After savoring the first Cubs World Series in 108 years, I thought I’d spend some time reflecting on Chicago’s wintertime pro sports teams, the Bears, Bulls, and Blackhawks. We’ll start with the worst franchise in Chicago right now, the Bears.
After losing to the New York Giants by a score of 22-16, the Bears find themselves at 2-8. Jay Cutler continues to make his way out of Chicago, one turnover at a time. On the Bears last possession, and with good field position, Cutler was strip sacked, the Bears then lined up in an illegal formation, and then threw the game finishing pick. By being strip-sacked (the Bears did recover the fumble) and throwing an interception on the same drive, Cutler did show his full array of talents.
Cutler seems always to be working behind a piecemeal offensive line but appears to have trouble picking up on pressure when he’s in the pocket, compounding the problem. Whoever quarterbacks the Bears next season, it would be nice if the Bears picked up some decent offensive tackles. It would also be refreshing if they had some receivers who could make it to the playing field. Alshon Jeffery, Kevin White, Zack Miller and Eddie Royal are perhaps, the best group of receivers on the injured list of any NFL team. When thinking about what the Bears need, it reminds me of Steve Martin where, near the end of the movie he says, “all I need is this chair and this…” so on and so forth. What’s disturbing about the Bears is that their list of needs doesn’t seem to be getting shorter.
Bulls plan of getting younger and more athletic by picking up old guys appears to be bearing some fruit. After losing to the Clippers Saturday night, the Bulls record stands at 8-5. This looks like about a 48 victory team to me. The biggest improvement on this team comes from the leadership of Dwyane Wade. The Bulls were a mess in that department last year. First-year head coach, Fred Hoiberg was in over his head, Jimmy Butler didn’t’ know how to be a leader, and Derrick Rose was a space cadet. Bringing Wade brought some cohesion to a team that dispiritedly needed it.
I was ecstatic when the Bulls traded Rose to the Knicks. I know Rajon Rondo has had issues, but I’d much rather take a chance on him than Rose.
The Blackhawks have surprised in a good way this season. I thought age was catching up to some of their core players and they needed help on their top 6 forwards. I still believe that part about the top 6 is correct. Kane and Toews are playing together, but there still hasn’t been a fit at left wing for that line.
One of the biggest plusses for the Hawks has been the scoring of Marian Hossa. Hossa looks revived after getting a summer of rest. I just hope he doesn’t wear down. Rookies, Ryan Hartman and Tyler Mott and Nick Schmaltz have added depth and should get better as the season goes on.
For the first time in years, the Hawks have some good depth on the blue line. Signing Bryan to team friendly contract was great, but adding Gustav Forsling and Michal Kempny have given the Hawks three solid defensive pairing and reduced pressure on Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, and Niklas Hjalmarssonn.
And then, there’s Corey Crawford. For a long time I thought Crawford was a good, but not an elite goalie. I believe he’s at the elite level now and the Hawks are riding him. Not as hard as Joe Maddon rode Aroldis Chapman in the World Series, but hard nevertheless.
More next time.