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Monday, December 29, 2014

Podcast: Bears fire Emery/Trestman and we talk successors. Plus Bulls and Blackhawks on a roll


After a disastrous season, Virginia McCaskey is PISSED and cleaned house.  We discuss the firing of Phil Emery, Marc Trestman, and Aaron Kromer.  We also break down the streaking Blackhawks and Bulls.  All of this and more on this episode of Bill Swerski's Sports Talk Chicago.
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Football talk from 0:00-40:20
Bulls Talk from 40:20-52:00
Blackhawks/IceHogs talk from 52:00-end





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Friday, December 26, 2014

Is playing Cutler the last week the right choice?

Prior to the week 16 game versus the Detroit Lions, it was announced Jay Cutler would be benched for the remainder of the season.  After the concussion suffered by backup Jimmy Clausen, the team announced the return of Jay Cutler as the starter.  Was this the right choice?

I guess the answer is...it depends. It depends on what your ultimate goal is.  If you want to put your team in the best possible chance to close out the season with a win, you play Smokin Jay.  He is physically the most talented QB on the roster.  He has also received about 90% of the practice reps for the whole season.  Not to mention, he shredded the Vikings D for 330 yards and 3 TDs in week 11.

But if you want to think more long term, the right answer is starting 6th round pick rookie David Fales as QB.  Let's weigh the pros and cons here.
Pros:
-Talent-wise, he was fairly highly regarded coming out of college.  His height is what dropped him down the boards.
-If you're Phil Emery and you want to save your job, you show you can develop a QB.
-If you're Marc Trestman, if you ever want to work in the NFL again, you show that it was Jay's fault for the offensive implosion.
-If you're ownership and Fales plays well, you have some options with trading Jay in the off season.
-If you win the game, you hurt your draft position.  It sounds like a defeatist attitude to have, but being mathematically eliminated from the playoffs and with a much more shallow draft than last season, position counts this season.

Although it's not often that a 6th rounder steps up and performs well as a starting NFL QB, but it has happened.  More likely, we'll see an over-matched and bewildered youngster.  But this team is about to turn to a new leadership direction.  I think whoever is hired as new management would love to see what they have in David Fales...because everyone, good or bad, knows what they have with Jay.
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Monday, December 22, 2014

Bears losing with Clausen, the season is almost over, thankful for the Blackhawks


In this episode, we talk the Chicago Bears benching Jay Cutler in favor of old crusty Jimmy Clausen, but get similar results in a loss at home to the Lions.  We've also the red-hot Chicago Blackhawks coming off an 8-game winning streak.  All of this and more on this episode of Bill Swerski's Sports Talk Chicago.
Make sure to follow us on
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and subscribe on iTunes or Stitcher





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Monday, December 15, 2014

The Bears suck, The Bulls don't and the Cubs/Sox making moves


In this episode, we talk the Chicago Bears ugly loss to the New Orleans Saints (running theme), the Bulls and Derrick Rose hitting their stride, and the Cubs and White Sox making free agent moves to make them post-season competitive next season. All of this and more on this episode of Bill Swerski's Sports Talk Chicago.
Make sure to follow us on
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Sunday, December 7, 2014

Bears crushed by Cowboys, Blackhawks rolling, and Derrick Rose can't breathe. New podcast is now live


In this episode, we talk the Chicago Bears ugly loss to the Dallas Cowboys, the Blackhawks rolling hard into first place, the Bulls are finally getting healthy but still struggling against top teams. All of this and more on this episode of Bill Swerskis Sports Talk Chicago.
Make sure to follow us on
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and subscribe on iTunes or Stitcher





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Sunday, November 30, 2014

Bears lose to the Lions, Blackhawks trounce the LA Kings. Episode 39 of Bill Swerskis Sports Talk Chicago


In this episode, we talk the Chicago Bears ugly loss to the Detroit Lions, the Blackhawks opening a can of whoopass on the Circus Trip, and the Bulls playing down to their competition.  We also do a quick bit about the Cubs and White Sox. All of this and more on this episode of Bill Swerskis Sports Talk Chicago.
Make sure to follow us on
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Facebook: /SwerskiSports
www.SwerskiSports.com
youtube.com/SwerskiSports

and subscribe on iTunes or Stitcher





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Sunday, November 23, 2014

Chicago Bears victory over Lovie and the Tampa Bay Bucs episode of the Podcast


In this episode, we talk the big Chicago Bears victory over Lovie Smith and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  What was good?  Bad?  Ugly?  We break it all down.
Make sure to follow us on
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and subscribe on iTunes or Stitcher





