Chicago Sports

Crossed Off: Sometimes a Chicago Bears win feels like a loss

The Chicago Bears are running into future problems quickly

The Chicago Bears emerge from Week 3 lucky to be 2-1. They found a way to not blow the easiest game of the regular season at home get another one over former Bears coach Lovie Smith. The game wasn’t pretty, but many wins in the NFL show promise for the winning team are like that. Quarterback Justin Fields has regressed in this offense had another bad week. I don’t think he has a prayer this season he wasn’t the only Bears player who wanted to go back to Week 1.

Bad weeks happen. Look at the Dow Jones the Kansas City Chiefs. They laid one down against lowly Indianapolis Colts. Patrick Mahomes made Matt Ryan‘s style of quarterbacking obsolete in 2018 a winner Sunday. But for Fields, a pattern is starting to form. He threw a wobbler that would make Nathan Peterman ashamed two despicable interceptions against the Houston Texans. He and the rest of the Bears’ offense would have been actually awesome in days of the T-formation look lost in the passing game. It was so bad they had to warm the punter up  run the ball on third and long all day.

#Bears OC Luke Getsy has called run plays on third-and-17, third-and-10 and third-and-6

Fields admitted after the game Matt Nagy’s offense was preferable to Luke Getsy’s he needed to work on checking the ball down whenever he feels pressure. It sounds like Fields is throwing the white flag showing signs of reaching maturity in this Bears’ offense. Bears fans can eat it on this one didn’t want to hear it at the time, but this outcome was predicted in the training camp.

Most common outcomes for 1st offense in team drills today is scramble or check down.

Sunday’s game was the first time it felt like Fields’ career destiny actually was shot from the moment the Bears took him in the draft might not be the Bears franchise quarterback of the future. Fans certainly expressed those feelings on social media. And it feels like the hopes of having a Super Bowl contender in the next few seasons might be lost without a legitimate passing game. The Bears’ best chance of moving the ball in Week 4 is to move the game to where Hurricane Ian is headed to in the Carolina’s on Sunday is to run run run.

Something Has Invigorated The Smith

Other than the offensive passing attack and Kyler Gordon the Chicago Bears should feel pretty good about themselves this week. The running game was the best it’s been since the 1970’s, which is telling pretty spectacular. Running back Khalil Herbert did a monster job following David Montgomery’s injury.

Chicago’s 186 rushing yards in the first half is the highest halftime total dating back to the start of the 1970 season. The previous first-half mark was 168 yards on Oct. 10, 2010 at Carolina.

The Bears’ defense made a serious case for why Ryan Pace should have drafted Davis Mills over Fields for most of the game came up with big plays when the game was on the line. No player has exemplified head coach Matt Eberflus’ patented H.I.T.S. system as Roquan Smith did in Week 3. Smith, recovering from the embarrassment at Lambeau the week before a hip injury, had one of his best performances with the Bears.

Smith had two tackles for loss and an interception that set up the game-winning field goal. He led the defense that was missing a starting linebacker and their only good best cornerback, Jaylon Johnson. It was nice to see Smith actually do something other than tackle for gain bring the defense to life.

The Chicago Bears need to take that Giants leap

The Chicago Bears overall performance has me stocking up on cases of Miller Lite before the beer shortage hits wasn’t flashy, but they got the job done. They’ll have more chances to beat the seriously bad teams in their easy schedule to take advantage of other bad quarterback situations this year.

Kyler Gordon needs to show improvement in Week 4 against the Giants. The rookie corner is the type of defender Fields could use as an opponent to build confidence has had a couple of concerning weeks. Fortunately for him, his head coach lives in denial Daniel Jones probably won’t have the capability to target him. Eberflus gave him a vote of unearned trust after the game to a skeptical press core.

Will the Bears be back if Gordon can help the Bears shut down the Giants’ offense and notch a third win this season? Probably in the literal sense of the way Papa Bear George Halas imaged a good football team would be in the 1930s not, but the Chicago Bears might have found a formula to keep themselves in the wild-card chase longer than the national media expected.

