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InternetFM presents sports content from our partner site YourSportsFan.com including podcasts of “The Weekend Sports Report” with Les Grobstein, Steve Leventhal and Alison Moran, along with “Dorf on Sports” with Fred Wallin and Andy Dorf. YSF also features original sports articles.

soldier field

The Chicago Bears spent almost two decades looking for a “Franchise Quarterback.” It now appears they could spend the offseason trying to get rid of one.

Adam Schefter reported early Saturday morning that several NFL executives believe that any team that is willing to absorb the $25.5 million worth of guarantees in Cutler’s contract will also be looking for a decent draft pick. In other words, for the Bears to ultimately save money by trading Cutler they must also trade their first or second round draft pick. Not exactly what Bears fans, who have spent the last few weeks playing fantasy GM, wanted to hear.

In what is turning into a fitting ending to an embarrassing mess of a season, the Bears announced earlier this week that Jay Cutler would be benched on Sunday when the Bears host the Detroit Lions. Yes, they actually benched Jay Cutler… The same Jay Cutler who Chicago traded two-first round picks, a third round pick and Kyle Orton (and his neck beard) for back in 2009. The only person who seemed surprised by this decision was Cutler himself when he met with the media on Thursday.

“I was shocked I think at first,” Cutler said. “And then I was disappointed.”

The newly-benched quarterback is not the only person who is disappointed. Bears fans as well as local and national media had huge expectations for Cutler and the Chicago offense this season, but instead the Bears have struggled to move the ball and have been crtizied for showing no heart and predictable play calling. While it is easy to blame the offensive struggles on Cutler alone, many have wondered if his teammates ever actually committed to him.

“I don’t think I can answer that,” Cutler said Thursday. When asked if he ever wondered that himself he replied, “Yeah, I think everyone would. Its a natural response to wonder that.”

So, if Cutler is not the answer, who is? Jimmy Clausen will make his first start since 2010 and unless he has improved tremendously since his days in Carolina, we have seen what he has to offer. (And it’s not good.) The Bears can also forget about attempting to draft a franchise quarterback. If they have to trade their first round pick just to package Cutler, they would miss out on the FEW options available in this years weak quarterback draft class. That would most likely mean the Bears would go through rebuilding mode once again and start all over from scratch. However, if hell freezes over and head coach Marc Trestman does not get fired at the end of the season, he has not ruled out Cutler returning as the Bears starting quarterback in 2015.

“Thats where we are now,” Trestman answered thursday when asked about Cutler’s future. “That doesn’t mean the evolutionary process of Jay’s growth as a quarterback can’t continue and he can’t get to where we think he can be. Because every quarterback is on their own journey and some people go through these times. There’s clearly evidence historically that players are 30-years old, 31-years old and haven’t reached their full potential, and by the time they conclude their career they have.”

So now the Bears have to ask themselves if they are willing to fork over big money to see if Cutler finally “evolves” into the player many thought he could be. After another injury riddled season last year Cutler came into the 2014 campaign healthy and ready to prove his doubters wrong and show he is worth the big contract he received, instead Cutler leads the NFL in interceptions (18) and turnovers (24). The final straw was last Monday’s awful performance against the New Orleans Saints when Cutler threw three interceptions and was sacked a season high seven times. Hardly a franchise quarterback performance on national television.

The strangest thing about the benching of Cutler is the fact that he will still be active on Sunday, and rookie David Fales will not. Meaning if, heaven forbid, Jimmy “Touchdown” Clausen goes down with an injury, Cutler steps right back behind center… Think a guy with an “attitude problem” will swallow his pride and give all of his effort in a relief appearance? Yeah, me neither… Could Trestman just be proving a point to the Bears’ front office that his offense works with a diffrent quarterback and by showing Jay has been the problem all along? Who really knows anymore, the only thing we do know know now is getting rid of Jay wont be as easy as it would in “Madden 15″ and the Bears may have to question whether it is worth a draft pick or not.

In today’s NFL, nothing really surprises me anymore. However, if major changes aren’t made around Halas Hall I would be shocked. The Bears are a mess and it’s not just the head coach and the quarterback, it’s everybody in the locker room and front office. For years the Bears’ front office has given Jay Cutler the benefit of the doubt. First, he did not have the necessary weapons to win, then he did not have the offensive line, then it was his offensive coordinators fault, then it was the head coach who only understood defense, now it’s the coach who doesn’t understand football. The point is, it’s about time they realize exactly what Jay is. He is an average quarterback with tremendous physical gifts and talent, but unfortunately he is also a terrible decision maker, and clearly cannot lead a team to a Super Bowl. The problem is few quarterbacks can lead you to a Super Bowl.

Rodgers, Brees, Brady and Manning are all elite quarterbacks. Luck and Wilson are almost there, Big Ben is a proven winner and Flacco had one of the greatest postseasons we have ever seen a few years back. Everybody else in the league is average. To win in the NFL you need to be a great football TEAM. Only a handful of quarterbacks can lead you to a title based on their talent alone and even they need tons of help to win in the postseason. We see teams reach every year in the draft looking for a franchise quarterback. Look at Christian Ponder, Matt Leinart, Johnny Manziel, etc… Every team is looking for a great NFL quarterback, the problem is there’s not a ton of them out there. Thats why we see guys like Dalton, and even Cutler himself get the big deals, everybody is looking for the next great quarterback.

Needless to say the Bears have some big decisions to make this offseason, hopefully for the fans it is finally the right one.

demps

Northwestern came into Saturdays home matchup against Western Michigan looking to bounce back from an embarrassing 80-67 loss to Central Michigan on Thursday night. Even though things were looking shaky in the first half, head coach Chris Collins knew his team was ready for a fight.

” We have a really young team so you worry about how they are going to respond” Collins said after the game. “ One of the things we wanted to get back to is the basics of what our program is about and that’s fight, it’s being tough and battling on every possession. I thought we did that today.”

The Wildcats (7-4) had no choice but to battle back after a slow start left them trailing Western Michigan (6-4) 28-25 at halftime. Northwestern struggled to find scoring in the first half and shot an awful 2-11 from three point range, then in the second half guard Tre Demp’s caught fire and took over.

Demp’s would lead Northwestern with a game high 17 points on 6-15 shooting and provided the leadership his young teammates needed in the final twenty minutes of the game.

” All the credit goes to my teammates” Demps said after the game. ” They continued to get me the ball even after the air ball to start the second half, they continue to trust me, saying in film sessions that they need me to shoot, just the confidence they give me is really good”

Freshman guard Bryant McIntosh would also find his game in the second half, where he scored 8 of his ten points and dished out four assists and center Alex Olah also came up big scoring eight points and grabbing 12 rebounds for Northwestern, who will host UIC at Welsh-Ryan-Arena on Monday at 12 pm.

Western Michigan struggled to find their shot all game. Northwestern held Connar Tava and guard David Brown to a combined 6-24 from the field and pressured the Broncos all day long. Tava entered the game averaging 16.2 points and 6.0 rebounds and was named MAC West Player of the Week after scoring 19 points against Pacific last week.

” We did a great job on their two best players” Collins said proudly after Saturdays win. ” Brown is twenty-four years old, he is a 6th year senior thats playing guys out there that are 18, so when you play hard against grown men like that, against an NCAA opponent it’s a really good win and something we needed.”

The Wildcats will take as many wins as possible before beginning their tough Big Ten schedule December 30th at Rutgers.

click below for Chis Collins post game press confrence.

thWYQ0G5T5It has happened.

I never thought this day would come… in a million years, I would never have believed that the Chicago Bears would be more of a joke then the Jacksonville Jaguars.

From top to bottom, the Bears organization has failed this city and it has left its fan base shaking their heads and questioning their allegiance.

It’s bad enough to be 5 – 9 going into their week 16 matchup against the Lions, and that they also kept their defensive coordinator on the payroll… not to mention, allowing their offensive coordinator to divide the locker room and defile his players trust without any repercussion… but to turn Jay Cutler into a victim and encourage the masses to take pity on him is unforgivable.

We (the masses) were having such a nice time ripping Cutler’s poor performances and blaming him for Sony’s decision to not show The Interview in theaters… but after the benching and the questions surrounding Trestman/Emery’s future, we now look at him like Bambi after his mother was shot.

“Shocked at first, and then disappointed… I didn’t see this coming,” Jay Cutler said in his press conference Thursday.