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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Bulls and Blackhawks Circus Trip. Hot Stove Talk. Episode 37.5 of the Podcast


In this episode, we talk with Teuvo Teravainen and Mark McNeill of the Blackhawks/IceHogs.  We also break down the start of the Chicago Bulls and Chicago Blackhawks circus trip.  Finally we talk beginnings of Cubs and White Sox hot stove season.
Make sure to follow us on
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youtube.com/SwerskiSports

and subscribe on iTunes or Stitcher





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Monday, November 17, 2014

BEARS WIN! BEARS WIN! Beat the Vikings episode of the Podcast


In this episode, we talk with Lester of WindyCityGridiron.com about the Bears big victory against the Minnesota Vikings.  While this is a Bears-only episode, on Wednesday, we will post an episode dedicated to the rest of our hometown teams: Bulls, Blackhawks, Cubs and Sox.
Make sure to follow us on
Twitter: @SwerskiSports
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youtube.com/SwerskiSports

and subscribe on iTunes or Stitcher





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Sunday, November 16, 2014

Cubs Acquire Tommy La Stella


The Cubs have announced they have acquired infielder Tommy La Stella from the Braves for right-hander Arodys Vizcaino. The two teams also swapped international bonus slots: the Cubs receiving the Braves’ number four international signing bonus slot in exchange for their slot numbers two, three and four. MLB.com’s Mark Bowman tweets the Braves will net $830K in swapping the bonus slots.

La Stella made his MLB debut for the Braves in 2014 and slashed .251/.328/.317 in 319 plate appearances. La Stella, who will turn 26 in January, led all National League rookies with his .328 OBP and 36 walks.
Vizcaino, who the Cubs acquired two years ago from the Braves in the Paul Maholm trade, only made five appearances during his Chicago career, all this past September (three earned runs over five innings), as he recovered from Tommy John surgery.

Story courtesy of MLBtraderumors.com
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Friday, November 14, 2014

Does Cutler deserve to be hated this much?


I know, I know.  It's the cool thing to do.  Let's all hate Jay Cutler.  He's the worst.  He's a mustache-less Hitler.  If Satan and Bin Laden had a child, it would be Jay Cutler.  He makes you want to drink.  I get it.  But let's move past the hurt for a quick second and look at his statistics.

Jay Cutler is on pace to have 4200 passing yards and 32 TDs and a 92.8 QB rating.  Let's just put that into a quick perspective.  If he indeed hits these projections, he will surpass the ALL-TIME Chicago Bears single season passing yards records by over 500 yards (current record 3,666 yards by Jay Cutler in 2009).  He will also surpass the ALL-TIME single season passing touchdown record for the Bears (29 by Kramer in 1995).  While Peyton Manning and Drew Brees may scoff at these numbers, this would easily be the greatest single season by a Bears quarterback EVER.

Also, let's compare him to some of the other big name QBs in the league this year and how their season looks to project based on current stats:
Jay Cutler           4200 yards 32TDs/18ints 92.8rating
Phillip Rivers     4179 yards 36TDs/14ints 102.6rating
Tony Romo        3740 yards 30TDs/10ints 107.2rating
Eli Manning      3937 yards 30TDs/10ints 93.1rating
Drew Brees       5000 yards 32TDs/18ints 95.1rating

So we've established that Cutler is on pace to have the greatest QB season in Bears history.  He is also on par with several of the other bigger QB names in the NFL for this season.
The differences mostly come down to wins and losses and expectations for the season.  After last season, the Chicago Bears were a top 5 offense amassing nearly 400 yards per game and scoring almost 28 points per game.  Coming into this season, Brian Billick proclaimed Cutler as his favorite for MVP.  With a second year in the same offense, was that out of the question?  However the Bears are 3-6, can't win at home, and aren't even scoring 22 points per game.

With all of this in mind, does Cutler deserve as much of the blame and hatred he has gotten this season?
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Monday, November 10, 2014

Bears are terrible, Blackhawks win, Fire Trestman. Episode 36 of the podcast

After that horrible, miserable, rotten Bears game, we commiserate about it and add fuel to the fire. We also talk Blackhawks and IceHogs and interview IceHogs defenseman Klas Dahlbeck.



