Grading Every Chicago Bears Starter's 2013 Regular Season » The Chicago Bears were sent on early vacation after a crushing loss to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday. The Bears finished with an 8-8 record in what is considered an underachieving season.  Changes to the roster will come, but before the Bears can move forward they must evaluate the team. The ... Packers vs. Bears: Takeaways from Chicago's 33-28 Loss to Green Bay » The NFC North division crown and a trip to the playoffs were laid out before them, but the Chicago Bears could not capitalize and lost to the Green Bay Packers by a score of 33-28 on Sunday afternoon. The offense sputtered in the first half but was able to stay in check due to the defense. Unfortuna... Jay Cutler More Than Deserves to Be Bears' QB of the Future » The disappointment of once again falling short of the postseason should not cloud the decision-making process that lies ahead of the Chicago Bears on soon-to-be free agent quarterback Jay Cutler.  While the Bears were unable to beat Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers in Week 17, Cutle... Referee Error Aids Green Bay Packers in Win over Chicago Bears » The Green Bay Packers, now NFC North champs and playoff bound after their 33-28 win over the Chicago Bears, converted on fourth down three times on their final drive, culminating with a 48-yard touchdown pass from Aaron Rodgers to Randall Cobb on 4th-and-8. However, one of those fourth-down con... Packers vs. Bears: Final Game Grades and Analysis for Chicago » Aaron Rodgers throws a 48-yard touchdown pass to Randall Cobb to eliminate the Chicago Bears from playoff contention.     Final Score Green Bay Packers: 33 Chicago Bears: 28 Final Analysis for the Chicago Bears Passing Offense: Jay Cutler did everything he could to keep his team in t...
Friday, 22 August 2014
Buying or Selling Chicago Bulls as Title Contenders Upon Return of Derrick Rose
Thursday, 24 January 2013 19:39   

The Derrick Rose-less Chicago Bulls have won seven of their last 10 games and are holding steady at the No. 4 spot in the Eastern Conference standings.

It hasn’t been easy, sure, as the team has hit some rough spots along the road and floated around the .500 mark for much of the campaign.

But the team’s current surge has made us wonder a few things about this year’s Bulls team.

Are they better off having lost Rose for this extended stretch this season? That doesn’t mean that the team is better without Rose on the floor. But their loss and perseverance could have rewarding benefits down the stretch this season.

Rose expects to come back in the coming weeks, according to Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times.

He would get thrust back into a lineup that has grown together in his absence and could be even more deadly with his scoring and ability to facilitate the team’s offense.

In the past, without Rose on the court, scoring was at a premium for the defensive-minded Bulls.

Others, though, have been forced to step up in his absence.

Five players are averaging double-digit scoring totals per game and Marco Belinelli has been a pleasant surprise off the bench by contributing 9.7 per contest.

It isn’t so much one guy who has shouldered the weight, but a collective effort that has extended to the team’s bench, too.

Deep teams often make noise in the postseason, and the Bulls will arguably be one of the deepest in the playoffs as a result of their hard work this season.

Without Rose, the Bulls have grown and established other “go-to” players that can and will step in and take the heat off of him in the postseason.

The East is getting crowded, though, with the rapid rise of the New York Knicks this season. Competition will be stiff, but the Bulls will undoubtedly be in the mix to earn an NBA Finals trip once the playoffs kick off this summer.

They are just too deep and talented across their roster to be considered anything but title contenders.

Buying, definitely.

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Chicago Blackhawks: What to Take from Solid Opening Weekend
Thursday, 24 January 2013 19:40   

The Chicago Blackhawks have come out of the gate in strong fashion following a pair of impressive road wins. Weekend victories in Los Angeles and Phoenix amp up an already-exciting home opener Tuesday night.

There is a lot to like about the 'Hawks 2-0 start, but there are also some areas of concern. Let's focus on the positives first.

 

Marian Hossa seems intent on showing us all that he's just fine, thank you

Hossa posted two-goal efforts in the two wins and showed no ill effects from the devastating hit that ended his season last April.

 

The captain seems all right

Jonathan Toews was kept off the scoreboard in Sunday night's 6-4 win over the Coyotes, but won 58 percent of his draws to go with a 16-for-25 performance from the dot in Saturday's 5-2 win. Toews also had a goal and an assist against the defending champs and was a plus-five for the weekend.

 

Dave Bolland is fitting into the second line

Playing alongside Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp, Bolland had a big game Sunday. The Rat tallied Chicago's fist and last goals and set up Sharp in the second period. 

 

The defensive pairings suggest more balance

The second pairing of Johnny Oduya and Niklas Hjalmarsson was a combined plus-seven for the weekend. The duo picked up an assist apiece and equaled the minutes of the top pairing of Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook.

Hjalmarsson seems less rattled with the puck as he and Oduya have played well. Former Coyote Michal Rozsival played 16 minutes Sunday and added two helpers, including a nice give-and-go with Hossa that gave Chicago the lead late in the second period.

Of course, it wasn't all sunshine and rainbows. Here's some issues from the first weekend.

 

Daniel Carcillo will be missing significant time

Like him or hate him, Carbomb played pretty well until getting injured Saturday. He assisted on Hossa's first goal and was a plus-three for the afternoon.

Brandon Saad skated in his place Sunday and is a more skilled player, but Carcillo may be missed while his lower body issue heals.

 

Ray Emery left a lot of pucks around the net

To be fair, Corey Crawford wasn't pressured much, Saturday. However, Emery's rebound control left a lot to be desired when coach Joel Quenneville gave him the crease the next day.

Of course, a lot of top goalies had trouble over the weekend, so let's wait a week or two before we begin fretting too much about the play in goal.