We were shocked too, Jay.

By the way, who is Jimmy Clausen?thOXY2H3EB

Drafted by the Carolina Panthers in the 2nd round out of Notre Dame in 2010, Clausen went 1 – 9 in his rookie season and hasn’t started a game since 2010. The Panthers went 2 – 14 that year and landed Cam Newton with the 1st overall pick in 2011, ending Clausen’s time as a starter in Carolina. During his preseason snaps with the Bears, Clausen was 24 – 37 for 280 yards, 2 TDs and 1 interception.

So Cutler is benched and Jimmy Clausen is getting the start against one of the best defensives in the NFL. A defense that has Ndamukong Suh and Ezekiel Ansah, who have combined for 14 sacks and are giving up the least amount of yards per game on the ground.

Last time these two teams met, Matt Forte only ran the ball 5 times and the Bears got destroyed 34 – 17 on Thanksgiving. It is hard to believe that the outcome this Sunday will be much different, especially with a backup quarterback and a team who is looking towards the offseason.

Jay Cutler’s full press conference about him being benched for Jimmy Clausen

Key Matchup: Jimmy Clausen starting vs. Jay Cutler sideline presence

Key Injuries: WR A. Jeffery (Prob.), K R. Gould (Out), S C. Conte (Out)

Fact: First time Jay Cutler has been healthy for an entire season since 2009

Spread: Lions -9

Prediction: Lions 31, Bears 13

@WesEvans24

Lions Bears

 

Jimmy Clausen interview

Jimmy Clausen addresses the Chicago media

with Dave Rusch and Steve Leventhal

..join us with our guest Les Grobstein from the Score 670 in Chicago, as we look at the Bears quarterback mess.  Highly paid Jay Cutler is being benched to give journeyman Jimmy Clausen a chance to start against Detroit on Sunday.  Everything that can go wrong for the Monsters of the Midway has gone wrong in 2014. Will it cost Marc Trestman his job?  Will Cutler have a new address next Fall?  We discuss this and more.  Ryan the intern looks at the big games this weekend with playoff implications.

Hear interview audio from Trestman, Cutler, and Clausen, plus Lions coach Jim Caldwell, Aaron Rogers, Julius Peppers, and Russell Wilson of Seattle.

Don’t miss cameos from Dan Patrick and Bob Costas.

 

Mike Dunleavy meets with the media

Mike Dunleavy meets with the media

Since Tom Thibodeau has taken over as head coach of the Chicago Bulls, they have never been a team to look back and wonder, “What if?” — not that anybody would blame them if they did. Two major knee injuries to Derrick Rose have robbed Chicago from a legitimate chance to compete for a title, and the Bulls again failed to land their main free agent target this offseason in Carmelo Anthony.

“I don’t want to look backward,” Thibodeau said after Wednesday’s practice. “It didn’t work out then, but it worked out for everybody in the end. We feel very good about having the opportunity to get Pau.”

Indeed the Bulls definitely hit the jackpot signing a rejuvenated (and healthy) Pau Gasol, and rookie sensation Nikola Mirotic, (who continues to improve every time he steps on the court). Chicago has yet to reach full potential, mainly due to injuries, but still find themselves 15-9 and 1st in the central division heading into Thursday night’s matchup against Carmelo’s New York Knicks.

Meanwhile Melo might be wondering “What if?” in New York, where his Knicks are a putrid 5-22. Anthony has recently stated that he, “was close to signing with the Bulls,” but in the end chose to remain in New York, where he signed a five-year, $124-million deal.

Joakim Noah, who spent the offseason trying to persuade Anthony to come to Chicago, also does not dwell on the what ifs.

“I am a live-in-the-moment kind of guy,” Noah said Wednesday when asked if he wonders what life with Melo could have been like. “I don’t try to dwell on what could have happened. I’m really happy with what we have right now. Were a deep team, and we are striving for something pretty different for what they’re striving for in terms of goals this year.”

Bulls forward Mike Dunleavy knows things could have been much different for him this season and was asked if he every wonders where he would be if Anthony had become a Bull.

“Not really, I would be playing basketball somewhere,” Dunleavy answered. “Obviously I am really happy to be here. Sometimes It’s nice to have a Bentley, but a Honda Accord will get you there as well.”

So while Melo may be a flashy, explosive Bentley the Bulls just couldn’t afford, they seem to be just fine settling for the less glamorous “Honda” Dunleavy had mentioned. Gasol is averaging 18.7 points and 11.9 rebounds so far this season and more importantly is already becoming a great teammate.

“He definitely brings a good attitude, a positive attitude to the team,” Noah said Wednesday. “He’s just a good guy to have around, somebody who has seen it all. Its good to have a new voice in the locker room.”

Click below for more coverage of Weds practice.

Nintendo 64

Nintendo 64

My family has a tradition (thanks to my cousin Amber) that we open “some” presents on Christmas Eve so it didn’t take 4 hours the next day. To be honest, I think my cousin couldn’t control herself and pouted/cried her way into open up presents early.

I am not complaining since I reap the benefits of her tears.

With that said… I was 11 years old when I received the greatest present in the history of time.

A Nintendo 64.

You can yell and argue with me until you are blue in the face, but it is and will always be, the greatest video game system ever created.

This was the precipice of my gift receiving career, but I didn’t know it at the time.

I am hoping that NU’s win over Mississippi Valley State is not the precipice of the Cats 2014-15 season.

After winning by one of the largest margin of victories in school history, the Cats laid an “egg” against Central Michigan. NU had won all of the 3 previous meetings between these two schools but had no answer for the Chippewas hot shooting tonight.

Coach Collins unable to explain the Cats poor performance against Central Michigan

Coach Collins unable to explain the Cats poor performance against Central Michigan

PG Bryan McIntosh was tabbed as the co-Freshman of the week with his game against MVS last Sunday night but was unable to repeat the performance. Going 5-14 and only scoring 12 points, he added some costly turnovers against the Chippewas press in the 1st half.

Central Michigan out hustled and rebounded the Cats all night and seemed to be a step faster when chasing down 50/50 balls. “Our effort was not up to standards tonight which I take very personally. I am okay with wins and losses, but something that is unacceptable is not fighting. And again, the way we started the game was very sluggish, I can’t explain it. I don’t have an answer for you guys,” Coach Chris Collins said to the media after the game.

It was a very uncharacteristic game for a Chris Collin coached team, the usually disciplined Cats, were frantic against the press and put the Chippewas in the bonus early in both halves.

NU’s defense was porous all game, giving up easy layups and offensive rebounds all game to the much smaller Chippewas squad. The 80 points by Central Michigan breaks the streak of 15 straight games of NU holding teams under 70 points.

If MVS is the N64 of this year… NU fans are in for a long season.

Coach Chris Collins calls out his team for their lack of effort in the Central Michigan Northwestern game

@WesEvans24

 

NU Win 101-49

NU 101-49

There is an innate sense for a son to perform to the best of his ability when his father is watching from the stands. Whether it is playing basketball or the piano, the emotional boost of having a loved one cheering you on cannot be replicated.

Hopefully the Wildcats head coach Chris Collins didn’t use up this phenomenon against Mississippi Valley State Sunday night in Evanston.

Doug Collins, ex-Bulls head coach and father of the aforementioned Chris Collins, sat in section 104 to watch his son’s team dominate an undermanned and inferior opponent from the Southwestern Athletic Conference.

The 1 – 7 Devils scored the first basket of the game and those 16 seconds was the only time they had the lead.

The Cats had a comfortable lead throughout the game and were never challenged at either end of the court. MVS’s 49 points extends NU’s streak of consecutive games of holding their opponent under 70 points to 15, which ties Virginia for the longest streak in the nation.

The blowout win was led by NU’s pair of starting freshman, Bryant McIntosh and Vic Law, who combined for 26 points and 8 assist. Law got the crowd to their feet with a monster jam off of a MVS turnover at the 7:58 mark in the first half.

Not to be outdone by the freshman, Jr. Tre Demps added 2 spectacular dunks of his own while compiling 15 points, going 3 – 6 from beyond the arc.

Tre Demps talk to the media after 101-49 win

Tre Demps talk to the media after 101-49 win

The big man, 7 foot Jr. Alex Olah also got into the action with a solid performance and another double-double. After going down early with an apparent leg injury, Olah was able to pull down 10 rebounds while scoring 17 points in only 20 minutes of work.

