Defensive schemed to attack Peterson


Defensive schemed to attack Peterson

Defensive players measure performance by a variety of standards: a shutout, takeaways, sacks, and of course just wins.

But defensive linemen in particular take pride in not allowing a 100-yard rusher. Coordinator Rod Marinelli acknowledged that his players were stung by Tennessees Chris Johnson and Houstons Arian Foster netting 100 on the Bears.

So when Adrian Peterson finished with 108, the Bears were not happy and expected to hear about it from Marinelli in the next few days. It marked Petersons fifth straight 100-yard game and with an average per carry of at least six yards.

But it was what one player called a soft hundred because so much of the total came in garbage time (Peterson had 25 yards in the first half when the Bears were going up 25-3).

Players said there were no special arrangements made to stop Peterson while operating within the keys and gap-control of their usual scheme.

We played a lot of Cover-2, which is the stff to do against them because hes such a good back, said linebacker Brian Urlacher. We missed a lot of tackles in the first half and he got a few yards late in the game when it really didnt matter.

We held him in check for the most part in the first half.

What the Bears have done is authorize Julius Peppers to make line calls within the overall plan sent in to Urlacher. Peppers is permitted to call stunts and games within the front and those were part of getting to Peterson.

We were doing a lot of stunting, said defensive tackle Henry Melton. We just wanted to make Peterson go one way. It kind of hurts your pass rushing at times but we were still getting there on the movement. We definitely wanted to make him go one way.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Cubs visit White House as World Series champions

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Cubs visit White House as World Series champions

On the latest edition of the SportsTalk Live Podcast, David Kaplan is joined by David Haugh (Chicago Tribune) and Jason Goch (SB Nation Radio) to discuss the Cubs' visit to the White House.

The guys reflect on the historic day and Theo Epstein's speech. Then, the panel breaks down the Packers' impressive run and question whether it's okay for Bears fans to appreciate Aarond Rodgers and company.

Finally, are the Wild the Blackhawks' biggest threat come playoff time?

Listen to the SportsTalk Live podcast below.


Fire trade for midfielder Dax McCarty


Fire trade for midfielder Dax McCarty

Midfield has been an area of focus this offseason for Chicago Fire general manager Nelson Rodriguez and another new addition to that group was added on Monday.

The Fire have traded $400,000 in general allocation money in return for midfielder Dax McCarty from the New York Red Bulls. Paul Tenorio of Four Four Two first reported the trade.

McCarty was an All-Star in 2015 and part of the league's Best XI that season when he had eight assists to go with a goal. Last season he made 26 starts for the Red Bulls and totaled three goals and had five assists.

"Since the middle of 2016, we made acquiring Dax our No. 1 priority," Rodr√≠guez said in the club's press release. "We believe adding his character and leadership in the locker room, as well as his exceptional soccer abilities on the field, dramatically improves our team."

The last time McCarty played at Toyota Park was a 2-2 draw on July 31 when a Khaly Thiam tackle caused a fractured tibia, which forced McCarty to sit out a month.

McCarty got married on Saturday, which delayed his arrival to the current U.S. national team camp. McCarty's participation in national team camp means he will join the Fire's preseason already in progress. The final match of the camp is on Feb. 3 while the Fire are set to start preseason on January 23.

McCarty, 29, has spent the past five and a half seasons with the Red Bulls. He began his career by playing five seasons for FC Dallas and was with D.C. United for part of the 2011 campaign before being traded to the Red Bulls. As an 11-year league veteran and the Red Bulls' captain, McCarty adds leadership and experience which Rodriguez has prioritized this offseason.

The Fire already added a former MLS All-Star in midfield this offseason in Juninho. The pair could line up next to each other in the preferred 4-2-3-1 coach Veljko Paunovic used for most of last season. This also could potentially put Matt Polster's role with the team in question. As the roster stands now, the third-year midfielder would be competing for two veteran All-Star caliber midfielders who were brought in at a high price.

Not to suggest a position move is in the works for Polster, but he did split time between midfield and right back with the Fire in 2015 under coach Frank Yallop and played there for the U-23 national team in Olympic qualifying. Right back remains a position of need by Rodriguez's own admission.

The trade also adds further context to the Fire trading the No. 3 pick in the draft on Friday. The Fire swapped the pick for $250,000 in general allocation money from New York City FC and Tenorio is reporting the Fire will send $400,000 to the Red Bulls for McCarty. To add those two moves together, the Fire dealt the No. 3 overall pick and $150,000 of allocation money for McCarty.