Frankie O's Blog: No Fooling

Frankie O's Blog: No Fooling

Friday, April 1, 2011
Posted: 10:52 a.m.

By Frankie O
CSNChicago.com

Given the date of this post, I was seriously considering writing about a Cubs-Sox World Series and then ending with the two words that would be appropriate. But having a child with said date as their birthday, Ive come to learn that the trick ending with the negative twist is not usually a crowd pleaser. Being a man of the people, Im nothing if not a pleaser! Ive found that indifference or outright denial, and then having something positive occur out of nowhere is much more fun. (Also making me a cool dad!)
While I cant claim indifference here, I have a vested interest, I can be honest in that I do not expect a Red-Line Series come October. That being said, this kinder, gentler Frankie O (Going third person never gets old!) can see a lot of positives happening here in Chicago on the local diamonds.

Of course, on the southside, there is a lot of expectation, since, as the team has reminded us in their advertising campaign, they are All in. What makes me optimistic is that this year they also have a D.H. (In fact my advertising campaign for them would be: The Chicago White Sox. Were putting the hitter back in the designated hitter! P.S. Good guys wear black!) I know that Mark Kotsay hit the hardest .239 that folks in these parts have ever seen, but enough is enough. The addition of Adam Dunn has Sox fans very excited. And with good reason, hes a run-producing machine. Something else I notice about him in this age of enhancement is the fact that he has averaged over 158 games played during the last 7 seasons. Thats not typical lately of large, power guys. Not saying, just saying. So it should be safe to pencil in the 38 homers and 100 RBI that he has averaged in that span. (2 choices here: Frankie O kiss of death! or, How you like your Kotsay now?!!)

Its hard to remember in the disappointment of how last season ended, that for most of the year this was a very good team, albeit a streaky one. After a 24-33 start, that left them almost double-digits out of first place, they finished the year on a torrid 64-41 stretch. Included in this was the 20-5 that put them back in the race and then the collapse down the stretch. Ill try not to remember September and focus on the beginning. Pennants arent won in April and May, but because of this teams performance during that time last year, the ability to win one was definitely lost. In fact the Sox have made a habit of getting out to slow starts recently. I do not think that will be the case this year. The increased payroll and advertising campaign are telling us thats not an option. The fact that the competition at the top of the division with the Tigers and Twins is expected to be microscopic close also behooves them to jump out early. The X-factor in all of this will be Jake Peavy.

His ability to come back from a detached muscle in his right (pitching) shoulder, I think will determine their fate. They are a good team without him, but they are a title contender with him. I have to admit, I dont really feel good about his situation so far. Its confusing to me about who is in charge. How does he get sick, then not touch a ball for over a week, then be allowed to throw over 80 pitches? Which then results in his being put on the DL since he now has shoulder tendinitis? This to me tells of the urgency to get off to a good start that is being felt by everyone in the organization. All in!!

On the northside, things are a little harder to figure. The realist in me wants to say 4th place in the central, but who saw the Padres 90 win season at this time a year ago? The Padres gagged the division and missed the playoffs by a game, but thats not the point. Every year there are one or two teams that come out of nowhere and are in the mix until the end. The way the Cubs finished last year under Mike Quade, pardon me Lou, left a lot of Cubs fans feeling all giddy about their chances this year. Not to burst bubbles, but did you notice that the Astros and Orioles finished with very similar 50 game records to end the season as the Cubs last year? How do you feel about the Astros or Orioles chances this year? I thought so.

Personally, I see this as a bridge year to the true vision of the new ownership regime. About 50 million will be coming off the books after this season. Increased revenue will be coming the Cubs way after their new facility is built in Mesa. Building a state-of-the-art training academy in the Dominican Republic should hopefully help mine that talent rich region for future stars. And we all know that every possible way to increase the revenue stream at Wrigley Field is being considered. These things are all related. The number one goal needs to be to put a winning product on the field. This will enable many of the things that ownership wants to accomplish, off the field, to happen. While you definitely need to spend to win in this game, true success is sustained if you can grow your own talent.

As much as I love my Phillies spending cash to acquire and retain top-notch talent, Im not very optimistic where they are going to be in a few years since they have pillaged their farm system in the process. Aside from my stated preference that they break the bank to get Albert Pujols, it would be very prudent if the Cubs were able hit the reset button, and grow a little slow. I know, theres the whole 103 year thing and all, and the urgency that it brings to the faithful, but the Marlins (or Yankees) way of just buying a title is not going to happen here. Just look at the Soriano and Zambrano contracts to understand why. Starlin Castro is the real deal and a good start.

I think Andrew Cashner and Tyler Colvin have bright futures. I cant wait to see Brett Jackson in the outfield later this summer. Having them learn their craft around such solid pros as Ryan Dempster and Marlon Byrd is a good thing. (And having them surround Pujols next year would be a great one! Not to mention having it buy more time. Sorry, cant help myself.) Dumping a malcontent such as Carlos Silva has earned a lot of respect. It seems as though the Cubs have been dealing with that issue in several different forms over the years.