Northwestern does not score a 100 points often, the last time was a 100 – 89 victory over Wisconsin on March 6th, 1993. This 52 point win was not the largest margin of victory for the Cats in their history, NU beat the University of Chicago 101 – 45 in 1988.

The game might have been decided early but NU needed a win to snap their 3 game losing streak and build some confidence going into conference play later this month.

If NU’s plays this way every time Doug Collins comes to watch his son, Chris might have his father take up residence at Welsh-Ryan Arena.

NU Head Coach Chris Collins talks about the Cats win and building off this game (NU MVS)

@WesEvans24

 

BreesChicago fans were buzzing this week but it had nothing to do with Marc Trestman’s future or the Chicago Bears.

The signing of Jon Lester (Cubs) and the trade for Jeff Samardzija (Sox) helped a football-inept city cope with their team’s terrible season for a few days. Personally, it was nice to not have to think or talk about football the past couple days… but there are still three more games left so we are not out of the woods.

The Bears were officially eliminated from playoff contention last weekend but that was just a formality. It was another loss on primetime television, as the Cowboys dismantled the Bears 41 – 28 behind DeMarco Murray’s 179 rushing yards. This loss dropped the Bears to 5 – 8 on the season and they will have to win out to finish .500.

If only the Bears were in the NFC South.

The New Orleans Saints also come in with a 5 – 8 record but are still in the playoff picture, due to playing in the worst division in football.

Drew Brees is having a down year by his standards after throwing for 5000+ yards the past 3 seasons, Brees is on pace to finish with around 4900 yards and 34 TDs.

But…

Brees and the Saints get to feast on the 30th ranked pass defense who will be looking to keep Jimmy Graham, Kenny Stills and Marques Colston out of the end zone. The Saints are 2 – 0 in their last two meeting with the Bears, averaging 28 points and look to make it 3 straight wins.

The Bears aren’t the only team with an anemic defense.Brees and Payton

The Saints have given up at least 27 points in five straight games and they are allowing the second-most yards per game this season at 398.7, just ahead of Atlanta’s 410.8. Coach Sean Payton knows that change will happen throughout the organization if his guys don’t step up.

“Guys understand, hey, this is serious. It’s their profession. It’s our profession. It’s going to be our job and the leaders of this team to lead. This is exactly when you find out who your guys are,” Payton said. “If it’s not happening … then we’re going to look at other options.”

The Bears will get a good look at 2nd year WR Marquess Wilson these next three weeks as Brandon Marshall was placed on season ending IR. Marshall’s streak of 7 straight seasons of 1000+ receiving yard is snapped as he will watch from the sideline, finishing the 2014 season with 721 yards. Wilson gets the start after missing 9 weeks with a broken clavicle after diving for a deep ball in training camp.

With the Bears out of the playoffs, it will be interesting to see if Jay Cutler and company can stay focused so they don’t get humiliated on national television… again.

Key Matchup: Drew Brees vs. Bears Secondary

Key Injuries: WR Brandon Marshall (Out), MLB D.J. Williams (Out)

Fact: The Bears have missed the playoffs in 4 straight seasons

Spread: Saints -3

Prediction: Saints 31, Bears 24

@WesEvans24

 


Matthews-Claywith Dave Rusch and Steve Leventhal

…Jeff Rich from MoreThanaFan.net joins the guys to discuss some of the key NFL matchups this weekend, analyze the Cards win over St. Louis, and comment on what the future of the Chicago Bears holds.

Hear interview audio from Clay Matthews, Mike McCarthy, Reggie Bush, Arizona coach Bruce Arians, Dallas’ Jason Garrett, and Eagles QB Mark Sanchez.

Plus, don’t miss cameos from Brent Musberger and Dick Vitale, all on the Weekend Sports Report.

Joakim Noah talks to the media after Tuesdays practice.

Joakim Noah talks to the media after Tuesdays practice.

The Chicago Bulls have definitely improved offensively so far this season.

With the addition of Pau Gasol, and departure of the smaller/less effective Carlos Boozer, the team has upped their points per game average from 93.7 to 102.6. Strangely enough, it has been the defense that has struggled at times.

