Monday, October 16, 2006

Spotlight: Chicago
Bears, Piniella Rule City?

Big day for Chicago sports:

(1) Unbeaten, consensus No. 1-ranked* Bears make '06 MNF debut tonight.

(2) Cubs hiring Lou Piniella.

Follow-up Questions:

(1) Who is still mocking me for picking the Bears to win the NFC? Anyone? Seriously: What would you say the Bears' biggest weaknesses are and how likely is a remaining opponent positioned to exploit them? (Besides "threat of injury," which are everyone's weakness.)

(2) How would you evaluate the Cubs' move to hire Piniella? Can he become the Jim Leyland of the NL? (Let me get this out of the way: I'm speaking very figuratively. Obviously, the Tigers have a much more well-stocked cupboard of talent than the Cubs do.)

-- D.S.

* - If the NFL had, you know, real rankings and not just a vast collection of individual "Power Rankings" from everyone with a keyboard and a vague idea of how to list the numbers 1-32.

64 comments:

ChrTh said...

I'm calling it now: Leinart leads the Cards to an upset tonight over Chicago.

And if I'm wrong, I'll just come back and delete this post (just kidding).

wildpitch_20 said...

I can see the Cards beating the Bears tonight. The Bears have huge heads right now and will just try to go for the knockout consistently on national tv. The Cards just have to keep it close. Adrian Wilson will need to be huge for that Arizona defense.

If the Bears do win the team that will beat them will be the Patriots. The Patriots have a way of showing other teams that think they ar all that that they are still the team to beat year in and year out (see Bengals). Belichick is working on a game plan as we speak.

Hende said...

I kind of like Arizona tonight too, not to win, but to keep it close. I just don't trust Florida QB's and this doesn't seem to be the (extended) weekend to like 'em.

Regardless, I want to see how Leinart performs tonight. I see a 2TD/2INT night, building for his breakout next week against Oakland.

Jeff (Cleveland) said...

Speaking of the Cubs...why haven't we seen a Tommy Lasorda commercial with him talking a Yankee fan out from under his bed or something like that? And the thing that bugs me about that Cubs commercial is that he is staring right at the guy in the tree, and can see plain as day that he has a Cubs jersey on, and he still turns and asks his wife who he is a fan of...sorry for the rant, Dan.

Jo Fer said...

In the NFL anything can happen....However, not tonight. Bears in a slaughter. Arizona's offense has too many problems (rookie QB, injured WR, poor performing O-line) to overcome the CHI D.

Richard said...

I can't begin to tell you how much I like Arizona tonight.

Matt Leinart is going to be good.

Boldin and Bryant are going to get theirs.

Edge is a good backfield all on his own.

The defense is underrated.

Rackers makes the special teams a threat.

Because of all those reasons, don't be suprised if the Cards lose by ONLY 3 touchdowns.

Todd Ching said...

What's the over/under on times Matt Leinart goes to the sidelines crying calling his mommy/Pete Carroll instead of his Offensive Coordinator after Tommie Harris sacks him?

I'm placing it at two-and-a-half.

Dan Mega said...

There is more news for Chicago sports too:

-Bulls are a legit contender this year
-the Sox will be one in 2007 (minus Uribe and his MLB-low 13 walks/shooting at Italian officers)
-the Blackhawks' offense can score 5 goals a game, too bad they don't havea goalie

ChrTh said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
ChrTh said...

@jeff (cleveland): I thought the same thing (about the Cubs jersey). I was hoping they'd make followup commercials with the first round losers, but no dice (as far as I know).

Although it would've been funny if the target was wearing a Royals jersey and Tommy said 'What the hell did you expect?'

Cody said...

Remember, Matt is not affraid of the Bears defense because he played in the Pac-10. Those are not my words, they're his. And we all know how tough those Pac-10 defenses are..right?

I hope he gets sacked 7 times, the Bears win by 30 and Matt is on the sideline crying "we still have the better team".

Todd - that O/U is a tough call, but my money is on the over.

manningham86 said...

Sorry, Dan

ChrTh said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Deech said...

Bears will pants the Cards tonight in a 31-6 shellacking.

I'd even argue that "injury threat" isn't that much of a weakness for the Bears - they have quality depth at almost every position, except maybe O-line and fullback.

Steve said...

Neither of those posts were from the real dan. It's pretty obvious the 2 manningham's and the fake dan are the same person. And that this person sucks.

john (ann arbor, mi) said...