I take this as a sign that the ownership wants to do it the right way. I have no problem with that, its their money. The issue is that you do not win with good intentions. You win with talent and motivated talent at that. This year I get the good vibe and the motivation that come with the new Quade era, how could you not? But in the end, for this year, it is going to take more than that alone. The times, they are a changing, but sometimes, its the same as it ever was.

So where does that leave us? Full of anticipation I hope. Why ruin the upcoming season with a lot of doom and gloom speculation? Baseball, more than any other sport, is a novel we cant put down. Its full of plot twists and surprises. Heroes and villains. Thats why we watch, well that and fantasy addictions. But its all about the ending. And as much as anyone wants to tell you they know, they dont. So feel free to dream a little dream. If you think that a Chicago World Series is possible, go ahead and think it. Reality will rear its pesky head soon enough. And remember this, If I was to tell you, with a straight face, on this day last year that the post-season (and subsequent off-season) was going to be dominated by a freakish black beard, you would have surely looked at me and replied, April Fools!

Bears: Leonard Floyd approves of deep-dish pizza

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Bears: Leonard Floyd approves of deep-dish pizza

Leonard Floyd admitted it'll take some getting used to the Chicago weather.

As for its pizza? He's already on board with that.

The Bears' first-round selection stopped by CSN's studios late Friday night and got his first taste of deep-dish pizza, specifically a Lou Malnati's pepperoni and sausage pie.

Floyd didn't have much to say while his face was stuffed with the deep-dish.

But when he did a live chat shortly after, he confirmed that the Chicago-style pizza was as good as advertised.

"If I had three thumbs I would hold all of them up," Floyd said. "Pizza was awesome, awesome."

It's safe to say he's fitting in to the Chicago lifestyle quite well already.

Check out Floyd's entire Q+A on our Facebook page.

Recapping the second and third rounds of the NFL Draft

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Recapping the second and third rounds of the NFL Draft

The first 98 selections of the 2016 NFL Draft are in the books. Here's a look at the second and third round choices made Friday night.

(Click here for a recap of Round 1)

Round 2

32. Cleveland Browns: Emmanuel Ogbah, DE, Oklahoma State

33. Tennessee Titans: Kevin Dodd, DE, Clemson

34. Dallas Cowboys: Jaylon Smith, LB, Notre Dame

35. San Diego Chargers: Hunter Henry, TE, Arkansas

36. Jacksonville Jaguars (via Baltimore): Myles Jack, LB, UCLA

37. Kansas City Chiefs (via San Francisco): Chris Jones, DL, Mississippi State

38. Miami Dolphins (via Baltimore via Jacksonville): Xavien Howard, CB, Baylor

39. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Noah Spence, LB, Eastern Kentucky

40. New York Giants: Sterling Shepard, WR, Oklahoma

41. Buffalo Bills (via Chicago): Reggie Ragland, ILB, Alabama

42. Baltimore Ravens (via Miami): Kamalei Correa, LB, Boise State

43. Tennessee Titans (via Philadelphia via Los Angeles): Austin Johnson, DL, Penn State

44. Oakland Raiders: Jihad Ward, DL, Illinois

45. Tennessee Titans (via Los Angeles): Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama

46. Detroit Lions: A'Shawn Robinson, DL, Alabama

47. New Orleans Saints: Michael Thomas, WR, Ohio State

48. Green Bay Packers (via Indianapolis): Jason Spriggs, OT, Indiana

49: Seattle Seahawks (via Chicago via Buffalo): Jarran Reed, DL, Alabama

50. Houston Texans (via Atlanta): Nick Martin, OL, Notre Dame

51. New York Jets: Christian Hackenberg, QB, Penn State

52. Atlanta Falcons (via Houston): Deion Jones, LB, LSU

53. Washington Redskins: Su'a Cravens, LB, USC

54. Minnesota Vikings: Mackensie Alexander, CB, Clemson

55. Cincinnati Bengals: Tyler Boyd, WR, Pittsburgh

56. Chicago Bears (via Seattle): Cody Whitehair, OL, Kansas State

57. Indianapolis Colts (via Green Bay): T.J. Green, DB, Clemson

58. Pittsburgh Steelers: Sean Davis, DB, Maryland

59. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (via Kansas City): Roberto Aguayo, K, Florida State