The Bulls (12-8) are allowing an uncharacteristically high 100.5 points per game and have struggled to stay healthy in the first chunk of the season. Joakim Noah is not worried just yet, however.

“We are 20 games in now, and I still believe we can get a lot better.” Noah said on Tuesday. “Guys are working hard and I just believe that we will be a lot better.”

The Bulls center sat out Tuesday’s practice with a knee injury and is not expected to play in Wednesday’s game against the Brooklyn Nets. The Bulls have been hampered by injuries in the first few months of the season and have struggled to “gel” on the court.

Luckily for the Bulls, the Brooklyn Nets also have some big man injuries of their own. Brook Lopez is out at least a week with a strained lower back. Lopez is averaging 16.1 points per game along with 6.2 rebounds and 1.7 blocks.

While Noah will most likely miss Tuesday’s game, Derrick Rose will play and hopes to break out of his own recent struggles.

Rose scored only 9 points on 2-11 shooting in Saturday night’s loss to the Golden State Warriors, and has become reliant on his jumper rather than attacking the rim since his return from injury. Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau is hoping Rose can return to elite status again soon.

“He has to attack,” Thibodeau said on Tuesday. “That’s the bottom line. Some teams are going under [picks] and some teams will adjust to a blitz. All I know is when he’s pushing the ball up the floor and attacking, that’s who he is. He can’t defer. He can’t pace himself. He’s got to go. That’s the big thing. He’s got to go.”

The Nets will enter Tuesday’s matchup with an 8-11 record and will be missing two of their top scorers in Lopez and guard Joe Johnson (Illness). The Brooklyn Nets could be just what the doctor ordered for a team looking to get back on track.

Click below for audio from Tuesdays practice

The Chicago Blackhawks get ready for Fridays matchup against Montreal

The Chicago Blackhawks get ready for Fridays matchup against Montreal

It has been an interesting week to say the least for the Chicago Blackhawks.

The team returned from their circus road trip on Wednesday night with a 4-1 victory over the St Louis Blues at the United Center. They also found out this week, they will be without goaltender Corey Crawford for 2-3 weeks. Crawford will miss time, while he recovers from a foot injury he suffered by missing a step at a concert. However, the Hawks refuse to be distracted and will look for their fifth straight win on friday night at the United Center, when they host the Montreal Canadiens.

While the Hawks are currently on a four game win streak, the Canadiens come into Fridays matchup heading the opposite direction. Montreal has lost four of their five games and will be looking to get back on track in the teams final regular season matchup against Chicago.
( The Blackhawks won 5-0 in Montreal on November 4th) Even with their recent struggles the Canadians, still have one of the leagues best records at 17-8-2.

The Blackhawks will have Antti Raanta in the net, for his first career appearance against the Canadians. Raanta made 40 saves on Weds night in his first start since a 3-2 loss to St Louis on October 25th.

” I like how he challenged” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said about Raanta. ” I think he was comfortable meeting pucks, he was good at meeting pucks.”

Patrick Kane leads the Hawks with 25 points (12g, 13a) and, looked very impressive in Wednesdays victory while scoring two goals in a game for the 18th time in his career. Even more impressive has been the performance of Kris Versteeg. After struggling last season following knee surgery, Versteeg has once again became a factor for the Hawks, producing 14 points during the last eight games. Versteeg tallied multiple points only six times in 63 games last season, through 21 games this season he has two or more points in seven games.

” I think he is better than ever” Kane responded when asked about his teammates performance this season. “He has been awesome the whole year. Its fun to see.”

With Montreal wrapping up their road trip Saturday night in Dallas, Canadiens goaltender Carey Price was expected to get a rest this weekend however, it was announced early friday he will be between the pipes against the Hawks. Price is 3-2 with a 2.19 goals against average in his career against Chicago.

Chicago Blackhawks prepare for Montreal on Friday morning

Chicago Blackhawks prepare for Montreal on Friday morning

Quick notes from Friday’s morning skate.

– Patrick Sharp returned to practice this week for the first time since injuring his right knee on November 4th.

– Adam Clendening was reassigned to the AHL on Wednesday night. Klas Dahlbeck will now get his chance at the Blackhawks sixth defensemen role.

