Word on the Street: Bears to face Miami third-string QB

Word on the Street: Bears to face Miami third-string QB

Sunday, Nov. 14, 2010
CSNChicago.com

Bears expected to face third-string QB Thursday

The Miami Dolphins--Chicago's opponent in Thursday's game--suffered brutal injuries to their first two quarterbacks Sunday in a win over the Tennessee Titans.

Veteran Chad Pennington started the game, but after just two passes, left with an injury to his right (throwing) arm.

Backup Chad Henne, who started every game this season prior to Sunday's contest, left later with a leg injury and was seen exiting the locker room on crutches. He has an MRI scheduled on his left knee, which was twisted while throwing a pass in the third quarter.

The Sun-Sentinel is reporting that both Henne and Pennington will be out for the year, which would leave third-string Tyler Thigpen as the starter against the Bears Thursday night.

Thigpen is in his fifth NFL season, having previously started for the 2008 Kansas City Chiefs, a year in which he threw 18 TD passes against only 12 INTs and rushed for 386 yards and 3 scores. The 26-year-old gunslinger compiled a 76.0 QB rating last year. In relief of both Chads on Sunday, Thigpen put up a rating of 141.7, completing 4 of 6 passes for 64 yards and a TD. (Sun-Sentinel, NFL.com)

Viciedo could start at 1B for Sox in '11

Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune is suggesting young prospect Dayan Viciedo could start at first base next year for the Chicago White Sox if they are unable to retain the services of Paul Konerko, who has secured the 1B spot on the South Side since 1999. (Chicago Tribune)

Sox likely to re-sign Putz

Rogers is also reporting that right-handed reliever J.J. Putz will likely be re-signed by the White Sox, once they figure out the situation with Bobby Jenks, who is arbitration-eligible. (Baltimore Sun)

Cubs' Hendry says he won't be trying to make a 'splash' in offseason

Jim Hendry, the general manager of the Chicago Cubs, is not looking for a big splash in the offseason with moves. So, Cubs fans shouldn't expect a blockbuster trade or a prominent free-agent signing, at least not right now.

"I'm not worried about the 'splash' factor,'' Hendry said in a Chicago Sun-Times article. ''I'm worried about getting the right guys that make us better. We've already put the fifth-place thing behind us, and we'd like to think we're going to build off the last two months 24-13 finish. ... It's really imperative that we have two or three really good moves.'' (Chicago Sun-Times)
Lions still can't win on the road

The Detroit Lions won't be challenging for the NFC North again this year, and likely won't be in the future until they figure out their road woes. The division cellar-dwellers lost their NFL-record 25th straight road game Sunday against Buffalo, a team that was winless heading into the contest. The Lions (2-7) failed to convert on a two-point conversion in the game's waning moments and fell 14-12. (Chicago Tribune)

Fast Break Morning Update: White Sox, Cubs both drop series openers

Fast Break Morning Update: White Sox, Cubs both drop series openers

Here are some of Monday's top stories in Chicago sports:

Preview: Cubs look to bounce back vs. Giants tonight on CSN

White Sox fall to Diamondbacks in series opener

Cubs can't complete another miracle comeback against Giants bullpen

Should Blackhawks' next assistant coach be Joel Quenneville's choice?

How Bears are using veteran videos to school rookies on NFL way

Luis Robert the latest high-end acquisition for White Sox

For Joe Maddon, Cubs winning World Series came down to Giant comeback in SF and avoiding Johnny Cueto in elimination game

Carlos Rodon 'getting closer' but still without time frame for return

Have the Cubs found their new leadoff hitter in Ben Zobrist?

MMQB's Peter King's thoughts on Trubisky, Howard, White and the Bears offense

Theories on why Cubs haven’t played up to their defensive potential yet

Theories on why Cubs haven’t played up to their defensive potential yet

“That’s what we’re supposed to look like,” Joe Maddon said Monday night after a 6-4 loss where the San Francisco Giants scored the first six runs and Wrigley Field got loudest for the David Ross “Dancing with the Stars” look-in on the big video board, at least until a late flurry from the Cubs.