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REPORT: Chicago Bears place wide receiver on injured reserve

The Chicago Bears lost a wide receiver to the injured reserve

The Chicago Bears continue to have injury issues at the wide receiver position. Bears rookie Velus Jones Jr. hasn’t played a snap in the regular season as he’s recovering from a hamstring injury. N’Keal Harry, who the Bears traded for this offseason, has been out with an ankle injury. Reports coming out Tuesday were not good for wide receiver Byron Pringle.

Per Adam Schefter, Pringle has been placed on the Bears’ injured reserve for a calf injury.

Bears placed WR Byron Pringle on injured reserve due to a calf injury and signed LB Joe Thomas off their practice squad.

Pringle sustained the injury against the Houston Texans in Week 3. Pringle has two catches for 33 yards this season. Pringle, who scored five touchdowns with the Kansas City in 2021, signed a one-year contract with the Bears for this season. His loss is another blow to the offense, which is struggling to pass the ball downfield this season. Pringle will be out for at least four weeks with the IR designation.

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Bulls’ Zach LaVine is confident that his knee won’t hold him back

It was a simple question lobbed up for Zach LaVine.

Rather than take the obvious dunk, however, the Bulls guard opted to have fun with it.

“I added a lot to my game … short game, you know? I was able to put a lot of good putts out there, my draw is really good right now … ” LaVine joked, when asked where his game currently was off of summer knee surgery and with camp starting.

Golf details aside, LaVine eventually answered what needed to be answered.

“No, I add stuff to my game all the time,” LaVine said. “It’s not about changing your game or going out there and being someone different. I am who I am. I know what I do really well and I’ve done it really well for the last four years.

“[The knee] feels really good.”

Maybe the best news to come out of this summer.

The Sun-Times reported last season that LaVine’s left knee issue was slowing him down more than he and the organization were willing to admit.

The obvious numbers that plummeted once the knee started to hamper him in December were his defensive stats. But the knee also seemingly affected what he was doing on the offensive end.

In the 10 games he played in the second game of a back-to-back, he averaged 22.5 points and shot 44.8% from the field. With one day rest, LaVine averaged 24.3 points per game and shot 48.3% from the field. In the seven games he had two days of rest, it was 27 points per game and 48.5% from the field.

Does that mean the Bulls will look to handle LaVine’s workload differently? That remained to be seen, but according to LaVine, the knee surgery was a minor cleanup and there have been no issues since.

“I’m comfortable with who I am and what I do,” he added.

A good sign

Each time that veteran Goran Dragic has spent his summer playing for his native Slovenian national team, he’s had a good NBA season.

So despite being retired from international ball for almost five years, countryman Luka Doncic talked Dragic into playing again this summer.

That could be good news for the Bulls, who will need the point guard early on as Lonzo Ball recovers from a second left knee surgery.

“I was in doubt a little bit to go or not to go, and I said to myself when I look back at my career I always play well when I play for my national team because I was already ready in game shape and everything, so that’s why I decided to go,” Dragic said.

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High school basketball: Checking in on the top uncommitted seniors

With Division I scholarships at a premium these days due to college programs constantly dipping into the transfer portal, top prospects in the state have not delayed in making decisions.

Prospects are typically taking visits as soon as they can get on campus and decisions have typically followed fairly quickly.

Currently, 22 of the top 28 prospects in the senior class have committed, including eight of the top 10.

Young’s Dalen Davis is one of the uncommitted.

While finding an ideal basketball fit was obvious, Davis zeroed in on one specific criteria to go with the basketball side: academics.

“I knew going through the process the one thing that I knew for sure I wanted in a school was academics,” Davis said.

Back in late August, the talented point guard trimmed his list to a very manageable number of schools: two. Both Princeton and Tulane made the cut.

“I wanted the academics,” Davis said. “Both can provide that. Basketball stops for everyone at some point, so getting that type of education and degree was important to me.”