– Max Pacioretty leads the Canadiens this season with 12 goals and 20 points.

Dave Martinez and Joe MaddonCHICAGO The Chicago Cubs today named Dave Martinez as the club’s major league bench coach and shifted Brandon Hyde to first base coach.  Additionally, Henry Blanco has been named the club’s major league quality assurance coach.  Doug Dascenzo, who had been named first base coach on October 9, will remain in the organization as outfield and baserunning coordinator with responsibilities in the major and minor leagues.

Today’s announcement completes manager Joe Maddon’s coaching staff for the 2015 campaign: Chris Bosio (pitching coach), Brandon Hyde (first base coach), Gary Jones (third base coach), John Mallee (hitting coach), Dave Martinez (bench coach), Lester Strode (bullpen coach), Mike Borzello (catching and strategy coach), Eric Hinske (assistant hitting coach), Henry Blanco (quality assurance coach) and Franklin Font (staff assistant).

Martinez, 50, served as Joe Maddon’s bench coach in Tampa Bay the last seven seasons and today returns to the organization that originally drafted him in the third round of the 1983 Draft.  Martinez first served as a spring training coach for Maddon in 2006 and 2007 before being named to the big league staff on October 11, 2007.

A former outfielder, Martinez played 16 seasons in the big leagues with nine teams: the Cubs (1986-88, 2000), Montreal (1988-91), Cincinnati (1992), San Francisco (1993-94), the White Sox (1995-97), Tampa Bay (1998-2000), Texas (2000), Toronto (2000) and Atlanta (2001).  He batted .276 with 91 homers and 580 RBI in 1,919 major league games.

Blanco, 43, last year completed a 25-year professional catching career when he retired with the Arizona Diamondbacks at the end of spring training and immediately joined the club’s big league coaching staff as an assistant.   He spent four seasons with the Cubs, helping the club to consecutive National League Central titles in 2007 and 2008.

Overall, Blanco played in 971 major league games covering 16 seasons and 11 teams: Los Angeles Dodgers (1997), Colorado (1999), Milwaukee (2000-01), Atlanta (2002-03), Minnesota (2004), the Cubs (2005-08), San Diego (2009), the New York Mets (2010), Arizona (2011-12), Toronto (2013) and Seattle (2013), finishing his career with a .223 batting average, 145 doubles, 72 home runs and 298 RBI.

(from newswire reports)

Cowboys QB Tony Romo

Cowboys QB Tony Romo

0.8%.

This is not the change in the unemployment rate for the US or the percentage of run plays Marc Trestman called in the Bears 34 – 17 loss to the Lions on Thanksgiving. It is the odds the Bears have in making the playoff this year per SportsClubStats.com.

So you’re saying there’s a chance!

No… that’s not at all what I am saying. The math may not have officially eliminated the Bears from playoff contention but it is time to put this team and their fans out of their misery. The writing has been on the wall for weeks and it will be the Cowboys who should “mathematically” end the Bears season.

The Cowboys are coming off a humiliating performance of their own on Thanksgiving Day, losing 33 – 10 at home to the Eagles. Tony Romo had a game for forget as he was 18-29 for 199 yards with 2 interceptions and no TDs. It was the first time Romo didn’t throw a TD pass since September of 2012.

“I think, if you’re good enough player usually you just put your head down and go to work and get better for the next game,” said Romo, as his Cowboys are sitting at 8 – 4,  and are looking to right the ship.

We all know who plays UNICEF for struggling teams needing a confidence booster. A slump buster if you will…

Da’ Bears.

Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray

Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray

Dallas comes to town with the NFL’s leading rusher in DeMarco Murray, who’s 1427 yards, is 381 yards more than the next closest rusher. Murray has rushed for at least 100 yards in 10 of 12 games and has 8 TDs on the year. Murray averages 24 carries a game which Matt Forte has only done once this entire year.

The Bears will be defending another big named wide receiver this week as Dez Bryant comes in with 67 receptions, 952 yards and 10 TDs. Bryant has an opportunity to have a monster day if the Bears have to put eight in the box to slow down Murray.

The Bears are sitting at 5 – 7 and will use the rest of the season to determine who will be around next year. That includes 2nd year Coach Marc Trestman, who appears to be overwhelmed with coaching in the NFL and will be trying to save his job.

