Lessons beyond Bears own Pro Bowlers: Draft very, very well

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Lessons beyond Bears own Pro Bowlers: Draft very, very well

Ruminating on conclusions from the Pro Bowl results

Lovie Smith may in the end take the fall for the Bears failed 2012 and the failure will lie in his failure to solve the riddle of an offense in Chicago despite four different coordinators.

But at some point a measure of accountability (as you say, Brandon Marshall) falls on performance and talent. The Bears go into the final, pivotal playoff weekend with a quarterback (Jay Cutler) ranked 22nd (80.2) and significantly below Aaron Rodgers, Robert Griffin III, Alex Smith, Matt Ryan, Russell Wilson, Tony Romo and Eli Manning among NFC quarterbacks.

And those are just quarterbacks in the NFC playoff push and dont include Drew Brees

If the Bears want to find Pro Bowl talent for their offensive line, theyll have to spend big for it in the draft. And be right.

MORE Bears Pro Bowl choices a testament to perseverance

All six of the Pro Bowl tackles were first-round draft selections by their original teams: Russell Okung (Seattle), Joe Staley (San Francisco), Trent Williams (Washington) for the NFC; Duane Brown (Houston), Ryan Clady (Denver), Joe Thomas (Cleveland).

Only one Pro Bowl guard was lower than a third-round pick. Guards Logan Mankins (New England) and Mike Iupati (San Francisco) were No. 1s. Chris Snee (New York Giants) was a No. 2. Marshall Yanda (Baltimore) and Wade Smith (Houston) were No. 3s. Jahri Evans (New Orleans) was a No. 4.

WATCH Lance Briggs explains his Pro Bowl snub

Phil Emery was brought in as Bears general manager in large part to remedy problems with Bears drafts. How did he to on Pro Bowl Day?

No Bears rookies are going across the water; Emery and the Bears probably would settle for them just being healthy at this point. A couple of draft choices with Emery fingerprints on them are going, however: Falcons' Ryan and Kansas City Chiefs safety Eric Berry.

The catch is that Ryan was the No. 3-overall pick of the 2008 draft and Berry was the No. 6 pick of the 2010 draft. If the Bears are drafting that high anytime soon, unless it is the result of a roster obliteration after firing Smith after this season, the likelihood of Emery being the one making the final call on that pick at that point is problematic

Tyler Saladino's homer helps White Sox snap seven-game skid

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Tyler Saladino's homer helps White Sox snap seven-game skid

NEW YORK — Tyler Saladino delivered a sweet — and long overdue — sound to the White Sox on Tuesday night.

The shortstop capped off the best game of his career with a two-run homer in the eighth inning as the White Sox snapped a seven-game losing streak with a 6-4 win over the New York Mets in front of 32,781 at Citi Field. Saladino’s homer off reliever Hansel Robles gave the White Sox their first win since last Monday. He also singled, walked twice and stole two bases for the White Sox, who received four scoreless innings from the bullpen.

Losers in 15 of their previous 19, the White Sox improved to 28-25. David Robertson pitched a perfect ninth for the save.

With one out and Melky Cabrera on first after a leadoff walk, Saladino fouled off three straight Robles fastballs before he ripped a 2-2 heater out to left field for a two-run homer to put the White Sox ahead for good. Saladino — who entered the game hitting .341/.364/.463 in May — also had a three-run homer in Saturday’s loss at Kansas City.

The White Sox continued to apply pressure in the eighth as Robles walked pinch-hitter Jimmy Rollins and stole second, the team’s fourth of the game. The four steals are the most in a game by the White Sox since Aug. 6, 2011. Adam Eaton also walked again and Brett Lawrie jumped on the first pitch from Logan Verrett for a two-out RBI single and a critical insurance run.

Steven Matz had the White Sox stymied in the early going.

He induced nothing but grounders in the first few innings and didn’t allow a hit until the third. While the White Sox got a pair of singles in the fourth inning, they couldn’t take advantage as Dioner Navarro flew out. Matz, who entered with a scoreless streak of 14, cruised through the fifth inning, too.

But trailing 4-0, the White Sox finally broke through in the sixth inning.

Jose Abreu singled off the glove of James Loney and Frazier crushed a two-run homer to left-center field, his 16th. After Avisail Garcia grounded into a double play, Saladino kept the inning alive with a walk. He easily stole second and third base before Navarro chased Matz when he singled just over the shortstop’s glove to get the White Sox within 4-3. Matz allowed three earned runs and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings. He struck out three.

White Sox starter Mat Latos didn’t have it easy in the early innings.

He had a potential double play wiped out in the first inning by a Frazier error, putting two on with no outs. Consecutive fly balls by Michael Conforto and Yoenis Cespedes allowed lead runner Curtis Granderson to tag up twice and put New York in the lead. Another Frazier error in the second combined with a walk and a hit led to a 2-0 deficit after a Granderson sac fly.

A leadoff walk in the third hurt Latos when Neil Walker hit a two-run homer, his 13th. Latos retired eight of the last 10 he faced, allowing four runs (two earned) and four hits in five innings. He walked three and struck out five.

A White Sox bullpen that has seen its share of struggles took over from there and delivered three scoreless innings to hand it off to Robertson. A group that allowed 14 earned runs in 6 1/3 innings in Kansas City took a step in the right direction as Zach Putnam, Dan Jennings and Nate Jones all put up zeroes.

Jim Harbaugh makes Alabama and Nick Saban his latest Twitter target

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Jim Harbaugh makes Alabama and Nick Saban his latest Twitter target

Like the killer in a slasher movie or an infestation of ants, the discussion about NCAA satellite camps just won't die.

Justified or not, the SEC still has sour grapes over the sudden spread of satellite camps across college football, and the latest head coach to voice his displeasure was Alabama's Nick Saban. You know, the coach of the reigning national champs and a five-time national championship-winning coach.

Saban made extended comments during the SEC meetings on Tuesday, going after the involvement of third parties in the running of these camps rather than the typical SEC target of a recruiting advantage for programs from other parts of the country infringing on SEC territory.

And because the poster child for satellite camps is Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh — who seems to be holding a camp in every state in the union every day of the upcoming month of June — of course his name came up.

"I'm not blaming Jim Harbaugh, I'm not saying anything about him," Saban said, his quotes published over at Dr. Saturday. "I'm just saying it's bad for college football. Jim Harbaugh can do whatever he wants to do. I'm not saying anything bad about him if he thinks that's what's best. There needs to be somebody that looks out for what's best for the game, not what's best for the Big Ten or what's best for the SEC, or what's best for Jim Harbaugh, but what's best for the game of college football — the integrity of the game, the coaches, the players and the people that play it. That's bigger than all of this."

Despite Saban saying he didn't care what Harbaugh does, Harbaugh — who has a mighty quick trigger finger on Twitter and has put several coaches in his crosshairs this offseason — took it personally and launched a counter-attack on social media.

Add Saban to the list of SEC head honchos Harbaugh has targeted via Twitter, the Crimson Tide coach joining Tennessee's Butch Jones, Georgia's Kirby Smart and Mississippi's Hugh Freeze.

Regardless of how things play out on the field or in the recruiting rankings, Harbaugh is making sure he is competitive in the war of words.

Oh, and if you're interested, here's video of Saban's comments.

Austin Jackson could return to White Sox on Friday

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Austin Jackson could return to White Sox on Friday

NEW YORK — At least the White Sox have one thing going for them: Austin Jackson could return in time to play the Detroit Tigers.

The White Sox are optimistic their center fielder may require only another missed game or two before he returns to the lineup. Jackson exited Sunday’s game with turf toe on his left foot and hasn’t played since. A day earlier, White Sox manager Robin Ventura said the club hoped to avoid a trip to the disabled list for Jackson, even if it meant not having him for a week.

“It’s still day-to-day stuff,” Ventura said. “I’m really hoping to get him to the off day and have him back by the weekend. It doesn’t look DL worthy. I know today would be tough one to have him in there.”

“It’s right in the joint. Painful. It should be all right by Friday.”

The White Sox play one more game against the New York Mets on Wednesday before they get the day off. They return to action on Friday in Detroit, their first meeting with the Tigers.