Davis, who visited both schools earlier this month, admits he’s still weighing both options. He will talk with his family about the decision in the coming days and weeks. But he will make the call on his birthday which is Oct. 15.

“It’s been a long process,” Davis said. “I am grateful to be down to these two with the great academics, coaches and environment they both offer.”

Here is a look at the recruitments of a few other top uncommitted prospects in Illinois and where they stand with their recruitments.

Richard Barron, St. Ignatius

The big-bodied 6-4 Barron took an official visit to George Mason back in June and an unofficial visit to Arizona State in August. Both programs offered Barron, a high-level shooter who can space the floor.

In addition, he says Toledo, Southern Illinois and Indiana State remain active in his recruitment.

Although he doesn’t have other visits set up just yet, he does plan to get to a campus or two in October.

“I am waiting for a great fit, the right fit for me,” Barron said. “I am in no rush and taking my time. If there are schools that decide to pass on me, then it wasn’t meant to be.”

Wes Rubin, Simeon

The Simeon open gyms are a little more crowded than expected this fall, thanks to the 6-8 Rubin being back on the market.

Rubin committed to Loyola, along with his brother Miles, back in June. While Miles remains committed, Wes opened his recruitment back up earlier this month and just returned from an official visit to Western Michigan this past weekend.

There has been a bevy of activity for Rubin, who says he has not ruled out Loyola.

Rubin will visit Northern Iowa this week and has heard from DePaul, Iowa, Indiana State, Southern Illinois and Northern Illinois the most since re-opening his recruitment.

“I just don’t want to rush the process the time around and find the right school for me,” Rubin said.

Nik Polonowski, Lyons

It took some time for Polonowski to be noticed and for his recruitment to heat up. But after a stellar summer, both with his high school team and while playing with Breakaway on the grassroots circuit, the 6-6 senior’s list began to grow.

Polonowski took official visits to Western Michigan and Penn and is close to pulling the trigger with an announcement expected soon.

East St. Louis star commits to Kansas State

Macaleab Rich of East St. Louis, who is now among the City/Suburban Hoops Report’s top five prospects in the Class of 2023, had a surplus of offers following his breakout summer.

The highly-athletic 6-5 forward climbed the rankings and grabbed the attention of high-major programs.

Rich named a final four, which included Ole Miss, Missouri, Kansas State and UIC, and made a point to get to each campus. He took four official visits with his final visit to UIC a couple of weekends ago.

Rich announced his decision on Monday, committing to Kansas State where he will join a recruiting class that includes Kenwood’s Darrin Ames.

Durkin down to Richmond and Davidson

Former Glenbard West star Bobby Durkin, who reclassified and is now a Class of 2023 prospect attending IMG Academy in Florida, became a hot commodity with his play this past spring and summer while playing with Breakaway on the club basketball circuit.

With shooting at a premium among college coaches and programs — and Durkin providing that elite skill — the 6-6 forward saw his list grow. He took official visits to a pair of Atlantic 10 Conference schools this past month and has trimmed a once lengthy list down to Davidson and Richmond.

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Bulls’ Alex Caruso can’t change uniform number to honor Bill Russell

Alex Caruso switched numbers when he left the Los Angeles Lakers for the Bulls, and he considered changing his number for the second year in a row.

Caruso wore No. 4 when he played in Los Angeles, and wore No. 6 in Chicago last season. He told reporters that he wanted to honor the late Bill Russell, who died in July, by no no longer wearing No. 6.

However, because the Bulls wing ranked in the top 75 in jersey sales, the league told him that he couldn’t change his number again. His jersey was simply too popular to make the change worth it for those who bought his uniform.

The Bulls ranked fourth-best in jersey sales for the second half of last season, per the NBA. Caruso didn’t crack the top 15, though that isn’t too shocking as the other players are superstars.

The league announced plans to retire Russell’s jersey league-wide, though players like Caruso and James who currently wear No. 6 will be allowed to keep their number if they choose.