The weekend wasn't perfect, though it was great to have NHL games to discuss, and it's hard to be disappointed about a 2-0 start. Next up is the hoopla of the home opener with a tough opponent in the St. Louis Blues.

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Bears Fans: Let's Pump the Brakes on CFL Coach Marc Trestman as Head Coach
Wednesday, 16 January 2013 04:08   

The Chicago Bears have been running a very thorough search for their next head coaching candidate—so thorough, fans have been getting impatient.

My thought has been that they are interested in a coach who is still wrapped up in the playoffs, like Denver's Mike McCoy or Green Bay's Tom Clements.

According to Pro Football Talk, Jimmy Johnson has other ideas: he says CFL coach Marc Trestman is already hired.

Now, there are a few things that set off red flags for me.

First of all, if he was hired, why wasn't it announced? It's not as if he is in the middle of the NFL playoffs, so there is no reason not to have announced it—or at least announce that an announcement is coming up.

But Halas Hall has been silent.

Further, the regular beat writers from Chicago have heard nothing save that the search is ongoing. Ditto national guys.

I was asked why the Bears then declined comment. Jensen was ahead of me here:

However, I think there's another reason beyond, "That's just how they're rolling this time out."

I think Trestman is still in the running for a coaching position—maybe head coach, maybe a coordinator slot. So rather than say exactly what his status is and give him reason to look elsewhere, the Bears merely don't comment.

They're not done, in part also because as Jensen pointed out, Emery has not (as far as anyone knows) brought his head coaching finalists in front of the CEO and Chairman as he said he would.

Also, Brad Biggs of the Tribune noted that Johnson didn't specify what kind of coach Trestman would be. Just that he would be a coach for them.

So let's pump our brakes on this report. I won't discount Jimmy Johnson completely, nor doubt he might have deeper or different sources and could be right either right now or eventually.

However, an awful lot of arrows are pointing to "not yet," so let's continue to let the process play out.

I think there's really only one (somewhat NSFW) thing to do here.

 

Check out the B/R NFC North Facebook page. Like us and keep up with everything NFC North on Bleacher Report.

Follow me on Twitter at @andrew_garda.

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Chicago Bears: Why Marc Trestman Would Be an Intriguing Hire as Head Coach
Wednesday, 16 January 2013 04:08   

Everyday there is seemingly a new head coaching candidate that Bears General Manager Phil Emery is interviewing, but few have the track record or are as intriguing as Marc Trestman.

Trestman, the current head coach of the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League, interviewed with Emery this past Monday in Chicago (h/t ESPN) and although unknown to many fans, he is highly regarded around the NFL.

He began his college playing career in 1975 with the University of Minnesota before transferring to Minnesota State for his senior season.  He then spent time with the Minnesota Vikings in their training camp in both 1978 and 1979.

His coaching career began as a volunteer assistant at the University of Miami in 1981 and he was eventually named quarterbacks coach in 1983. During his time at Miami he was pivotal in the development of Bernie Kosar, who led the Hurricanes to a National Championship in '83 and was eventually selected as a first-round pick in 1985 by the Cleveland Browns.

He spent time with the Vikings and Buccaneers from 1985-1987 before reuniting with Kosar in Cleveland as their quarterbacks coach/offensive coordinator for the 1988 and 1989 seasons.

He went back to the Vikings from 1990-1991 before taking a three-year break from the game before returning to the league in 1995, serving as offensive coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers for two seasons. He once again moved on, taking the quarterbacks coach job with the Detroit Lions in 1997.

Stints with the Cardinals, Raiders and Dolphins from 1998 through 2004 saw him in the role of offensive coordinator in both Arizona and Oakland, while also serving as quarterbacks coach at each of those stops.

One of the highlights of Trestman's coaching career was the work he did with Rich Gannon in Oakland, particularly during the 2002 season. Trestman was promoted to offensive coordinator that season and the Raiders led the league in total offense while Gannon claimed the MVP award when he went on to throw for over 4,600 yards and 26 touchdowns en route to Super Bowl XXXVII.

He returned to the college ranks in 2005, serving as offensive coordinator at North Carolina State until the firing of Chuck Amato after the 2006 season.

He made the move to the CFL in 2008 and found immediate success, claiming two championships (Grey Cups) in 2009 and 2010 and has had his team in contention every season.  He has gotten the most out of veteran quarterback Anthony Calvillo, who won back-to-back MVP's in 2008 and 2009 and has thrown for over 4,600 yards in each season under Trestman, most recently throwing for over 5,000 yards this past season at the age of 40.

According to his website, he has worked with many college quarterbacks as they prepared for the NFL draft such as Brandon Weeden, Brock Osweiler, Tim Tebow, Jimmy Clausen, Jason Campbell and most notably, Jay Cutler.

Cutler, in his weekly radio show, did not lean one way or another in regards to his experience with Trestman, saying (h/t Chicago Sun-Times):

That's kind of before you know what you like and what you don't like.  I enjoyed my time with him, but I don't know what system he runs because he's been up in Canada, but he's been very successful there.

He has been successful everywhere he has been but has moved around a lot throughout the league because every head coach he has worked for has been fired even after Trestman came in and fixed their offense.

Steve Young, Bernie Kosar, Rich Gannon, Jake Plummer and Scott Mitchell all had some of their best seasons with him as either their offensive coordinator or quarterbacks coach.  He helped a then 36-year-old Anthony Calvillo to have one of his best seasons in the CFL in 2008 and to have five of the most productive years of his career way into his late thirties.

In an interview earlier this week, Rich Gannon said of Trestman (h/t CSN Chicago):

He was smart, innovative, quarterback-friendly and pass protection-conscious.

A smart, innovative, quarterback-friendly coach who puts an emphasis on pass protection?  Sounds like an intriguing choice for a Bears team that has lacked those traits for years.

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