I expect to see a lot of Brock Vereen, Will Sutton and Ego Ferguson in the upcoming weeks since the Bears have 4 extra games to analyze their 2014 draft picks.

Bostic, Bushrod, Cutler and Trestman talk about the Cowboys-Bears game and the need for a balanced offense

Key Matchup: DeMarco Murray vs. the Bears front 7

Key Injuries: WR Alshon Jeffery (Quest.), K Robbie Gould (Quest.), LB Lance Briggs (Out)

Fact: 500 – 1 odds for the Bears to win the Super Bowl

Prediction: Cowboys 31, Bears 20

@WesEvans24

Pau Gasol talks to the media after the loss

Pau Gasol talks to the media after the loss

The highest scoring team in the NBA, the Dallas Mavericks, were the spoilers for the Bulls homecoming after a 4 – 3 circus trip.

The Mavs (13-5) and Bulls (11-6) were evenly matched as they played like playoff bound teams from their respective conferences.

The first quarter flew by with each team shooting 20+ shots and over 40% from downtown and when the dust settle the Bulls had a 26 – 25 lead going into the 2nd quarter.

The ex-Wisconsin star came into the game only shooting 32.7% from three but looked like Ray Allen tonight, going 6 – 6. Harris’s performance helped the Mavs take a 59 – 47 lead going into half time.

The most entertaining matchup of the evening was watching rookie Nikola Mirotic guard his childhood hero Dirk Nowitzki. Mirotic was compared to Dirk coming out of the draft and was impressive in the loss, scoring 15 while adding 4 rebounds and 3 assist. While Dirk was held in check all night, going 8 for 22 and scoring 22 points.

Monta Ellis is a shooter. An “ I don’t care if I am open or if we have 22 seconds left on the shot clock” shooter who was feeling it against the Bulls. Ellis finished with 38, on 16 – 35 shots.

The Bulls were able to cut the deficit to 6 going into the 4th thanks to a 9 – 0 run to start the 3rd quarter. The Bulls also have their best defensive quarter, only giving up 21 points and scoring 8 points off of 5 Dallas turnovers.

Derrick Rose after 132-129 loss to Dallas

Derrick Rose after 132-129 loss to Dallas

The Bulls depth kept them in the game even without the services of Taj Gibson or Doug McDermott. Hinrich (27), Mirotic (26) and Brooks (15) minutes were able to give Rose, Noah and Butler rest for the fourth quarter.

The 4th got exciting down the stretch as the Bulls took a 4 point lead with just over 3 minutes left but were not able to close out the Mavs in regulation. With a 3 point lead, Hinrich fouled Monta Ellis with 1.2 seconds left, sending the 79% FT shooter to the line for 3 attempts. Ellis hit all three FT to tie the game at ­­­­­­­108.

Rose was unable to make his 3 point attempt as time expired.

Rose 0 – 1 at the buzzer.

Dallas controlled the tempo for the first OT as they built a 3 point lead with 7.2 seconds left at 121 – 118. Rose found himself with the ball after a broken play and heaved up a floater from the top of the key and banked it in as time expired.

Rose 1 – 2 at the buzzer.

The Bulls were never able to get any momentum in either of the overtime periods and it cost them. Outscored 11 – 8 in the 2nd OT, the Bulls and Rose’s final shot came up short in the end.

Rose 1 – 3 at the buzzer.

Dallas 132, Bulls 129

Rose and Thibs talk about the Mavericks Bulls game and the status of the team

@WesEvans24

 

Bears QB Jay Cutler meets with the media

Bears QB Jay Cutler meets with the media

with “Packer” Dave Rusch and Steve Leventhal

….Join our guests Ryan Leon of CBS Sports in San Francisco to discuss the NFC playoff picture and our fantasy football expert Mike Perlow to get the best matchups for this weekend. Plus, a preview of the Bears-Cowboys game.

Hear interviews from Aaron Rogers, Mike McCarthy, Jay Cutler, Marc Trestman, Jason Witten, Tony Romo, and Peyton Manning.

Don’t miss cameos from Dick Vitale and Hall of Famer Len Dawson, on The Weekend Sports Report this week.