'Leadership' sentiments have a vaguely hollow ring


'Leadership' sentiments have a vaguely hollow ring

Something isnt entirely lining up in all of the emotional accountablejobs talk and whats going to happen after the season.

The unnamed target of Marshalls accountabilityjobs declaration was assumed to be offensive coordinator Mike Tice. Marshall certainly wasnt talking about himself, or buddy Jay Cutler. Other wide-receiver jobs already have changed hands and the offensive line was one revolving calliope of accountability in the Green Bay game.

But heres the thing:

Cutler did not mesh with Ron Turner; the two had history going back to high school and college scholarships, and Turner was kept a tight rein on everyone.

Mike Martz was the next step up the doctrinaire chain. That didnt work for Cutler.

Tice, however, is a proven consensus manager. What that means is that coaches have not-insignificant input into game plans.

And so do quarterbacks.

If Cutler and Marshall are subtly or not so subtly attacking the play calling and game planning, it happens to be game plans in which Cutler has had a hand. The plan is developed and the quarterback involved heavily on what plays he likes, doesnt like, is or isnt comfortable with, and so on. Jeremy Bates, Cutlers hand-picked position coach, is involved.

And heres the kicker: Tice afforded Cutler the freedom to audible. If the play calling isnt to Cutlers liking, well

As for after changes after the season, I dont think we can worry about that right now, Cutler said. Weve got to worry about Arizona and then whatever happens at the end of the season, thats going to be a cause for concern and Phils going to do whatevers right for this team.

Good idea to give a shout-out to the general manager, who also happens to be the guy in whose hands Cutlers chances for a contract extension rest.

What about 15?

The work and demeanor of Brandon Marshall has been exceptional this season. But be careful of something here.

Losing doesnt automatically build character but it does unfailingly reveal it. Marshall was upset after the Packers throttled him for two catches in Green Bay. He lost his cool at the end of a difficult first half in San Francisco. And his accountable outburst was after another losing performance against the Packers.

The problem here is public criticism.

Cutler showing up teammates with mannerisms is no different than calling out unspecified players or coaches or whomever after a bad game.

That said, Marshall at least knows he fouled up a little bit there.

This is a new role for me as far as leadership, he said. I know Im not perfect. Maybe Im approaching it the wrong way, but there are different ways you can lead. You can lead by example. You can lead by encouragement. You can lead by speaking, creative energy. There are so many different ways. You can lead sometimes by calling guys out. That depends on the situation.

Ive been reading a lot of books on leadership, studying documentaries on some of the greats like Ray Lewis and Michael Jordan and their approach to the game and more importantly just leadership. This is my first year of really being in this role in a positive way.

Ripping people publicly isnt a positive way, much as it might make for good sound bytes or quotes.

And regarding 54.

Heres a last thought on Brian Urlachers vented frustration at the fans for their booing and the media segment that simply wants Lovie Smith fired.

The booing was directed primarily at the offense, which again had not only failed to score more than one touchdown, but had managed that dubious feat in spite of:

first-and-goal from the Green Bay 5field goal;

the special-teams takeaway at the Green Bay 16zero yards, field goal; and

56 seconds remaining on the clock, final possession. ran a total of three plays, net one yard.

The point is that Urlacher was mad about teammates being booed and he was at least sticking up, misguided or not, for the whole team. The defense wasnt being booed; that group allowed the Packers 14 points plus the seven on a 26-yard drive following Cutlers interception just before halftime.

It was Urlacher getting defensive over the Bears, not just Lovie Smith.

Five Things to Watch: Bulls battle Pacers on Saturday on CSN

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Five Things to Watch: Bulls battle Pacers on Saturday on CSN

Watch as the Bulls square off against the Indiana Pacers on Saturday night on CSN and streaming live on CSNChicago.com. Coverage begins at 6 p.m. with Bulls Pregame Live. Then stick around after the final buzzer to watch Bulls Postgame Live for highlights and analysis.

Click here to watch the game or download the NBC Sports App, your home for live streaming coverage of the Bulls.


1. What happens when the 3s stop falling? OK, perhaps the Bulls will be a better 3-point shooting team than we originally expected, though one game is not a large enough sample size to come to that conclusion. The real question is what happens when the triples stop going in. The Bulls were able to sneak by the Celtics thanks to their barrage of makes from downtown, but they also shot just 37 percent on 2-point field goal attempts. They'll need to be much more efficient to counter a high-powered Pacers offense.

2. A re-do for Rondo: In his first game with the Bulls, Rajon Rondo came out on fire, tallying five assists in the first quarter to help his team to a 30-point stanza. But he was largely ineffective the remainder of the game, going just 1-for-9 and struggling to contain Isaiah Thomas (25 points on 10-for-15 shooting). An uptempo game like the one he'll play in against the Pacers is right up his alley, so expect him to bounce back with a double-digit assist game.

3. Who guards Paul George if Jimmy Butler needs a breather? It's a safe bet that Jimmy Butler will be locked on to Paul George for most of the night. But if Butler gets into foul trouble or needs a breather at some point, the Bulls will need to find a second defender to shut down the Pacers' top performer. With Tony Snell out of the picture, that player could be Dwyane Wade, or even Denzel Valentine (who didn't see the court Thursday). 

4. Can the bigs continue to stay that way? Lost in Wade's late-game heroics was the fantastic performance from the Bulls' big men. Chicago outrebounded a good Celtics team by 19, with Robin Lopez (eight rebounds), Taj Gibson (10) and Nikola Mirotic (9) all contributing. They'll safe a stiff test in sophomore center Myles Turner and new face Thaddeus Young on the interior, providing another good test for Fred Hoiberg's frontcourt. It could be the difference in the game.

5. What will D-Wade do for an encore? The hometown kid had a rousing performance in his debut with the Bulls, going for 22 points, six rebounds and five assists. It's Jimmy Butler's team, and Rondo will initiate the offense, but Wade seemed to make the Bulls' offense hum. He also played some point with the second unit. He'd love to parlay his performance Thursday into another good one against a division rival and likely playoff team.

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SportsTalk Live Podcast: Previewing first World Series game at Wrigley Field since 1945


SportsTalk Live Podcast: Previewing first World Series game at Wrigley Field since 1945

In the latest installment of the SportsTalk Live Podcast, David Kaplan is at Wrigley Field to preview the first World Series game on the Northside since 1945. 

Kap is joined by David Haugh (Chicago Tribune) and Jesse Rogers (ESPN Chicago) to discuss the keys to Game 3. Later, former Cubs' players Mark DeRosa, Ryne Sandberg and Todd Hollandsworth stop by to talk about what this night means to Chicago. Joe Torre and Bob Costas (NBC) also drop in to give their thoughts on the historic night. 

Check out the latest edition of the SportsTalk Live Podcast below: