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Overachieving Bears Handle Eagles Again

November 8, 2011 Leave a comment

The Bears proved once again on Monday night they have the ability to beat the best teams in the league.  Just like last season, the Bears went in to Philadelphia and showed that they are one of the few teams who can slow down Michael Vick and his high-powered offense.  They did it with fast, smart, and fearless defense.  The question now becomes whether the Bears can catch the Lions and wrap up the wildcard spot.

The Bears defense was all over the field on Monday night.  Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs showed why they are consistently one of the top linebacker duos in the league.  Both players were in on tackle after tackle, and were making plays from sideline to sideline.  One weak point for the Bears defense in recent weeks has been their secondary, especially the safeties.  On this night, the secondary showed up the Eagle’s receivers, who are thought of as one of the top receiving crews in the league.  The defensive line had probably their best game of the season as well.  They put pressure on Vick on almost every play, and were not afraid of him.  Many teams give Vick so much time and space because they are afraid to let him get out of the pocket and run.  Some teams even employ a “spy,” or one player who is assigned to Vick on every play to try and contain him.  The Bears defense is fast enough to play him straight up.  The d-line went right at him, constantly forcing him to roll to his right.  Even if Vick got past the d-line, Urlacher and Briggs were there to wrap him up immediately.

That being said, it wasn’t exactly a picnic for the Bears either.  Let’s not forget that if the Eagles punter hadn’t massively under-thrown his pass on the fake punt in the fourth quarter, it would have been a very different game.  Matt Forte, who has been phenomenal this season, can count himself very lucky that his first two fumbles of the season did not lead to a painful loss.  Even though the wide receivers outplayed the Eagles receivers (Earl Bennet in particular), they also dropped too many balls.  Roy Williams drew more hate from Bears fans as he dropped a bomb from Cutler that hit him right in the numbers, on stride.

Next week is a huge game for the Bears.  The Detroit Lions are coming to Soldier Field, and it’s going to be as close to a must-win game as a Week 10 game could be.  The Bears dropped the first match-up against the Lions in an embarrassing Monday Night loss.  The Lions are 6-2, sitting one game ahead of the Bears, who are at 5-3.  With a win against the Lions, the Bears will pull even with them, putting them right back into the mix for the wildcard.  I think it’s obvious now that no one is going to catch the Green Bay Packers for the NFC North Division Title.

As much as I dislike Lovie Smith as a head coach, you have to respect his ability to get his players to play.  He does do a lot of great things for the team, especially the defense.  If there is one thing we can always say about Lovie Smith’s football teams, it’s that he is constantly able to get them to overachieve.  Ever since their Superbowl run in 2007, the Bears have somehow been successful, even with a terrible o-line and sub-par receiving cores.  I can sit here and rant about the penalties, the terrible clock management, the wasted timeouts in close games, and the annoyingly calm demeanor, but at the end of the day, he seems to get the job done.  Maybe someday the Bears management might actually fix the line and sign some talented receivers, and the Bears might even get back to the Superbowl.  In the meantime, I am forced to reluctantly accept Lovie Smith as long as he keeps his team winning.

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#NBArank gets it all wrong

October 23, 2011 2 comments

First off, as this is my first post as a blogger for Windy City Sports talk, I would like to thank Skip Bauer for asking me to become a contributor.  I’m extremely pumped to get rollin’ as a regular blogger, and I hope you all enjoy our insights and opinions on all things Chicago sports.

I figured for my first post, I would write about my favorite (American) sport to watch: NBA basketball.  As we all know, the NBA is in a lockout and sadly, it looks more and more like we may not even have a season this year at all.  As we prepare to face a long, sad, and lonely winter without pro basketball, ESPN produced a system to rank all 500 current players in the NBA.  They asked 91 different NBA “experts” to rank each player 1-10.  After all the scores were averaged out and the list was announced, here’s my question: Who were these so called NBA “experts”?

Here’s the list of the top ten NBA players according to #NBArank:

  1. Lebron James – 9.91
    GM PPG RPG BPG FG% FT%
    78 22.9 14.1 2.4 .593 .596
  2. Dwight Howard – 9,82
    GM PPG RPG BPG FG% FT%
    78 22.9 14.1 2.4 .593 .596
  3. Dwayne Wade – 9.72
    GM PPG RPG APG FG% FT%
    76 25.5 6.4 4.6 .500 .758
  4. Chris Paul – 9.68
    GM PPG RPG APG FG% FT%
    80 15.9 4.1 9.8 .463 .878
  5. Dirk Nowitzki – 9.67
    GM PPG RPG APG FG% FT%
    73 23.0 7.0 2.6 .517 .892
  6. Kevin Durant – 9.62
    GM PPG RPG APG FG% FT%
    78 27.7 6.8 2.7 .462 .880
  7. Kobe Bryant – 9.40
    GM PPG RPG APG FG% FT%
    82 25.3 5.1 4.7 .451 .828
  8. Derrick Rose-9.27
    GM PPG RPG APG FG% FT%
    81 25.0 4.1 7.7 .445 .858
  9. Derron Williams – 8.98
    GM PPG RPG APG FG% FT%
    65 20.1 4.0 10.3 .439 .845
  10. Blake Griffin – 8.78
    GM PPG RPG APG FG% FT%
    82 22.5 12.1 3.8 .506 .642

When I first saw this list, I was shocked.  To me, there are some glaring problems here.  Now I don’t really mind Lebron at number 1.  I know a lot of people will probably be upset about this, and I don’t really blame them.  I don’t think there is any question that he is the most physically talented player in the league, if not of all time.  The problem with Lebron is that he doesn’t have something that the best player in any sport should have: Championships.  He has a huge reputation for choking in the playoffs.  Two years ago, he completely gave up against Boston in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals.  Last y ear, he could not match Dirk Nowitzki in the finals, and once again failed to win a championship.  Having said all this, I still am okay with him being number 1, since he is always the in the MVP mix and his teams are consistently one of the favorites to win it all every season.

One of the biggest problems I have with this list is Chris Paul at number 4 and Derrick Rose at number 8.  To me, Derrick Rose is the best point guard in the league.  Now I know this comes off as extremely biased, and maybe it is, but I’m not the only person who believes this.  Derrick Rose was last seasons MVP.  MOST VALUABLE PLAYER.  This was not a fluke!  Now I’m not saying Derrick should be ranked at number 1, but how can the MVP not even be the best player at his position?  He got his Bulls team, with no other stars and very little offensive help, to the Conference Finals.  Chris Paul failed to make it out of the first round.  His performance in the series is probably why he was rated so high.  He had a lot of success against the Lakers, and he probably would have beat them if he had a better team.  But as the Lakers moved on, they showed they were nowhere near the team they have been in the past.  His regular season statistics were not very impressive either.  He only averaged 15 points a game.  Paul has always been a pass first point guard, and he did average 9.8 assists per game, but that was only the fourth best mark in the league.  His other stats are sub-par when compared to other point guards.  He brings a lot of intangibles to the floor, but so do all the other players on this list.  I see no reason for him to even be in the top ten, let alone fourth.

Another problem I have with the list is Kevin Durant’s position.  How is he not even in the top 5?  This guy was the leading scorer last season, and got his team to the Conference Finals where they ran into a red hot Mavericks team.  He is the most offensively talented player in the league, and is virtually unstoppable when he is on.  Think about it this way:  If you were a GM of a team, and the NBA demolished all the rosters and had a draft with all the players, who would be your first round pick?  Durant is the best scorer in the league, and he just turned 23 years old.  I don’t think too many of you would pass this guy up in the first few picks.

Finally, the most mind-boggling player on this list is one Blake Griffin.  What? Blake Griffin is the 10th best player in this league? I don’t think so.  Griffin is not even in the top 5 at his position.  Sure, he is a freak on the court, an excellent rebounder, and one of the most fun players to watch with his rediculous dunks, but that’s as far as the complements are going to go from this fan.  Defensively he is average at best, and he has virtually no game anywhere other than right above the rim.  His post moves are non-existent.  If this guy is the best player on your team, at this point in his career, then your team is probably in a lot of trouble.  The Clippers were atrocious last year.  Now, just think about the other big men who are ranked behind Griffin:  Pau Gasol, Zach Randolf, Marc Gasol, Amare Stoudemire, Kevin Garnett, Kevin Love, Al Horford, Lamarcus Aldridge, just to name a few.  And here’s the real kicker:  Griffin is ranked ahead of CARMELO ANTHONY.

So, after much thought, I’ve came up with my own top ten.  Feel free to comment, or even give your own list in the comments.

  1. Lebron James
  2. Kevin Durant
  3. Dirk Nowitzki (out of respect, I mean the guy DOMINATED the playoffs, out-balling James and Wade in the finals.  Probably won’t be nearly this high after next season)
  4. Dwayne Wade
  5. Dwight Howard
  6. Derrick Rose
  7. Kobe Bryant
  8. Chris Paul
  9. Deron Williams
  10. Carmelo Anthony
Here’s the link the #NBArank, if you want to check out the rest of the list.  I recommending reading some of the twitter comments as well, some of them are hilarious.