Archive | December 2016

A Review Of The Chicago Bears 2016 Season

The Chicago Bears have seen improvements in their roster that could stand them in good stead.  However, much rests on Jay Cutler and how far he will be able to take the team.  The loss of offensive coordinator Adam Gase was a major blow, but luckily for the Bears their only one during the offseason.  His replacement Dowell Loggains will bring continuity on the offensive front.

The Consistency Of Cutler

One of the major issues for the Bears will be how consistent Cutler is.  In the past, Cutler has been inconsistent from season to season and from game to game.  This could be a debilitating problem for the team as they rely on Cutler to carry their offense.  

However, if this inconsistency can be curbed Cutler has the potential to lead the team to victory.  He is one of the few quarterbacks able to make crucial plays against the rush.  His decision making has also become more patient under the guidance of Gase and Loggains, but it remains to be seen if this will stay for the long-haul.

Durability Of Players

During the 2015 season, the Bears suffered greatly from injuries to their receiving line.  Kevin White never made it to the field, and Ashton Jeffery only played in nine games, but during these games, he was a force to be reckoned with as he decimated the defensive line regularly.  However, the Bears do need someone to fill the space next to him.  It is possible for White to fill this void, but so could Daniel Braverman who will fight Eddie Royal for the slot.

Underwhelming Backfield

The backfield is one of the Bears big problems.  Jeremy Langford seems unable to consistently break tackles having finished the 2015 season with only seven broken tackles on 148 carries.  The rookie Jordan Howard does not inspire confidence as he too lacks imagination.  However, he does have an advantage of consistently creating positive yardage on the field.  

Passing downs is another aspect of the Bears game that is found lacking.  There are almost no threats in this area which could cause major problems for them.  The best option could be the promoting of Jacquizz Rodgers from the special teams role.

Quality Up Front

An improvement this season should be seen in the guard play even with the loss of veteran Matt Slauson.  Kyle Long has the potential for an elite guard with an adequate tackle.  The front of the line has also become younger with the addition of Cody Whitehair during the second round of drafts.  He is regarded as one of the best value picks during the round.

The problem is that the rest of the pack is far less impressive.  Early last season Charles Leno Jr was struggling, but he did rally toward the end of the year.  This has left him seeming to be at least competent for the 2016 season, but the prospects are not as good for Hroniss Grasu who only recorded a 40.2 overall grade.

Secondary Is Lacking Depth

Many resources have been put into the front seven which leaves the secondary a little neglected.  While there are some players like Adrian Amos and Kyle Fuller there are also gaping holes which could be taken advantage of.  There are some rookies who will be competing for play time, and they might see some field time if Tracy Porter continues to struggle on the perimeter.  

The Chicago Bears have made a few changes like our sponsor for this article and during the drafts and there has only been one major negative impact during the offseason.   However, the improvements upfront might not be enough to make up for the lack of depth in the secondary.

This entry was posted on December 18, 2016.

The World Series Champs

The World Series Champions of major league baseball in the year 2016 are the Chicago Cubs without a doubt. Many loyal fans have been waiting since 1908 to see their Cubbies return to the world stage in baseball. Whether you believe in the curse or not, you have to agree that going over 100 years between championships is indeed a little strange. The team had an incredible year and went wire to wire in the NL Central division. They were the most dominant team of all the teams in the NL division.

The year before they lost the NLCS to the New York Mets but this year was their year. At the beginning of the year, they added John Lackey to the pitching rotation. They also added Ben Zobrist and Jason Heyward for more offense. Their top prospect Gleyber Torres was part of a package deal that they used at the trade deadline to acquire Aroldis Chapman. Aroldis was a key reliever who became a dominant factor at the end of many important playoff games.

Theo Epstein knew that he would have success with an assortment of excellent young players such as Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, and Addison Russell. The starting pitcher rotation was one of the best in the entire league and was a key reason why the Chicago Cubs won this year’s World Series. They have accumulated four of the best starting pitchers in all of the baseball. Both Kyle Hendricks and Jon Lester may be considered for this year’s Cy Young award winner. These two awesome pitchers finished number one and number two in ERA.

Another key reason why the Chicago Cubs are world champions is that of their bullpen. At the trade deadline, as mentioned previously, they added Aroldis Chapman, but they also added Mike Montgomery and Joe Smith. Mike Montgomery could qualify next year as a starter, but the Cubs used him wisely as a relief pitcher from the bullpen. Chapman was phenomenal as a closer and posted a remarkable 1.01 ERA.

2015 saw the Cubs offense shine but the shine did not diminish during the 2016 season. They were third in runs, 12th in homers, first in walk percentage, 10th in slugging, and second in on-base. The catalyst for the team was Dexter Fowler who made the All-Star team for his very first time. Kyle Schwarber missed most of the season with torn knee ligaments but returned for the World Series. Other key offensive players that contributed to the cause were Javier Baez and Wilson Contreras.

The last major league baseball team to rally from a 3 – 1 series deficit was the Kansas City Royals. The Kansas City Royals went on to beat the St. Louis Cardinals and win the World Series in 1985 after overcoming this deficit. There have been six others who have done this remarkable feat during a league championship series. However, the only other team to overcome this large of a deficit in the World Series was the Pittsburgh Pirates.

It is interesting to note that the last two teams to blow a 3 – 1 series lead were the Cleveland Indians in 2007 and the Chicago Cubs in 2003. It is also interesting to note that the Kansas City Royals are the only team in Major League baseball history to have come back twice during the same season after being down 3 – 1. In fact, including the four big sports of baseball, basketball, football, and hockey there are only two teams including the Kansas City Royals to do such a feat. The other team was the Minnesota Wild of the National Hockey League.

The future looks tremendous for the Chicago Cubs, and the city of Chicago can expect their Cubbies to be in next year’s playoff push as well.

This entry was posted on December 12, 2016.