Cutler must be cautious against Panthers

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Cutler must be cautious against Panthers

By this point, everyone has seen the vicious hit Bears quarterback Jay Cutler sustained last week from Lions defensive tackle Ndamakung Suh. Fortunately, Cutler only suffered bruised ribs from the hit and avoided what could have a significant shoulder injury. He toughed it out and finished the game against the Lions, but the injury left him feeling uncomfortable during the duration of the game.

There hasn't really been any clarification on what Cutlers injury entails other than bruised ribs. Cutler has expressed being sore all week, but has been able to practice. In my experience, bruised ribs can be nagging, linger, and take a long time to heal if damage to rib cartilage is involved. Just about every breath you take is an uncomfortable reminder of the problem, and most defenders will try to hit you in the rib strike zone, which is below the neck and above the waist just due to the rules of the game. 

It will be imperative for Cutler, when facing the Carolina Panthers, not to take any unnecessary hits. Bears fans should look to see if most hits to Cutler are focused to the midsection area. Panthers players know where Cutler is hurting. Put the New Orleans Saints Bounty nonsense aside, but it is only realistic to expect Cutlers ribs will be targeted from a rules standpoint alone  It is the area of the body most quarterbacks take hits within the pocket and is also why bruised ribs take a long time to heal because those hits keep aggravating an already sore injury. Every time I thought I was healed, I would get tagged inflaming the area again and the healing process had to start over.   

Running out of bounds, sliding, and throwing the ball away all need to be utilized by Cutler starting against the Panthers. Cutler, the organization, and Bears fans know all too well what life can be like without their starting quarterback on the field from last season.

Fire Talk Podcast Episode 1: Recapping the Fire's offseason and looking ahead to 2017

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Chicago Fire

Fire Talk Podcast Episode 1: Recapping the Fire's offseason and looking ahead to 2017

A new Chicago Fire season is near, which means it's a good time to start a new podcast.

Shane Murray, a Fire contributor for MLSSoccer.com, joined me for our new endeavor: the Fire Talk Podcast.

This first episode focused on the key departures and new additions to the Fire this season and served as a look ahead to the 2017 season. We looked at the additions made to the team, how the team may line up to start the season and what improvements still need to be made.

Also, the Fire are 5-0 in the preseason, but do preseason results matter?

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below:

Fred Hoiberg's message to Bulls at trade deadline: Control what you can control

Fred Hoiberg's message to Bulls at trade deadline: Control what you can control

Jimmy Butler was the lone member of the Bulls not at practice Wednesday night at the Advocate Center. But the three-time All-Star wasn't on his way to Boston as part of a blockbuster trade. Instead, he was simply receiving an extra day of rest after a busy weekend in New Orleans.

With a little more than 12 hours remaining until the NBA trade deadline - Thursday at 2 p.m. CT - the Bulls' roster remains intact. Butler continues to be linked to the Boston Celtics - although multiple reports have stated that the two sides remain far off on a potential deal - and the likes of Taj Gibson, Nikola Mirotic, Doug McDermott and Robin Lopez all have popped up in various trade rumors over the past week. Even Fred Hoiberg said "Jimmy's obviously been great for us and we thinkn that will obviously continue to happen" when asked if the team's leadeing scorer might be dealt.

The latest report came Wednesday evening when The Vertical's Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Bulls are continuing their pursuit of Chicago native and Sixers center Jahlil Okafor, with Mirotic as a potential part of the package going back to Philadelphia.

 

Fred Hoiberg, who's been in a front office role at the deadline with the Minnesota Timberwolves, said he understands the trade deadline process of needing to "listen to everything and see if there's something that can help out without jeopardizing the future." But Hoiberg, as he's done when asked about the deadline the last few weeks, reiterated that "99 percent of the things that you hear and read don't transpire."

Still, as a former player he's aware of the strain the trade deadline can put on players, specifically players of a team in selling mode. He's implored his team to not read too much into reports and sources that pop up on social media and to focus on the task at hand, a Friday night matchup against the Suns.

"I don't think it's affected us at all. I think our guys have done a great job. Again, there's so many rumors that get thrown against the wall and that's what most of them are, they're rumors," Hoiberg said. "Our guys have done a good job ignoring that and going out and trying to work through and control what they can control, and that's going out and competing."

Butler has strung together another career year and started Sunday's All-Star Game for the first time in his career. But as the Bulls internally discuss whether to begin their rebuild - which would come in the form of dealing Butler to the Celtics for young assets - Dwyane Wade, who is expected to play through his wrist injury Friday against the Suns, understands that every rumor, report and eventual trade is fair game this time of the year.

"It's a business. every organization has a job to do to try to make their orgnaizatioon the way that they see fit. and as players you can't get sensitive about that at all," Wade said. "Trade deadline is more talk than anything, normally, but it's exciting for the fans to see what the team is gonna do or don't do and all this and that. But a lot of it is just talk."

For the Bulls, all talk remained just that at last year's deadline. They find themselves in a similar position as they did last season, although wins over contenders in Toronto and Boston have produced some optimism for the seventh-seeded Bulls. The schedule doesn't get much easier in March, with the Bulls facing off against 11 current playoff teams in their next 14 games.

And they'll know a lot more about where they stand when the clock strikes 2 p.m. on Thursday.

"I think it's always a relief for anybody that's in this business once that trade deadline comes and goes," Hoiberg admitted. "Then you can just focus on what you need to work on and not have to worry about all the things that are being thrown around and all the rumors that are out there. Just worry about getting your guys ready to play the stretch run and again hopefully play well."