox are hovering just below .500 in the AL Central. Just like every year, all five teams look fairly evenly matched. It's amazing to me that Cleveland can't put it together with the amount of talent on that roster. I sense some firings if their subpar (12-22) record holds up through the All Star Break.
The Sox need to make a trade for another starter, and they need to do it soon. Buehrle, Danks, and Floyd are about as good as you need a top three to be in the American League. Colon can hold the fifth spot. But Contreras just got optioned to the minors today and Clayton Richard took his starting spot, lasting 3 1/3 and giving up several runs. Ouch. Still, a win's a win. Thome hit two HRs today.
Who's out there to fill the neglected four spot? The name that immediately comes to mind for me without research is Jon Garland. More investigation needed.
So yeah, that's what's up in Chicago sports. We're also overdue for an Indiana update which will be coming ASAP. Hope all is well for everybody, and Happy May! It's a great time of year.