Thibodeau not worried about GM predictions

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Thibodeau not worried about GM predictions

Tom Thibodeau is not fan of outside predictions, and those of general managers can now be added to that list.

Yesterday NBA.com released its 11th annual GM survey, a list of 57 questions regarding players, coaches and fans answered by all 30 general managers. Of those questions, 80 percent of respondents selected the Indiana Pacers to win the Central Division, while just 20 percent selected the Bulls.

Whether its praise or criticism, it really doesnt matter. The only thing that matters is what we think, and again I want it to come back to us concentrating on our improvement, Thibodeau said, and so if they picked us to win it, would it mean anything more? No. So to me it doesnt mean anything. I dont care about that stuff.

It was a busy offseason for the Pacers, who resigned All-Star center Roy Hibbert and point guard George Hill after a 42-win season a year ago. The team also traded back-up point guard Darren Collison to the Mavericks for center Ian Mahinmi, and signed guards D.J. Augustin and Gerald Green.

Without Derrick Rose for at least half of the season, expectations have been tempered by many outside outlets, but Thibodeau said his team is focused on daily improvement, not predictions.

If you have the right type of guys, theyre gonna get ready every day, and so thats all you have to focus in on, Thibodeau said. If you start thinking about that stuff youre not thinking about the stuff that is important, and that takes you away from doing things to the best of your ability. So I dont want them getting caught up in any of that stuff because it doesnt mean anything.

Last year 96.4 percent of general managers selected the Bulls to win the division.

The poll did, however, name the Bulls the top defensive team in the NBA and Thibodeau the best defensive coach in the NBA. Last year Chicago allowed an NBA-best 88.2 points per game and teams made less than 42 percent of their field goals, which ranked second in the league.

Derrick Rose was named the second-best point guard in the NBA behind the Clippers Chris Paul; Richard Hamilton was named the second-best player who moves without the ball, behind Miamis Ray Allen; Taj Gibson received votes as the most likely to break out, and Nikola Mirotic was named the second best international player not in the NBA.

Lions coach offers turnaround formula for reeling Bears

Lions coach offers turnaround formula for reeling Bears

The Detroit Lions have been where the Bears are. Worse off, actually, as recent as last season. A 1-7 start (the lone win was in OT over the Bears in Detroit) had coach Jim Caldwell's job in jeopardy, and the organization made a mid-season change at offensive coordinator.

The Lions then went on a 6-2 dash to the end of the year, capping it off with a second victory over the Bears, who could use even a morsel of information on fixing their broken season.

Prior to that game, Caldwell explained the two points on which Detroit's season had turned.

“I think the big thing is we haven't turned the ball over and we've done a better job stopping the run,” Caldwell said last December. “Those two things kind of jump out at you right away. We've run the ball a little better, and I think overall just operation is better.”

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So there it is, the save-your-season method the Bears seek in arresting their 0-3 free fall. And the wisdom of 10 months ago is spot on for the Bears currently.

The Bears have turned the football over six times through three games. The giveaways have led to 17 points, which arguably stands as a mild compliment to the defense: Four of the six have given the football to the opponent in the Bears' end of the field, at least once per game and by four different players.

And they are indeed the worst running team in the NFL, and the real question going into next Sunday is whether the Bears have the personnel to affect a legitimate running game.

“I think it’s hit and miss, just like us,” said coach John Fox, though not limiting the problems to just that part of his team. “Really in all three phases. I think there’s been some positives. I don’t think we’ve put a complete game together by any stretch. I think that’s evident. Whether it’s the run game, the run defense, the pass game, the pass defense, obviously none of it’s been good enough.”

For Notre Dame, prepare like a champion maybe 'should be our new mantra’

For Notre Dame, prepare like a champion maybe 'should be our new mantra’

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — The “Play Like a Champion Today” sign in the cramped stairwell from the home locker room to the tunnel at Notre Dame Stadium has been a staple of tradition on this campus for decades. But at 1-3, maybe the 2016 Irish need to change that slogan a bit. 

“You have to put everything that you can into each drill, each snap, each everything in this game,” offensive lineman and captain Mike McGlinchey said. “You can't overlook any detail. You can't leave any stone left unturned. It's so important that you prepare as a champion just as much as you want to play like one. And maybe that should be our new mantra.”

Notre Dame has had 10 underclassmen or first-time starters make starts this year, with a host of other inexperienced players seeing significant playing time, too. Right now, the team’s 1-3 record — with that only win coming over an entirely overmatched Nevada side — is a stern reminder of how sub-standard practices during the week can affect what happens on Saturday. 

“You wake up pretty fast when you're 1 and 3,” McGlinchey said. “… What we have felt that good preparation is hasn't been good enough, and we will continue to ramp that up and continue to fight for the best play that we can. And it's about getting that understanding throughout the entire football team, whether you're a freshman or a fifth-year senior, that preparation is the most important thing in this game, and games aren't won on Saturdays in September. They're won in January in the weight room or in the summer doing your drills. And then each week it's won Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday when you're on the practice field. So if you can prepare the right way, prepare harder with the guys that we have on our team, I'm pretty confident that we can get our jobs done a little bit better.”

Linebacker and captain James Onwualu agreed with McGlinchey’s assessment. 

“We've always tried to prepare to the best of our ability,” Onwualu said. “We practice hard. I think it's just the fact that we need to start practicing a little bit smarter, and the coaches have made a couple of changes, like I said, so practices are a little bit different. Still practicing with great intensity and continuing to push these younger guys to focus in on their job.”

For Notre Dame, everything is on the table when all of a sudden bowl eligibility could be at stake. Including even tweaking, for themselves, one of college football’s most famous sayings.