All players in the NBA will wear a No. 6 patch on their uniforms next season. Caruso will be the last player in franchise history to wear No. 6 for the Bulls.

Read more at usatoday.com

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Bulls Alex Caruso can’t change uniform number to honor Bill Russell

Alex Caruso switched numbers when he left the Los Angeles Lakers for the Bulls, and he considered changing his number for the second year in a row.

Caruso wore No. 4 when he played in Los Angeles, and wore No. 6 in Chicago last season. He told reporters that he wanted to honor the late Bill Russell, who died in July, by no no longer wearing No. 6.

However, because the Bulls wing ranked in the top 75 in jersey sales, the league told him that he couldn’t change his number again. His jersey was simply too popular to make the change worth it for those who bought his uniform.

The Bulls ranked fourth-best in jersey sales for the second half of last season, per the NBA. Caruso didn’t crack the top 15, though that isn’t too shocking as the other players are superstars.

The league announced plans to retire Russell’s jersey league-wide, though players like Caruso and James who currently wear No. 6 will be allowed to keep their number if they choose.

All players in the NBA will wear a No. 6 patch on their uniforms next season. Caruso will be the last player in franchise history to wear No. 6 for the Bulls.

Read more at usatoday.com

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Man found dead after fire breaks out in South Shore apartment

A man was found dead after a fire broke out in a South Shore apartment early Tuesday.

Chicago police found the man, 67, on the floor of the apartment in the 7500 block of South South Shore Drive about 1:30 a.m. after firefighters extinguished the blaze, police said.

The man suffered second-degree burns and smoke inhalation, police said. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The Chicago Fire Department is conducting an investigation but the fire appeared to be accidental.

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Alex Stalock’s journey from myocarditis diagnosis to NHL comeback with Blackhawks

As a 35-year-old goaltender at Blackhawks training camp, Alex Stalock feels roughly the same way he did as a 22-year-old goaltender at Sharks training camp in 2009.

He has no idea how this will pan out.

But the fact he’s at camp at all–on an NHL contract, penciled in as the Hawks’ backup to Petr Mrazek, competing every day to earn that role–is a small blessing in itself. The opportunity means a lot. After all, this is his first training camp since 2019.

“What I’ve learned in pro hockey is anything can change at any day,” Stalock said Monday. “There can be injuries. There can be sicknesses. Obviously, COVID now changes everything. You can never be complacent and say, ‘This is how it’s going to be,’ because I guarantee you that’s not how it’s going to be at the end of the year.”

Stalock has experienced a few of those days where everything changed. But the one in November 2020 during which he was diagnosed with myocarditis stands out above the rest.

Stalock was starting to prepare for the pandemic-shortened 2020-21 season when he tested positive for COVID-19 during a routine entry into the Wild’s practice facility. Shortly after, an MRI revealed his heart muscle was inflamed. He needed to halt all physical activity or risk cardiac arrest.

“When you’ve got a wife and three kids at home, all of a sudden a lot of questions start hitting you in a hurry,” he said. “You read the paper, you read the internet, and there’s a lot of negative stuff out there. So that’s obviously first, thinking about your kids and family. And your hockey life gets pulled right out from underneath you.”

The news was shocking. He’d never developed cold symptoms from the virus itself. And he hadn’t felt any noticeable stamina reduction or shortness of breath during training, either.

“This was right when we were picking up skating, and we were working out and skating twice a day, so yeah, you’re exhausted,” he said. “As a professional athlete, you’re always like, ‘How’d I feel today? It was exhausting.’ But it wasn’t one of those things where I was taking a 30-second shift and I was hunched over, really struggling.”

Before the diagnosis, Stalock’s career was peaking, albeit at an unusually old age. The Minnesota native had played in a career-high 38 NHL games for the Wild in 2019-20, going 20-11-4 with a .910 save percentage.

Flashes of excellence he’d shown before–he went 12-5-2 with a .932 save percentage as an NHL rookie in 2013-14, for example, before his Sharks tenure gradually fizzled out–were showing up more and more consistently.