60. New England Patriots: Cyrus Jones, DB, Alabama

61. New Orleans Saints (via New England via Arizona): Vonn Bell, DB, Ohio State

62. Carolina Panthers: James Bradberry, DB, Samford

63. Denver Broncos: Adam Gotsis, Georgia Tech

THIRD ROUND

64. Tennessee Titans: Kevin Byard, DB, Middle Tennessee State

65. Cleveland Browns: Carl Nassib, DL, Penn State

66. San Diego Chargers: Max Tuerk, OL, USC

67. Dallas Cowboys: Maliek Collins, DT, Nebraska

68. San Francisco 49ers: Will Redmond, DB, Mississippi State

69. Jacksonville Jaguars: Yannick Ngakoue, DL, Maryland

70. Baltimore Ravens: Bronson Kaufusi, DL, BYU

71. New York Giants: Darian Thompson, FB, Boise State

72. Chicago Bears: Jonathan Bullard, DL, Florida

73. Miami Dolphins: Kenyan Drake, RB, Alabama

74. Kansas City Chiefs (via Tampa Bay): KeiVarae Russell, DB, Notre Dame

75. Oakland Raiders: Shilique Calhoun, DL, Michigan State

76. Cleveland Browns (via Tennessee via Los Angeles): Shon Coleman, OL, Auburn

77. Carolina Panthers (via Cleveland via Philadelphia via Detroit): Daryl Worley, DB, West Virginia

78. New England Patriots (via New Orleans): Joe Thuney, OL, N.C. State

79. Philadelphia Eagles: Isaac Seumalo, OL, Oregon State

80. Buffalo Bills: Adolphus Washington, DL, Ohio State

81. Atlanta Falcons: Autin Hooper, TE, Stanford

82. Indianapolis Colts: Le'Raven Clark, OL, Texas Tech

83. New York Jets: Jordan Jenkins, LB, Georgia

84. Washington Redskins: Kendall Fuller, DB, Virginia Tech

85. Houston Texans: Braxton Miller, WR, Ohio State

86. Miami Dolphins (via Minnesota): Leonte Carroo, WR, Rutgers

87. Cincinnati Bengals: Nick Vigil, LB, Utah State

88. Green Bay Packers: Kyler Fackrell, LB, Utah State

89. Pittsburgh Steelers: Javon Hargrave, DL, South Carolina State

90. Seattle Seahawks: C.J. Prosise, RB, Notre Dame

91. New England Patriots: Jacoby Brissett, QB, North Carolina State

92. Arizona Cardinals: Brandon Williams, DB, Texas A&M

93. Cleveland Browns (via Carolina): Cody Kessler, QB, USC

94. Seattle Seahawks (via Denver): Nick Vannett, TE, Ohio State

95. Detroit Lions: Graham Glasgow, OL, Michigan

96. New England Patriots: Vincent Valentine, DL, Nebraska

97. Seattle Seahawks: Rees Odhiambo, OL, Boise State

98. Denver Broncos: Justin Simmons, DB, Boston College

Bears' 3rd rounder Florida DE Jonathan Bullard to add pass rush to front three

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Bears' 3rd rounder Florida DE Jonathan Bullard to add pass rush to front three

The Bears had to cut ties with defensive end Julius Peppers a couple of years ago, only to see him change from a 4-3 end to 3-4 linebacker hybrid for the Green Bay Packers. In the third round of this year’s draft, the Bears added a player whose goal is to emulate Peppers, which would be more than fine with the Bears.

“Julius Peppers is my favorite player,” Florida defensive lineman Jonathan Bullard said at this year’s NFL Scouting Combine.

Bullard was selected by the Bears with the 72nd pick of this year’s draft.

“My oldest brother actually wore No. 90 because of Julius and I wore No. 90 because of my brother but it was actually Julius," Bullard said. "We all watched him play growing up. My brother also played at a D-2 school and I wore 90 in high school.”

No. 90 came available last year when the Bears released defensive tackle Jeremiah Ratliff. It was taken over by Greg Scruggs when he was signed on Dec. 30 for Game 16, but could be Bullard’s in the foreseeable future, particularly if Bullard plays to his self-description.

“I would say my disruption,” Bullard said of his specific strength. “I had a lot of disruption and I make things easier for my teammates to make plays, also.”

They may be very pleased with the progress of Ego Ferguson’s rehab and recovery from season-ending knee surgery but that did not stop the Bears from adding internal pressure on the defensive line with the selection of Bullard.

“We see him as a 3-4 defensive end,” said GM Ryan Pace. “He played defensive end [at Florida], bulked up and played more of a three-technique position for them.

“When you watch tape on him, there’s one thing you can’t coach, and that’s get-off. His get-off is excellent and I think there’s a lot of advantages from just that alone.”

Bullard, 6-3, 285, had 6.5 sacks in 2015 along with 17.5 tackles for loss, good enough to be a semifinalist for the Chuck Bednarik Award. He started eight games at defensive end in 2013, then all 12 games in 2014 and 14 his senior season.

“My junior year I started back out at end…but most of my senior year it was 3-technique,” Bullard said.

With the Bears set at nose tackle with Eddie Goldman and defensive end with Akiem Hicks, Bullard is expected to be part of a rotation inside in sub packages, which the Bears operated out of some 60 percent of the time in 2015, per GM Ryan Pace.

“I think because off my versatility,” Bullard said. “I can do whatever you want me to do on your defensive line, inside to outside, quickness to hold the point. So I think I’m going to bring a lot to your team.’’