BOURBONNAIS, Ill. Everything in moderation, especially where All-Pro players are concerned.
Even as they again finished practice with full-go live-tackling session of practice with their reserve players, the Bears continued on Thursday to exercise caution with franchise players. Linebacker Brian Urlacher was in uniform but did not practice as he was given a second straight day off because of soreness in his left knee, which was injured in game 16 last season at Minnesota.
Defensive end Julius Peppers played in spots, in the two-on-two pass-rush drills and in some of the full team sessions. When he did work, it was high-impact: He and tackle Stephen Paea combined for two consecutive dominant wins against left tackle JMarcus Webb and left guard Chris Spencer in the rush drill, with Peppers winding up at the quarterback for would-be sacks.
All of our tackles that come on the field to go against Peppers and guys like that each day, you have to be ready to play, said coach Lovie Smith. It has to get you better."
Receiverreturner Devin Hester was excused from practice with soreness in his ankle, as was Eric Weems, a Pro Bowl return man but who has had a standpoint minicamp and training camp this offseason.
No matter how much you rely on analytics and logarithms in determining who are the best players, ultimately it becomes about judgment.
Should win shares have a greater value than a player’s winning percentage in the playoffs? Is defensive rating a better barometer about a defender’s ability than say, defensive field goal percentage differential? And how much do you weigh how they fare versus playoff teams and non-playoff teams? A legitimate case can be made for all those numbers and many, many more, being used to rank the top 25 players.
Realizing such an endeavor should not be a one-person job, I enlisted the help of my fellow CSN Insiders, compiled our rankings and voila! We made a beautiful, bouncing list of more than two dozen players.
[SHOP: Gear up, Bulls fans!]
The scoring for this is pretty simple: Each Insider picked 25 players, ranking them from No. 1 through 25. Their number one pick received 25 points, No. 2 got 24, No. 3 got 23 and … you get the picture.
Without any further delay, here is the first annual CSN Top 25 NBA Players list in addition to our "others receiving votes" group.
INDEPENDENCE, Ohio -- Starting at about 7 p.m. E.T, Tuesday may be the biggest night in Cleveland sports history.
That's when the Cleveland Cavaliers banner presentation and ring ceremony for their NBA Finals win over the Golden State Warriors will take place at Quicken Loans Arena. Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert decided to bump up the ring ceremony and tipoff of his franchise's season opener against the New York Knicks by 30 minutes so conflicted Clevelanders wouldn't have to decide between watching the Cavaliers receive their championship rings and Game 1 of the World Series, which begins at 8:08 p.m. at Progressive Field right across the street.
"I’ll probably have to leave my house at 3:30, 4:00 to get (to Quicken Loans Arena) on time tonight because obviously the Indians are playing Game 1 of the World Series," Cavs forward Kevin Love said. "It’s going to be an unbelievable night, hard to put into words."
The Cavs have already made it two Indians playoff games in 2016, with LeBron James giving a pregame hype speech before Game 2 of the American League Division Series and cheering on the Tribe for their win over the Toronto Blue Jays in Game 2 of the American League Championship Series:
And as they did in Game 2 of the ALDS and ALCS, the Cavs are planning on coming to Game 2 of the World Series Wednesday night, Love said.