Word on the Street: GB fan fired; Barkley on Cutler

Word on the Street: GB fan fired; Barkley on Cutler

Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2011
CSNChicago.com

Man fired for wearing Packers tie

A car salesman in Oak Lawn, Ill., was fired on Monday for wearing a Green Bay Packers tie to work and refusing to remove it.

"I didn't know you could get fired for wearing a tie," John Stone told McClatchy News about his dismissal from Webb Chevrolet.

Jerry Roberts, the general manager at the suburban Chicago dealership, asked Stone to remove the tie when he reported to work -- a day after the Packers beat the Bears in the
NFC title game.

The story ends on a good note though, as a competing car dealership offered Stone a job on Tuesday. (USA Today)

Barkley, Brees defend Jay Cutler

Never shy about letting his opinions be heard, NBA legend and TNT NBA analyst Charles Barkley weighed in on the Jay Cutler injury subject and defended the Bears quarterback.

"I was mad at the players, to be honest with you," Barkley told WMVP-AM on Tuesday. "I think it was inappropriate and wrong to question a guy's heart. Now reporters, they're going to do what they want to. They're entitled to their opinion. But as players, I don't think it's appropriate to question another guy's heart.

"If you go back and start looking at all the stuff that's been said, and clearly one of the more vocal critics was Maurice Jones-Drew, and then you find out he missed the last two games with a bad knee," Barkley said. "And he was really the first guy who crucified Jay. "You have to be careful, because in the two most important games of the year, Jones-Drew sat out with a bad knee. And then it really makes him look like an idiot now." (sportingnews.com)In addition, Saints quarterback Drew Brees also weighed in on the subject and empahtizes with Cutler."In some cases I know players that have torn an MCL and been out for six weeks. In some cases it's four weeks. In some cases it's two. And sometimes you're able to fight through and play. None of us know exactly what is, nobody except Jay Cutler and the Bears training staff. So it's nothing that any of us have the right to comment on because we just don't know." (chicagobreakingsports.com)David Kaplan, Man on the Move

For a great read, check out the following link from veteran Chicago sports journalist Ed Sherman in todays Crains Chicago Business. He profiles the incredibly busy schedule (with an even busier schedule on the horizon come Cubs season) of our very own Chicago Tribune Live host David Kaplan.
Should Cutler have stayed in game? The T.Ocho show debates

Seabrook, Blackhawks talking new contractThe Blackhawks are trying to retain a piece of their corps in defensemen Brent Seabrook, who is set to become a free agent at the end of the season. Seabrook currently has the second-most assists on the team (23) with 26 points, and is already close to matching his career high in both categories.
"It's one of those things that it's going to be done when it's done," Seabrook said. "I understand that it's the business side of the game. I love Chicago, it's been my home for six years and it's definitely the place I'd like to play hockey in." (chicagosports.com)
Cubs to sign Wellemeyer?
Todd Wellemeyer is returning to the team that drafted and developed him. The Cubs signed Wellemeyer to a one-year, non-guaranteed deal. The right-hander can earn 800K, plus another 400K in incentives, Levine reports.

The Cubs drafted Wellemeyer in the fourth round of the 2000 draft and he showed some promise in the minor leagues, striking out more than a batter per inning and reaching the majors in his fourth pro season. He pitched for the Cubs from 2003-05 before they traded him to the Marlins. (MLBTradeRumors.com)
Lysacek wins USOC award

Evan Lysacek has been selected the U.S. Olympic Committee's sportsman of the year for 2010. Lysacek defeated reigning Olympic champion Evgeni Plushenko to win gold at the Vancouver games, becoming the first American men's figure skating champion since Brian Boitano in 1988. (Associated Press)

Collins suffered significant shoulder injury?

NFL Networks Albert Breer reports that Bears backup QB Todd Collins suffered a significant shoulder injury in the game. Collins has an MRI Tuesday to determine if he needs surgery.

This will probably mark the end of Collins 16-year career. He threw five interceptions and no touchdowns in the regular season, which made a lot of folks wonder why he was ahead of Caleb Hanie on the depth chart in the first place. (Pro Football Talk)
New helmet saves Rodgers from concussion?

After being twice-concussed this season, Aaron Rodgers changed helmets to one of the new, safer, high-tech models the league has been urging players to use.

Remember the big helmet-to-helmet hit he took early in the fourth quarter from Chicago defensive end Julius Peppers, the one that drew a 15-yard penalty on Peppers? Well, Rodgers feels that hit could well have led to concussion number three had he not been wearing the new helmet. (SportsIllustrated.com)

Bears announce training camp schedule

Bears announce training camp schedule

The Bears released their official training camp schedule Thursday morning. After reporting to Olivet Nazarene on Wednesday, July 26, the first of ten practices open to the public will take place the following day. The Bears will be based out of Bourbonnais for the 16th straight season. Training camp will go through Sunday, Aug. 13 before the Bears break camp and finish the preseason in Lake Forest. 

All practices are tentatively scheduled to start at various times during the 11 a.m. hour with the exception of Saturday, Aug. 13, which starts at 12:05 p.m. Those times are subject to change based on weather, and a varying set of schedules that John Fox and his coaching staff have set up, as they adjust to player and training staff preferences in hopes of reducing injuries. 

Also, new this season, fans wanting to attend practices must order free tickets in advance through the Bears website. Fans will not be allowed in without a ticket, and the first 1,000 fans each day will be given various souvenirs. The practice campus will be open to the public with tickets from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.

Here is the full training camp schedule:

After historically low turnover total in 2016, what can Bears do to get more takeaways?

After historically low turnover total in 2016, what can Bears do to get more takeaways?

Quintin Demps set a career high in interceptions last year by not doing anything different. And that’s the message he’s sending a defense that generated only 11 takeaways in 2016, tied for the lowest single-season total in NFL history. 

Demps went from picking off four passes in both 2013 with the Kansas City Chiefs and 2014 with the New York Giants to notching just one interception with the Houston Texans in 2015. In 2016, though, Demps intercepted six passes, broke up nine more and totaled 38 tackles. 

“Turnovers are like, it’s not something that you go get, it’s something you let come to you by doing your job first and then helping out,” Demps said. “And then you’d be surprised how they come to you by doing your job and being aware of when you can help somebody out. A lot of times when you get help is when you get picks and turnovers.”

The danger for a defense coming off a historically bad takeaway is sort of a whiplash effect, where there’s an over-emphasis on creating turnovers and not enough attention paid to, as Demps said, “doing your job.” There’s a fine line between being opportunistic and undisciplined.

“I tell my safeties all the time, we gotta tackle first,” Demps said. “Tackle first, don’t miss any tackles and then the picks are going to come. I promise you that.”

The Bears felt positively after signs of being more opportunistic as a defense during shorts-and-helmets practices in May and June, though if that was because of any real improvements or because the defense is usually ahead of the offense is hard to tell at this stage of the year. 

The offseason program was valuable for the Bears’ secondary in growing trust within a group that had — no pun intended — plenty of turnover after the 2016 season. The hope is that the offseason additions of Demps, Prince Amukamara, Marcus Cooper and Eddie Jackson will solidify the secondary and lead to something better than last year’s historically-low turnover total. 

“We’re still trying to build something, but the actual, real building happens in training camp because I think then you start to see the group start to get formed and yo know who’s going to go with the one’s, who’s going to go with the two’s, stuff like that,” Amukamara said. “So I think that starts to get formed. But I think with a lot of guys now, I think what that creates is competition and guys trying their hardest to make the team.”