Bears say they have to play better but can they?

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Bears say they have to play better but can they?

MINNEAPOLIS Sitting in front of his locker on Sunday afternoon, one member of the Bears offense took his time before answering. The hesitation, stretching on to a surprising 15 seconds or so, was an answer of its own.

The usual response to a question about a teams confidence is routinely upbeat. This one was not, and when the answer finally came it was about the level of confidence but rather about the Bears overall situation.

We have our window, the player said, quietly, but its getting pretty thin.

With their fourth loss in the last five games, the Bears (8-5) took one huge step closer to the abyss. They finished Sunday afternoons 21-14 loss to the Minnesota Vikings (7-6) as the No. 6 playoff team, down from No. 2 just a month ago.

They went into the Metrodome in acute need of a win against a team they had defeated six straight times. They left with quarterback Jay Cutler out with an unspecified neck injury after throwing two costly interceptions to hand the Vikings 14 points.

The Bears have gone from team that finds ways to win to one that finds ways to lose. The offense has scored 17 or fewer points in the four losses and perhaps there is no more telling indictment of the Lovie Smith offenses than that they are now 12-49 when they fail to score at least 18 points. Five of those 12 wins were in the 2005 season when the defense was the NFLs best in points allowed.

Notably perhaps, or not, defensive end Julius Peppers said afterwards that if the Vikings can beat the Bears after losing six straight, the Bears can do the same to the Packers, whove beaten the Bears five times.

It was not convincing logic.

The Bears dropped touchdown passes. Two, one by Devin Hester, one by Alshon Jeffery. And thats not even the bad news.

The really bad news is that those werent the only problems.

There were a lot of problems, said Cutler, one of those problems. Offensively I didnt play well (he didnt play well defensively, either). Interceptions, however they happened, they still happened. Weve just got to play better.

The overall is that you are what your record says you are. The Bears are 1-4 in games that have increasingly mattered. At this point. 13 games in, the biggest question is whether or not the Bears actually can play better.

Purdue hires Western Kentucky's Jeff Brohm as new head coach

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USA TODAY

Purdue hires Western Kentucky's Jeff Brohm as new head coach

Purdue has found its next head football coach.

After multiple outlets reported Monday morning that Western Kentucky head coach Jeff Brohm accepted the open job, Purdue tweeted an announcement about an hour later.

Brohm was considered one of the top options for teams looking for a new coach this season. He posted a 30-10 record in three seasons as the head coach of the Hilltoppers, winning back-to-back Conference USA championships. Western Kentucky won double-digit games in each of the last two seasons and reached a bowl game in all three of Brohm's seasons, winning the first two.

The Hilltoppers have been terrific on offense under Brohm. This season they boasted the No. 2 scoring offense in the country, averaging 45.1 points a game, and the No. 7 total offense, averaging 517.4 yards per game. Purdue already owned the top passing offense in the Big Ten this season, but Western Kentucky was the No. 5 passing offense in the nation, averaging 336.8 passing yards a game.

"We were fortunate to meet with many talented coaches from around the country during our search, and Jeff’s name was one that rose to the top early in the process," Purdue athletics director Mike Bobinski said in the announcement. "He is a coach who already has achieved tremendous success and, at the same time, has incredible upside. His reputation and record of accomplishment as an innovative offensive coach and developer of quarterbacks is second to none. That pedigree, combined with his commitment to developing the complete student-athlete and doing so with integrity makes him a perfect fit for Purdue University. I am extremely excited to have Jeff as our head football coach."

Prior to becoming the head coach at Western Kentucky, Brohm spent one season as the offensive coordinator at UAB. He was the Illinois quarterbacks coach in 2010 and 2011 under head coach Ron Zook and the quarterbacks coach at Florida Atlantic during the 2009 season. He spent seven seasons as an assistant at Louisville, where he played from 1989 to 1993 before an seven-year NFL career.

Additionally, former Louisville quarterback Brian Brohm, Jeff's brother, is expected to be the Boilermakers' new offensive coordinator, per a report.

Purdue needed a new coach after firing Darrell Hazell midway through this season. Hazell had practically no success in his three and a half seasons in West Lafayette, winning just nine games and only three Big Ten games.

The Boilers have made just two bowl appearances in the past nine seasons, but the job isn't the least attractive with the amount of resources any Big Ten school can provide, as evidenced by his reported contract.

CSN earns six Emmy Awards

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CSN earns six Emmy Awards

Chicago, IL (December 5, 2016) – CSN Chicago (CSN), the home for the most games and the comprehensive coverage of the Chicago Blackhawks, Bulls, Cubs and White Sox, was the recipient of six Emmy Awards from the Chicago/Midwest Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.  The 58th annual ceremony was held in Chicago on Saturday, Dec. 3.

“We are honored to receive these awards from our peers in the industry, but, more importantly, I’m even prouder of the non-stop dedication of our entire staff for their brilliant performance on a daily basis,” said Phil Bedella, VP/GM of CSN Chicago. 

To date, CSN Chicago has earned a total of 39 Emmy Awards since it launched on October 1, 2004.  Note the following Emmy Award winners for the 2015-16 television season:

1) Category #7-a:  Outstanding Achievement for Sports Programs – Program Feature/Segment

  • An Everlasting Bond:  Pat Gostele, Ryan McGuffey, Executive Producers.

2) Category #7-d:  Outstanding Achievement for Sports Programs – Sporting Event/Game - Live/Unedited Program/Special

  • Chicago Bulls 70’s Night at the United Center on CSN Chicago: Jim Corno, Jr., Executive Producer; Mark Harper, John Walsh, Producers; Tamra Anderson, Todd Benjaminson, Todd Hackl, Kristina Quinn, Line Producers; Neil Funk, Stacey King, Will Perdue, Mark Schanowski, Hosts; Chuck Garfien, Reporter/Producer.

3) Category #19-b:  Outstanding Achievement for Programming Promos (Non-News) Single Spot/Campaign

  • See It. Hear It. Feel It./Chicago Blackhawks:  Justin Schoenrock, Producer; Dan Gutschmidt, Jeremy Murayama, Brandon Riley, Line Producers.

4) Category #21-c:  Outstanding Crafts Achievement for On-Camera Talent - Sports Anchor/Reporter/Play-by-Play

  • Eddie Olczyk - Composite. CSN Chicago

5) Category #23:  Outstanding Crafts Achievement Off Air - Audio

  • Justin Schoenrock, Michael Horn, Dan Gutschmidt - See It. Hear It. Feel It./Chicago Blackhawks

6) Category #26-c:  Outstanding Crafts Achievement Off Air: Editor - Promotions/PSAs/Commercials

  • Justin Schoenrock - See It. Hear It. Feel It./Chicago Blackhawks