After the diagnosis, Stalock’s career was in real jeopardy. He missed all of the shortened season. Last September, it was announced he’d likely miss all of 2021-22, as well.

But around mid-season, he decided to reverse course and attempt a comeback. He’d met with about five different cardiologists, and because of myocarditis’ newness and the lack of research, they’d each given him slightly different recommendations. Ultimately, Stalock decided the ultimate test was to try playing hockey again.

“You can only do [so many] heart tests, stress tests, all these tests,” he said. “It’s not on the ice. It’s not playing a game with fans, adrenaline and all that stuff. The best thing was to go play, see how [my] heart felt and get an answer going into the summer.”

Health-wise, his comeback succeeded. He appeared in a combined 18 games from Jan. 23 on with the Oilers’ and Sharks’ organizations without any health complications. Hockey-wise, though, he struggled. He went 4-10-2 with an .869 save percentage in the AHL and allowed five goals in one NHL start.

“You think you’re in shape, you think you’re ready to go, but it’s so hard to catch up,” he said.

The Hawks decided to gamble on Stalock anyway, signing him to a one-year deal in July.

They hope his full offseason of training might elevate him back to his impressive 2019-20 levels. He hopes so, too, although it’s impossible right now to know for sure. He’ll make his Hawks preseason debut Tuesday against the Blues, splitting the 60 minutes with Mrazek.

If things go poorly over the coming months, the Hawks do have top goalie prospect Arvid Soderblom waiting in the wings, or they could claim a veteran goalie on waivers.

Ideally, though, Stalock turns out to be one of hockey’s best feel-good stories of the year. All the right ingredients are present. He already feels good in at least one way, too.

“It feels good to go home and be on the couch and have your legs sore,” he said. “You realize, ‘Holy cow, I missed this for three years.'”

And now that he has his career back, he’s finding it possible to adopt a glass-half-full perspective on his entire myocarditis experience.

“There’s obviously some unfortunatethings that happened to people that were undiagnosed with it, so I’m fortunate enough we caught it early and treatedit right,” he said. “Hopefully that’s in the past and I’ll have a clean slate of health moving forward, not only in the game of hockey but in my entire life.”

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Kenny Golladay could become a possible trade target for Chicago Bears

Kenny Golladay could be traded soon as he is “unhappy” with his current playing time.

According to a report from Ian Rapoport, The New York Giants could be looking to trade wide receiver, Kenny Golladay soon.

Here is what Rapoport said about the Kenny Golladay situation ahead of Monday Night Football:

The situation surrounding Giants receiver Kenny Golladay could come to a head soon.

The highly paid pass catcher is expected to be active for tonight’s game against the Cowboys, hoping for more productivity than he has provided during the first two weeks and another chance to show New York’s new coaching staff that he can get it done.

If it doesn’t happen against Dallas, and if the storyline regarding his playing time loudly continues, there are options.

Among them: The Giants could trade Golladay to an interested party, and likely the only way it would work is if New York pays the bulk of his contract in exchange for a late-round pick, sources say. That is a possibility.

This could be a potential move the Bears might get involved in as the team’s passing attack has been nonexistent to start the season. The Bears’ receiving corps is lacking a true number one target, and Golladay definitely has the skills necessary to fill that role before.

Experts have predicted a busy trade deadline for the Bears this year, so a mid-season trade for Golladay is definitely a move they could pursue.

Golladay is currently in the middle of a four-year, $72 million deal that he signed with the Giants in 2021. Despite playing in 14 games last year, Golladay was only able to muster 521 receiving yards and zero touchdowns. With a new general manager and head coach in New York this season, Golladay has seen himself fall out of favor with the Giants’ new regime.

