Jeffery not placing the blame on refs

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Jeffery not placing the blame on refs

Alshon Jeffery said it over and over again after Sundays loss, how this is a physical game and he has to play accordingly.

Unfortunately on Sunday, Jeffery got penalized over and over for that physical play.

Jeffery was whistled for three offensive pass interferences, including one in the end zone, in the Chicago Bears 21-13 loss to the Green Bay Packers. It was a tough day for the rookie wide receiver, who was the Bears second-round pick (13th overall) in the 2012 NFL Draft. But Jeffery didnt think there was anything technically wrong with how he played.

I have to play physical. Thats the way the game is played, right? he said. My mindset going into the game is make the plays receivers making plays and stepping up. We knew they were going to try to be physical. We just tried to come and make plays.

At least one of those was questionable. And Jeffery got away with one early in the game when he grabbed Sam Shields by the facemask. But as far as the calls on him, Jeffery wasnt going to blame the officials.

Im going to have to go back and check the film and see, he said. Im not going to put it all on their side.

Packers cornerback Shields agreed with all of them.

It was perfect. It's hard to get them called. We got them and they gave us some good time to get off the field, he said.

Teammate Tramon Williams agreed.

Its unheard of, but its correct, he said. Hopefully we get more refs to do that.

Coach Lovie Smith said hes never seen three in a game before.

When you look at our history, we havent gotten a lot of them. So all of them were really big plays, he said. Normally you get a call that goes your way, but we had a lot of opportunities and thats how the officials saw it.

Two were very big. The first nullified a 1-yard touchdown pass. The second, with the Bears trailing 21-13, nixed a potential 36-yard reception with less than three minutes remaining in the game.

Quarterback Jay Cutler wasnt getting into the what-waswasnt-a-penalty discussion.

I dont think anyone wants to get fined, first of all. Secondly, thats not what lost us the game, he said.

But a few minutes later, Cutler was asked if veteran receivers can get away with more than young guys like Jeffery.

Bump and run and press they let him play early on and then started calling it later. I dont know for what reason. Alshons a big receiver and whenever he bumps a guy the guys going to move, Cutler said. Im at a loss for this question. Youre baiting me into things and Im not going to fall for it.

Jeffery had a tough day. He plays a physical game, and hes not planning on changing that anytime soon.

Thats the way the game is played, he said.

Cubs Talk Podcast: Breaking down the World Series hangover

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USA TODAY

Cubs Talk Podcast: Breaking down the World Series hangover

Do the Cubs have a World Series hangover?

On the latest edition of the Cubs Talk Podcast, NBC Sports Bay Area Giants Insider Alex Pavlovic joins CSN's Patrick Mooney to talk about the World Series hangover, how last year's playoff loss lingered in San Francisco, Johnny Cueto's quirks, the legend of Madison Bumgarner and Jeff Samardzija's ups and downs.

Plus Kelly Crull, Jeff Nelson and Tony Andracki break down the Cubs’ defensive struggles this year compared to an historic 2016 and how Ian Happ fits into the Cubs’ lineup in both the short and long term.

Listen to the latest episode below:

What does Caleb Swanigan's departure for NBA mean for Purdue and the 2018 Big Ten title race?

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USA TODAY

What does Caleb Swanigan's departure for NBA mean for Purdue and the 2018 Big Ten title race?

Caleb Swanigan, unsurprisingly, is heading to the NBA.

Last season’s Big Ten Player of the Year announced Wednesday that he’ll pass up the final two seasons of his NCAA eligibility for a paying gig at the professional level, an awesome opportunity for a kid who battled obesity and homelessness to become one of the best basketball players in the country.

But Swanigan’s departure from West Lafayette means a heck of a lot to the Big Ten.

Without the league’s most dominant big man, what becomes of Purdue’s chances at winning a conference title? Similarly, with a weakened — though still strong — group of Boilermakers, what does the Big Ten race look like going into 2017-18?

First, Purdue. Matt Painter’s program is plenty healthy, and while there’s no doubt that losing Swanigan is a big deal, the Boilers got some really good news, too, Wednesday when Vincent Edwards announced he’ll be returning for his senior season. Seven-footer Isaac Haas also made the decision to return to West Lafayette, meaning the towering frontcourt hasn’t been completely decimated just because tha man called “Biggie” is gone.

Purdue will also return Carsen Edwards, who had an impressive freshman campaign, and Dakota Mathias, a terrific defender and 3-point shooter. Two more important pieces — P.J. Thompson and Ryan Cline — are back, as well. And Painter will welcome in freshman Nojel Eastern, a highly touted guard from Evanston.

So the Boilers are still in very good shape. There will be a big magnifying glass on Haas, who despite his physical attributes hasn’t always found consistent on-court success. But there have been plenty of flashes of brilliance from the big man. A big step forward in his game would go a long way in easing the blow of losing Swanigan and could keep Purdue as one of the frontrunners for a conference title.

That brings us to the Big Ten race. Ever since Miles Bridges, the conference’s reigning Freshman of the Year, announced he’d be returning to Michigan State for his sophomore season, the Spartans have been the near-unanimous favorite. Only something like Swanigan deciding to stay at Purdue could’ve changed that. And with Swanigan expectedly heading to the NBA, Michigan State remains the preseason pick to win the conference crown.

Like any good year in the Big Ten, though, there will be challengers.

But Michigan State is the popular choice to win it because of Tom Izzo’s insane 2016 recruiting class is returning completely intact: Bridges, Nick Ward, Cassius Winston and Joshua Langford are all back. And Izzo brings in one of the top 2017 recruits in forward Jaren Jackson.

But Sparty isn’t the only one with an impressive returning group. Purdue’s experienced roster has already been covered. Northwestern, a surprise contender in 2016-17, should be even better as Bryant McIntosh, Vic Law and Scottie Lindsey enter their fourth year playing together. Dererk Pardon, a shot-blocking whiz at center, is also back, as is sharp-shooter Aaron Falzon, who sat out the 2016-17 season with an injury after starting during his freshman year in 2015-16.

There will be big shoes to fill for some perennial contenders like Maryland — which must replace Melo Trimble — and Michigan, which watched eligibility run out on Derrick Walton Jr. and Zak Irvin before D.J. Wilson decided to head to the professional ranks Wednesday. But those teams have plenty of talent returning, too. The Terps will have all three of their fab freshmen — Justin Jackson, Anthony Cowan and Kevin Huerter — back for sophomore seasons, while the Wolverines have Moe Wagner back in the fold alongside Xavier Simpson and Duncan Robinson, among others.

And what of last year’s shocking contender, Minnesota? The Golden Gophers didn’t lose too much this offseason and will return almost every main player from last year’s 24-10 squad: Amir Coffey, Nate Mason, Reggie Lynch, Jordan Murphy, Dupree McBrayer and Eric Curry.

There are up-and-comers to think about, too, such as last year’s freshman-heavy squads at Iowa and Penn State. And could new head coaches Brad Underwood and Archie Miller make instant splashes at Illinois and Indiana, respectively?

If it sounds a little too much like the annual coach speak that “any team can win on any night” in the Big Ten, that’s because there is a good deal of truth to that oft-used phrase.

There are definitely tiers to this thing, though. Even without Swanigan, Purdue is still in one of those upper tiers. But there might be no team besides Michigan State at the very top of the heap, something underscored by Swanigan turning pro.