But for a manager always looking for the silver linings, Maddon could replay Addison Russell’s diving stop to his right and strong throw from deep in the hole at shortstop to take a hit away from Christian Arroyo. Or Albert Almora’s spectacular flying catch near the warning track in center field. Or Anthony Rizzo stealing another hit from Brandon Belt with a diving backhanded play near the first-base line.

The highlight reel became a reminder of how the Cubs won 103 games and the World Series last year – and made you wonder why the 2017 team hasn’t played the same consistently excellent defense with largely the same group of personnel.

“Concentration?” Jason Heyward said, quickly dismissing the theory a defensive decline could boil down to focus or effort. “No shot. No shot. It is what it is when it comes to people asking questions about last year having effects, this and that. But this is a new season.

“The standard is still high. What’s our excuse? We played later than anybody? That may buy you some time, but then what?

“The goals stay the same. We just got to find new ways to do it when you have a different team.”

FiveThirtyEight.com, Nate Silver’s statistical website, framed the question this way after the Cubs allowed the lowest batting average on balls in play ever last season, an analysis that goes all the way back to 1871: “Have the Cubs Forgotten How to Field?”

Even if the Cubs don’t set records and make history, they should still be better than 23rd in the majors in defensive efficiency, with 37 errors through 43 games. The Cubs have already allowed 28 unearned runs after giving up 45 all last season.

“We just got to stay on it and keep focusing and not let the miscues go to our head,” Ben Zobrist said. “We just have to keep working hard and staying focused in the field. A lot of that’s the rhythm of the game. I blame a lot of that on the early parts of the season and the weather and a lot of difficult things that we’ve been going through.

“If we’re not hitting the ball well, too, we’re a young team still, and you can carry that into the field. You don’t want to let that happen, but it’s part of the game. You got to learn to move beyond miscues and just focus on the next play.”

Heyward, a four-time Gold Glove winner, missed two weeks with a sprained right finger and has already started nine times in center field (after doing that 21 times all last season). Zobrist has morphed back into a super-utility guy, starting 16 games at second base and 15 in two different outfield spots.

[MORE CUBS: Have the Cubs found their new leadoff hitter in Ben Zobrist?]

Maddon has tried to drill the idea of making the routine play into Javier Baez’s head, so that the uber-talented second baseman can allow his natural athleticism and instincts to take over during those dazzling moments.

The Cubs are basically hoping Kyle Schwarber keeps the ball in front of him in left and setting the bar at: Don’t crash into your center fielder. Like Schwarber and Almora, catcher Willson Contreras hasn’t played a full season in The Show yet, and the Cubs are now hoping Ian Happ can become a Zobrist-type defender all over the field.

“I’m seeing our guys playing in a lot of different places,” Heyward said. “It’s not just been penciling in every day who’s going to center field or right field or left field. We did shake things up some last year, but we did it kind of later in the season. We had guys settle in, playing every day. This year, I feel like we’re having guys in different spots.

“It’s May whatever, (but) it seems like we haven’t really had a chance to settle in yet. Not that we’re procrastinating by any means, but it’s just been a lot of moving pieces.”

The Giants won World Series titles in 2010, 2012 and 2014 with a formula that incorporated lights-out pitching, airtight defense and just enough clutch pitching. The Cubs are now a 22-21 team trying to figure it out again.

“Defense comes and goes, just like pitching,” said Kris Bryant, the reigning National League MVP, in part, because of his defensive versatility. “I feel like if you look at last year, it’s kind of hard to compare, just because it was so good. We spoiled everybody last year. Now we’re a complete letdown this year.”

Bryant paused and said: “Just kidding. Different years, things regress, things progress, and that’s just how it goes sometimes.”