Cutler sharp in return from concussion

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Cutler sharp in return from concussion

Wide receiver Brandon Marshall saw the drive in Jay Cutler earlier this week.
He was fiery, his sense of urgency the most Ive seen all year, Marshall said of the Bears starting quarterback. His ball had a lot of zip on it all week. He wanted it perfect in practice. He was ready to go, he was fired up.
Indeed, after missing last week with a concussion, Cuter was showing the moxie. His passes were sharp, his release quicker as the game continued. And then there was that one big hit, that lick after which you waited to see how long it would take Cutler to get up.
Fortunately, it wasnt long.
And after passing the necessary tests off the field entering Sundays game, Cutler passed them all on it, too, completing 23 of 31 passes for 188 yards and a touchdown in the Bears 28-10 victory over the Minnesota Vikings.
On a day when the Bears needed the best from their quarterback, they got it. Cutler got protection from his offensive line, which took some big injury hits, adjusted when necessary and got the Bears up early. Save one interception a high pass off Brandon Marshalls fingertips that Minnesota cornerback Antoine Winfield caught Cutler had a strong outing.
He does a great job of controlling the clock, putting us in the right situations, Bears tackle Jonathan Scott said. He made some great audibles when we saw some interesting defensive fronts. I cant say enough. It was just a great performance.
Cutler had to take one big hit on the day, when Minnesotas Jared Allen leveled him from behind near the end of the first half. But Cutler got up without issue. The quarterback had to pass the necessary protocol to be cleared for Sundays game, but Cutler said he wasnt worried.
I felt confident about it, said Cutler, whos now 27-10 in his last 37 starts with the Bears. It was just a matter of going through the motions and talking to the doctors. I had a good week of practice. Guys really had to dial in to mentally prepare.
So did Cutler, which apparently wasnt a problem. It helped that the Bears had a solid run game to compliment, and take pressure off, Cutler. And even on the run...well, Cutlers usually fine there, too.
We had (Cutler) off his mark a few times and he was running around and Jay can make some throws when hes scrambling, Allen said. You just have to get him on the ground.
Fortunately for the Bears, Cutler wasnt on the ground much. He was too busy frustrating the Vikings.
Every team doesnt have a guy like we do at quarterback, Bears coach Lovie Smith said. When plays break down, weve got a guy who can scramble and make a play, can complete any throw you ask him to. And its just the confidence that comes with having your guy, your quarterback. No matter how its looking, guys have confidence that with Jay leading us, we can come back.

The Kyle Schwarber reboot begins Monday in Iowa

The Kyle Schwarber reboot begins Monday in Iowa

MIAMI – This isn’t a Tommy La Stella situation. The Cubs purposely told Kyle Schwarber to take a few days off to decompress before reporting to Triple-A Iowa. The reboot will begin Monday in Des Moines.

“We’re doing it to hopefully reset him, get him back up with a fresh start,” manager Joe Maddon said. “As you would expect, he was very professional about it, understood it entirely.

“There’s no actual timetable. I don’t anticipate it to be long. But we’ll see how it plays out, give him a little bit of room to get things right and then move it forward from there.”

The Cubs broke the news to Schwarber after Wednesday’s 3-2 loss to the San Diego Padres at Wrigley Field, where the entire lineup went 1-for-27 outside of rookie Ian Happ’s two-run homer. It left Schwarber hitting .171 with a .673 OPS, not enough to justify his 12 home runs and suspect outfield defense. The Iowa Cubs are in the middle of a four-game series this weekend in Round Rock, Texas.

The Cubs hope Schwarber can regain his confidence and almost become a trade-deadline addition, reenergizing the team the way he did in 2015, when he blasted 16 homers in 69 games and five more in the playoffs.

Under entirely different circumstances in 2012, future All-Star first baseman Anthony Rizzo used 70 games with Iowa to rework his swing and make adjustments after bombing his audition with the Padres.

“He’s going to go down and be able to exhale a little bit,” Rizzo said. “Hopefully, he can smooth things out. We’re all confident he will. Just do the best down there to get back up here and to be the Kyle Schwarber that we all know and love.”

Niklas Hjalmarsson reflects on time with Blackhawks: 'I had the best time in Chicago'

Niklas Hjalmarsson reflects on time with Blackhawks: 'I had the best time in Chicago'

Niklas Hjalmarsson heard some of the rumors, but not to a large degree. The former Blackhawks defenseman wasn’t spending a lot of time on the internet reading up on his potential fate. He figured he’d still stay put in Chicago.

“But when my agent called me about the 10-team list, I understood it was serious. Stan [Bowman] wouldn’t ask for that unless they made up their mind already,” Hjalmarsson said via conference call on Saturday. “That’s when it hit me that I’m probably not going to put the Hawks jersey on anymore.”

Indeed, Hjalmarsson’s next jersey will be that of the Arizona Coyotes, who acquired him in exchange for defenseman Connor Murphy on Friday. Hjalmarsson’s departure marks the end of the line for another Blackhawks core player, and this one is jarring in how it will change the team’s defense.

Speaking of change, Hjalmarsson faces a lot of it himself now. Sure, there’s the obvious change for a guy who’s played his entire career in one place. It’s new surroundings and a new team, on which he knows former Blackhawks teammate Antti Raanta and fellow countryman Oliver Ekman-Larsson.

But the Coyotes have dealt with a lot of upheaval lately. Goaltender Mike Smith is gone. So is veteran Shane Doan. On Thursday, head coach Dave Tippett and the Coyotes parted ways.

“They’re on a rebuild, a lot of new faces, lot of changes,” Hjalmarsson said. “It’s tough to know what to expect but I think they’re a hungry organization that wants to win like other teams. I’m looking forward to try to contribute with playing my game, just try to get the organization back in the playoffs.”

Hjalmarsson should find chemistry with Ekman-Larsson – the two were teammates in the Winter Olympics in Sochi – and Hjalmarsson will likely play a bigger role with the Coyotes. Arizona will probably look to Hjalmarsson a lot during its rebuild, given his Cup-winning history.

The first 24 hours were full of mixed emotions of Hjalmarsson. With his limited no-move clause, he was always a likely candidate to be moved from a Blackhawks team laden will full no-move clauses. He’s turning a page, but he won’t forget his time in Chicago anytime soon.

“I’m trying to always be a positive guy,” Hjalmarsson said. “I spent my whole 20s in Chicago, 10 unbelievable years. I didn’t think I’d win three Cups. Hopefully I can get one more before my career is over. I had the best time in Chicago, enjoyed every single year, playing in front of the best fans in the league. I’ve been spoiled. Now it’s time for me and my family to move on and seize the opportunity in Arizona and create some new fond memories.”