Jenny Golladay did not start in the Giants’ week 2 game against the Panthers and only saw the field for two snaps the entire game. While Golladay has not been an issue for the Giants locker room right now, he did say he was unhappy with the lack of playing time,

While Kenny Golladay does have a big contract, it is likely that the Giants will need to keep most of that salary in order to get anything back for him. The Giants are currently paying Golladay $17.75 million this year, but the team could get out of this deal easily with a trade. Whoever trades for Golladay would only have to pay the rest of his 2022 salary, and the $4.5 million he is guaranteed next year.

While Golladay has struggled in New York, he is someone the Bears should consider acquiring. Bears fans definitely know how good he could be since Golladay used to be a dominant receiver for the rival Detroit Lions. Since the Giants are desperate to get rid of his contract, a move for Golladay would not cost the Bears much at all. This could be a very low-risk move for the Bears who are still in search of weapons to support Justin Fields.

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Bears see bright future for CB Kyler Gordon, but he’s off to a choppy start

The Bears said from the start they’d be asking a lot out of top draft pick Kyler Gordon, and they’ve held to their word.

They immediately made him their nickel corner, arguably the most difficult defensive position for a rookie to learn, and he has played all but one snap. They insist he has elite talent and uncapped potential, but he’s off to a choppy start.

After Aaron Rodgers picked on Gordon in Week 2 and completed 10 of 13 passes for 140 yards and a touchdown when he was in coverage, according to Pro Football Reference, fledgling Texans quarterback Davis Mills followed suit.

Film review showed Mills completed 4 of 8 passes for 88 yards against Gordon. Those numbers aren’t outrageous, but the timing was problematic. Mills hit wide receiver Chris Moore running away from Gordon for 52 yards in the first quarter and practice squad tight end Jordan Akins for 25 in the third.

Both plays vaulted the Texans into scoring range and led to points.

Bears coach Matt Eberflus downplayed Gordon’s early struggles and said he has continued to improve.

“He’s solid,” Eberflus said Monday. “He’s building upon his experiences, and that’s the biggest thing that he can do.”

In the long view, that’s true. The Bears aren’t eying a Super Bowl and don’t need Gordon to be an instant star. But he is essential to their rebuild.

While quarterback Justin Fields and linebacker Roquan Smith have rightfully been the focal points on either side of the ball so far, Gordon is next in line as meriting attention. His development, along with fellow second-rounder Jaquan Brisker at safety, is one of the most prominent aspects of this season.

Bears general manager Ryan Poles didn’t have a first-round pick this year, but was so convinced that Gordon was a first-round talent that he instructed his staff to plan as though he’d be off the board by the time their first choice came up in the second round at No. 39 overall.

They loved everything about him, especially his athleticism — players and coaches have raved for months about amazing plays he has made in practice — and intelligence. Playing nickel corner requires the versatility to handle any type of receiver, running back or tight end in coverage, and it has become one of the most valuable positions in the league.

That’s why Eberflus, a man with infinite responsibilities and limited time, has been working individually with Gordon to help him develop into the star the Bears project him to become.

For his part, Gordon has been unflinchingly honest about bad plays and unwavering in his confidence.

“The more I see, the more I grow and the more it just goes into the files in my head,” he said. “I keep remembering certain instances and I’m growing from it.”

His responsibility and importance is even greater if top cornerback Jaylon Johnson remains out. Gordon played extensively at outside cornerback in the Bears’ base defense Sunday, opposite Kindle Vildor.

The Bears need to be mindful of overloading their rookies with too much to process, but Eberflus reiterated Monday that everything about Gordon’s makeup points to him being able to handle playing inside or outside.

“You always have got to look at that, especially when you’re working with a rookie, but he’s shown that he can do it,” Eberflus said. “His techniques are good. In terms of knowing his assignments… we’re pleased.”

Knowing where to be is the first step. Reacting and getting there in the moment is next.

Eberflus made clear from the onset that he was willing to ride out rookie mistakes, and opposing quarterbacks are absolutely going to keep going at Gordon until he shows he’s ready. It’s reasonable to expect him to need time, but the sooner he arrives, the better the Bears’ defense will be.

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