Packers win war of words with Bears on the field

964387.png

Packers win war of words with Bears on the field

To say there was a little chatter off the field leading up to Sundays Bears-Packers game would be an understatement. Packers tight end Jermichael Finley made it known he thought the Bears may be better without Brian Urlacher. Lance Briggs responded by calling Finley "an idiot."With all the talk prior to kickoff, would there be any words left for smack-talking on the field?I didnt hear nothing, Finley said. The trash talking is in the papers, but when you touch the grass its all business.Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall, who caught six balls and scored a touchdown in the Packers' 21-13 win, also made it a point to call out Packers defensive backs Tramon Williams and Charles Woodson earlier in the week. Woodson was sidelined while still recovering from a broken collarbone, Williams did a solid job containing Marshall most of the afternoon.We just won the game, Williams said I aint worrying about no comments. Comments dont play the game, we played the game. We won the game.Williams was backed up in the secondary by nickelback Sam Shields, something Shields continued off the field."Marshall do all the talking in the paper, we do it on the field," Shields said.
Even though he didnt play, Woodson had a little jab for the Bears too.I think those guys would like to be where we're at, but they're not, Woodson said. Bottom line. I love beating the Bears"Packers defensive tackle B.J. Raji has been known to be a little mouthy since joining the oldest rivalry in the NFL, which was played for the 186th time on Sunday. But he still has respect for Marshall and the Bears."Brandon is a good guy, he's a good player," Raji told CSNChicago.com. "It wasn't the first time he was talking and it won't be the last. Our guys weren't worried about that. We've been here before. We came with a focus of wanting to win this game and clinch the division and we did exactly that."That sentiment was shared by left tackle Marshall Newhouse."It's always a tough game to play them, but we played them hard," Newhouse told CSNChicago.com. "There was some stuff pregame, people talking back and forth, but when it comes down to it you have to come to play and show it with your pads."Clearly the Packers handled themselves when they strapped it on and ran out the tunnel on Sunday, winning 21-13 and clinching the NFC North division."That's what we all wanted," Packers defensive tackle Ryan Pickett said. "When you're playing the Bears it's a good chance for us to win a division and kind of push them down.

The ‘friendly rivalry’ between Theo Epstein and Andrew Friedman with Cubs, Dodgers becoming NL superpowers

The ‘friendly rivalry’ between Theo Epstein and Andrew Friedman with Cubs, Dodgers becoming NL superpowers

LOS ANGELES – A man stepped to the microphone during a Q&A session at Cubs Convention and called Theo Epstein and Andrew Friedman “the two boy geniuses.” The fan told Epstein how his friends used to call the Dodgers baseball boss “your Mini-Me,” asking about their personal rivalry and if beating L.A. in the playoffs had any extra meaning.

“We have a friendly rivalry,” Epstein told a packed hotel ballroom in downtown Chicago in January. “First off, didn’t he interview for an internship with us and we turned him down way back in the day?

“And then like nine months later, he was GM of the Rays. When he was with Tampa and I was with Boston, we never spoke, because we were in the same division. It was kind of a heated rivalry. We literally never called each other on trades or anything like that.”

But where it’s so difficult for the small-market Rays to keep up with the ultra-rich Red Sox – and replace Friedman’s vision and Joe Maddon’s star power and survive a string of wasted first-round draft picks and find a long-term stadium solution – the Cubs and Dodgers are positioned to be superpowers for years to come.

That’s what makes this Memorial Day weekend showdown at Dodger Stadium so compelling beyond the National League Championship Series rematch. It’s not just upcoming free agent Jake Arrieta returning to the site of his onesie no-hitter on Friday night, a reigning MVP (Kris Bryant) and Rookie of the Year (Corey Seager), two of the best closers on the planet (Wade Davis and Kenley Jansen) and a classic Jon Lester vs. Clayton Kershaw matchup on Sunday afternoon.

The Cubs eliminated the Dodgers less than a month after Epstein finalized a five-year contract worth in the neighborhood of $50 million, likely surpassing Friedman as the game’s highest-paid personnel executive.

“Jed developed a pretty good relationship with him, because I didn’t like talking to him,” Epstein said, referencing GM Jed Hoyer, another Boston transplant on the Cubs Convention panel that day. “But then when I came out here with the Cubs, a different league and everything, I developed a much better relationship with Andrew and we became friends, so now it’s much more of a friendly rivalry.

“I will say that losing to the Dodgers would have been a bitter pill to swallow on a number of fronts, including that one. But they’re developing a powerhouse out there.

“We see them as a team we have to go through each year to get where we want to be.”

[MORE CUBS: Summing up the Cubs' impressive, potentially season-altering homestand]

Backed by Guggenheim Partners’ financial muscle and flush with new TV money, the Dodgers have won four straight division titles and 90-plus games each season while ramping up a farm system that’s now ranked fourth, fifth or sixth by Baseball America, ESPN and MLB.com.

“Everyone’s got their own style and their own approach,” Epstein said. “Ours was more kind of bottom-up (where) they needed to keep it rolling at a high level in the big leagues while retooling their system and nurturing the talent that was already there.

“We had to go out and transact and bring some stuff in. We were at different points of the success cycle. They’ve done a really nice job of winning while kind of establishing something new at the same time.”

The blue-blooded franchise that produced 17 Rookie of the Year winners last month rolled out Cody Bellinger, a 21-year-old, left-handed first baseman with nine homers in his first 28 games in The Show. Julio Urias – who might be the next Fernando Valenzuela – is supposed to be conserving some innings at Triple-A Oklahoma City for another October where the Cubs could be standing in the way of the Dodgers’ first World Series title since 1988.

“They’ve been producing great young talent for a long period of time,” Epstein said. “If you go back and look at some of the young studs they have in the big leagues that (former scouting director) Logan White and (the previous regime) brought in, some of the guys are still coming.

“They’re stocked and the Dodger tradition runs really deep. With Andrew and his front office, we know they’re going to be dynamic. They’re going to have more resources than anyone. And they’re a big threat to the whole league for a long period of time.”

Could Derrick Rose reunite with Tom Thibodeau in Minnesota?

Could Derrick Rose reunite with Tom Thibodeau in Minnesota?

Tom Thibodeau was without Derrick Rose for the first time in his head-coaching career last season, coaching the Timberwolves while Rose suited up for the New York Knicks.

But a reunion may be on the horizon. Rose is an unrestricted free agent and the Timberwolves, though they don't have a real need at point guard, are showing interest in the Chicago native. We'll have to wait until July 1, when free agency begins, to see what happens.

See what special guest Nick Friedell, Bulls beat reporter for ESPN, had to say about the topic on SportsTalk Live in the video above.