True and true, although I'm really impressed that Manninghamtwins spelled so many words correctly (not surprised that "impartial" was used in a way that doesn't make any sense at all).

Jake C said...

Great news for Mets fans...game 5 is pushed back!!! Yay! The rain that screwed us, helps us this time around.

Jason said...

ESPN.com is reporting that the A's fired Ken Macha.

manninghamheisman said...

Easy, compadre. I'm your
friend out here, all right?

nep1293 said...

I think the Bears weakness will be to get ahead of them early. Playing with a lead with their D makes them unbeatable. If/when they are in an early 14-0 hole i can see Grossman doing some stupid things (like the Minnesota game). With that being said i do think they are easily the best team in the NFL right now, but most Superbowl winners don't peak in October. Let's give it some time before we give them the trophy.

Dan Mega said...

What is everyone's over/under on how fast they put Griese in there?

Not because Grossman will go down/do badly, just that when they build a lead of 5 TD's they might as well get their backup some more work in case Rex gets hurt again.

And its nice to see that Griese has looked terrific so far in limited reps.

Half-Man/All-Amazing said...

Piniella! Maybe now the Cubbies can get A-Rod in a trade. Since when is 35/121 a tough year for anyone? I'd take him anyday over Aramis Ramierez. He'd be on Ditka/God status in Chicago if he can help bring a Championship to that sorry excuse for a franchise.

Dan Shanoff said...

This is from the real Dan: It appears that we've had more Comment posts from people posing as me.

It's not funny, and it's not fun for me to constantly be dealing with it. I've removed the old posts labeled as me, but not written by me.

Dude, you're ruining it for everyone else. Just post as yourself. You get to say whatever you want -- no one ever really cuts you off. So why not post as you?

-- Dan

Liberal Arts Majors said...

How is no one mentioning the fact Larry Fitz is out?

chrth and wildpitch, you have a chance to change your upset calling.

I'll take those 12.5 points and shove them back at the cards. The St. Louis cards gave up that many runs last night, and these cards will lose by more.

ChrTh said...

Nah, I'll stick with it. I'm not one to back down from a wild prediction.

Anonymous said...

ha. Nice call on the baseball cards...


I agree that we have see how they do when/if they ever fall behind by more than one score. John Clayton made a comment today (or Friday?, this week) that Griese is one of the best backups in the league and even if they lost a couple of games, he could very easily command them well through the end of the regular season. I buy it.

It seems that once teams find out they can pass, they ignore their running game, especially when they have a great running back (read: the Bengals), and if they lose their offensive balance, I think they're very beatable.

But...in week 6? No weaknesses...yet.

Jason said...

Instead of a carousel of people introducing MNF can they just have Carmen Electra introduce it every week?

Jim said...

I know it's early... but Leinart is clearly in the Elway/Marino category. He is carving up the Bears.

Liberal Arts Majors said...

Much like the CHI offense,

I'm embarassed

Gary said...

so much for Grossman for MVP

ChrTh said...

The deafening roar you hear is millions of fans abandoning the Grossman/Bears bandwagon in a mad hectic fury.

Steve said...

Well chrth, they can't jump on the Saints bandwagon, it's already full. They're going to have find a different one.

ChrTh said...

Because it's funny:

Peter King:
Not much drama. Not much reason to tune in past midway through the second quarter. By that time ESPN will have shown you the grand new stadium in Glendale (across the parking lot from where the Coyotes play), and you will have heard some of the Matt Leinart miking (now that's a great idea, wiring a quarterback about to be sacked nine times), and the Bears will be up 21-0

ChrTh said...

@steve:

Some will go to the Colts, because they're drawn like moths to the light (ignoring that it'll turn into a bugzapper once the playoffs come). Some will return to the Steelers. But I think most will go to the Panthers, who have momentum and beat the Saints.

And let's not overstate this. Bears are probably still a mortal lock to win the Norris and go to the playoffs.

The Leinart-haters are in a lot of pain right now.

Steve said...

The Jets have a pretty easy schedule if you look at it, they could conceivably go 10-6. I know it's a stretch but there are first class seats available on that bandwagon, if you dare.

ChrTh said...

btw, nep1293 is looking like a freakin' psychic right now

ChrTh said...

Some more schadenfreude:

You gotta feel for the WWL. First, they put up a couple of AP and Garrett Wolfe for Heisman articles. Whoops. Then they pile in on the Rex Grossman lovefest. Double whoops.

And btw, in case you're wondering, I am testing my powers of jinx (although I would prefer a Cards victory, simply due to schadenfreude).

ChrTh said...

Arizona may be the most incompetent team on the planet. Unbelievable. Let's see if we can get Edge to push Leinart into the end zone.

Charlie (Seattle) said...

I am even more upset today than I was on draft day. How on earth do the Raiders not pick Leinert?

Jim said...

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Kurt said...

I'll wait for Dan's post tomorrow about the Bears coming back in this game proves they are the best team in the league. Oh Dan, go fuck yourself. They were LUCKY to beat the 1-5 Cardinals.

FreKy J said...

What I want to know is:

How is forward progress NOT reviewable? What kind of bullshit is that? I don't care which team won, because I really have no stake in either team, but watching the replay of the James fumble..

HOW IN THE HELL was forward progress not called, and WHY IS IT NOT REVIEWABLE?!?!

ChrTh said...

Unbelieveable. Poor Matt Leinart and the Cards' D. They did everything they could, and they lose because of stupid penalties, pathetic punt coverage, and conservative play calling in the Red Zone.

I'm thinking Leinart wishes he was drafted by someone else right now too.

Richard said...

Is there any doubt that Leinart is going to light this league up?

ChrTh said...

BTW, before anyone tries to blame me for testing my powers of jinx, I am not responsible for who coaches in Arizona. I'm innocent, I tells ya!

Jim said...

Leinart looked (rightfully) disgusted as he walked off the field. I think he is probably counting down the days until his rookie contract expires and he can join an un-cursed franchise.

On that note, I am going to slit my wrists because the Raiders passed on him.

Jason said...

richard: yes, there is some doubt; he plays for Arizona.

Troy (Gainesville, FL) said...

Holy. Crap.

And Tony K just caused about a thousand suicides in the state of Arizona... just, wow.

Half-Man/All-Amazing said...

A win is a win. All that matters is the W! 6-0, with a couple weeks off for Grossman to learn how to be a QB again.

Paulie said...

Bear down Chicago Bears

That's the first time I've ever seen a linebacker quarterback a team to the win.

Brian(in Phoenix) said...

Does any city out there want to buy a team???
Seriously, that's two weeks in a row the Cards get up early, then get conservative and manage to lose the game. It may not be so much that they are conservative but that the offensive line is horribly inept at run blocking. In the press conference Dennis Green talked about how they couldn't make the passes and runs when they counted. When your offense follows the pattern of run-run-pass after you are up 14 points, it's not too hard for the defense to stop it.

Half-Man/All-Amazing said...

"THE BEARS ARE WHO WE THOUGHT THEY WERE.
THAT'S WHY WE TOOK THE FIELD.
IF YOU WANNA CROWN THEIR ASS THEN DO IT.
BUT THEY'RE WHO WE THOUGHT THEY WERE.
AND WE LET THEM OFF THE HOOK."
- Dennis Green

Anonymous said...

best. meltdown. ever.

ok, at least this season.

Anonymous said...

for the record, I hate peter king.

Who I Like Tonight, and I Mean Tony Kornheiser

Chicago 35, Arizona 13.

Not much drama. Not much reason to tune in past midway through the second quarter. By that time ESPN will have shown you the grand new stadium in Glendale (across the parking lot from where the Coyotes play), and you will have heard some of the Matt Leinart miking (now that's a great idea, wiring a quarterback about to be sacked nine times), and the Bears will be up 21-0. Around that time, weather permitting, the Mets and Cards will be 1-1 in the fourth and a better watch.


worst. column. ever.

paul said...

Wow is Denny Green ever a sore loser. It's certainly possible that his squad has some secret match-up mojo that allows them to compete with the Bears better than other teams (to judge from tonight, and from the preseason game), but to intimate that the Bears aren't legit? Newsflash, Denny - the Bears are 6-0, and just came back from a 20 point deficit in the 4th quarter WITHOUT SCORING A TD ON OFFENSE. That's legit. That's amazingly legit. That's a team that, the day their offense sucks, their D and special teams scores touchdowns. And, every other week, their offense goes out and gets a big lead so that the D can pin their ears back and rush the QB all day.

The Bears are magic this year. And it ain't luck, or fluky. This isn't '01. They're blowing everyone out, and when they have close games on the road, their defense is simply taking victory. They got flatout beat and deserved to lose in Minnesota (again because of a bad Rex performance on the road), and what happened? Tommie Harris took a handoff from Brad Johnson, and Rex made one good throw, and that was ballgame. Arizona absolutely DOMINATED the Bears tonight (40 minutes to 20 time of possession, 6 turnovers), and the D decided it was going to win the game. It knocked Leinart's head off and scored, then stripped Edge and scored. And then Hester looked over, said "Rex, you suck tonight - I don't think you're capable of making that throw you made in Minnesota," and he took the punt and housed it. This team is a TEAM. I don't think they'll lose this season.

paul said...

Also, for the genius saying the Bears were "lucky"-

What luck is involved in sacking a QB and causing a fumble and returning it for a TD? What luck is involved in stuffing a running play and then stripping the ball and taking it in for a TD? What luck is involved in a great punt returner (already 2 80+ yd punt return TDs) making a great punt return?

It wasn't luck when Tommie Harris forced a fumble in Minnesota at the perfect time, and it wasn't luck tonight. At some point you have to look at it and think, "Isn't it odd that this one team, that also happens to win all its other games by blowouts, gets amazingly lucky in games when they play badly, and win those games?" The Bears know how to WIN. They are the best team at winning in the NFL right now.

The Cardinals were "lucky" that the Bears showed up tonight and half-assed it for 45 minutes.

ChrTh said...

What luck is involved in stuffing a running play and then stripping the ball and taking it in for a TD?

The luck that the refs didn't blow the whistle like they should have.

Just saying.

FreKy J said...

I repeat my earlier question.

HOW IS FORWARD PROGRESS NOT REVIEWABLE?!?

How can you not go back and review that play and say "Wow, Edge was stopped completely for a few seconds and the whistles should have blown," and then say the runner was down by stopped forward progress?

No, you gotta let the Bears hold him up for half a minute until someone can manage to pull the ball from his hands. Pathetic.

If the referees are going to not blow the whistle prematurely like they've been told, you have to allow reviews of when the whistle SHOULD have blown, i.e. stopping forward progress, or WHY EVEN HAVE FORWARD PROGRESS?

Kurt said...

"Also, for the genius saying the Bears were "lucky"-

What luck is involved in sacking a QB and causing a fumble and returning it for a TD? What luck is involved in stuffing a running play and then stripping the ball and taking it in for a TD? What luck is involved in a great punt returner (already 2 80+ yd punt return TDs) making a great punt return? "
- odiesucks

Not to mention that ALL of those things happening in the same quarter is beyond lucky (almost 2004 Red Sox ALCS lucky), but the Bears were LUCKY that an NFL kicker missed a 40 yard field goal. Or did the Bears cause that too?

ChrTh said...

@freky j

It's too much of a judgement call to review. For example, someone is held up at the line for a couple seconds, then changes direction and reels off a fifteen yard gain. Do you really want opposing coaches challenging that and saying 'he should have been whistled for forward progress at the line'? Yes the refs should've blown the whistle. But I'd rather have the occasional late whistle than a challenge after every big run.

Kurt said...

Think about this odie, had the kicker made that field goal, what would you be talking about today? How the Bears lost to a terrible Cardinals team or how they ALMOST came back.

How about when the Bears offense decides not to show up against a good team? Instead of 23-3 in the 4th it'll be 42-0. Not even Brian Hurlacher will be able to dig them out of a hole that deep.

The Bears are good, no doubt, but don't kid yourself into thinking they can't be beat, especially if they play as bad as they did last night.

ChrTh said...

I'm still in shock the Bears weren't ganging up on Boldin. I think John Fox woke up with a smile this morning.

Drucifer said...

I hate Rex Grossman. Really. I'm not sure I've ever seen anyone destroy a good fantasy week as quickly as he did last night. I hate Rex Grossman.

paul said...

It's NOT luck that all those things happen in the same quarter. They happened in the same quarter BECAUSE THEY HAD TO HAPPEN FOR THE BEARS TO WIN. The Bears will do what they need to do to win. If they'd only needed one of the three touchdowns to win, they'd only have gotten one. They needed all three. They got three. Similarly, in Minnesota, with 2 minutes left, they needed the ball RIGHT THEN on a turnover, or they'd lose. So they took the football away and won the game.

As for the forward progress bitching, you've got to be kidding. That was not even borderline. His progressed had been stopped, arguably, for a tenth of a second at the time he got stripped. That was a fast play. It wasn't even questionable.