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Thursday, November 6, 2014

Talking Blackhawks and their offensive woes on this episode of the show

We talk with Chris Block of thethirdmanin.com about the Blackhawks, their slow start, the offensive troubles, and TVR.  All of this and more on this episode of Bill Swerski's Sports Talk Chicago



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Monday, November 3, 2014

Cubs hire Maddon & Bulls start their season

Cubs hire Joe Maddon and Bulls start the season.  We have our in-depth analysis of the Cubs signing of Joe Maddon and an off-season breakdown.  We also have the guys from Bawl! on the show to discuss the Bulls season beginning.



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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Breaking down the game film: Bears vs Patriots

We take a look at in-game snapshots of the Chicago Bears loss to the New England Patriots. Picture from Kevin Fishbain of ChicagoFootball.com

1. 2nd and 19 for the Bears:

After a holding penalty, the Bears were in a position of 2nd and 19.  They had Brandon Marshall with single coverage on the outside and the high safety out of position.  However, Brandon Browner was blanketing Marshall.  While in theory, throwing to Marshall on the outside is the correct throw, Cutler has to realize that Marshall is just not open.  After the Dolphins loss, Cutler said in a press conference that he needs to take what the defense gives you.  Maybe try looking at the open man in the black triangle.

2. Failed screen pass:
This is a perfectly drawn up screen pass.  You have offensive linemen out in front.  You have wide receivers ready to block.  You have a ridiculously large hole opened up.  The issue?  You have defensive lineman Dominique Easley (who I raved about coming out of the draft), recognize the screen pass and blow up Matt Forte before he has a shot to catch the ball.  It forces Jay Cutler to have to throw the ball to Forte's feet.

3. Wrong target in a zone defense:
 As you can see in the snapshot of the Patriots zone defense, they have all of the short routes bottled up.  Jay Cutler decides to dump it to Matt Forte, who has a linebacker on his tail and a safety (in red circle) coming down.  The lack of preparation shows where the Bears and Jay Cutler don't know where the soft spots of the zone would be.  You can see Alshon and Holmes going to open spots for a big chunk of yardage.  Again, taking what the defense gives you, you go to Alshon, not Forte.

4. 2nd and 4 and who are you throwing it to?!!?!:
The Bears need to get to the 31 to move the chains.  You have Martellus Bennett wide open on the 28 (and a good chance to get the first if he catches the ball).  You have Matt Forte wide open on the 29.  You have Alshon Jeffery wide open on the 42.  So...who do you throw it to?  Of course, Brandon Marshall who has Darrelle Revis all over him and blanket coverage on either side.  This is the epitome of why the Bears offense has been sputtering: wrong reads. 

5. How do you not cover Gronk!?!?:
In what was the biggest downfall of the Bears defense on Sunday was not covering Gronk.  In a zone defense, Gronk gets a clean release and room to run.  Look at the blue space of running room he had.  Did Mel Tucker even watch game film?

6. Deja vu:
Because seeing it once wasn't enough, here's another (of numerous times) where Gronk gets a free release and heads right to open pastures.  It's extremely frustrating.  Anybody that has watched an NFL game this year knew what the Patriot's game plan would be...except Mel Tucker.  
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Monday, October 27, 2014

Making the best of the Lamarr Houston injury.


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Sunday, October 26, 2014

Chicago Bears rough loss to the New England Patriots

The Chicago Bears take a tough loss to the New England Patriots in their last game before their bye week.  We talk with Lester Wiltfong of WindyCityGridiron.com about the game.



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Friday, October 24, 2014

Is Lance Briggs holding the Bears defense back?


The three opening day starting linebackers for the 2014 Chicago Bears were first year linebacker and converted DE Shea McClellin and veterans DJ Williams and Lance Briggs.  After training camp, after preseason, after evaluating all options, these three were deemed to be the best option for the Chicago Bears defense.

The general thinking was that having two veteran linebackers would help out the first-year linebacker and help stabilize the revamped defense.  After last year, the draft picks, and the free agent signings, the full focus from Phil Emery down to the practice squad defensive players is that they need to stop the run.  Veteran linebackers give you the best chance to stop the run.  But is what we are seeing the best option?

Other than week 1 against Buffalo, where the defense gave up nearly 200 yards on the ground, the defense has been fairly decent against the run (especially considering how abysmal the unit was against the run last season).  127 yards on the ground in a win in San Fran, 114 yards in a win versus the Jets, 56yards for the Packers, 90 for Carolina, 42 for Atlanta, and 137 rushing yards for Miami making the Bears almost perfectly in the middle of the pack (#16) rush defense.  So, for the most part, not being able to stop the run isn't the reason for the Bears 3-4 record.

Where we are seeing the disconnect on the defense is pass coverage and getting off the field on 3rd downs.  If you are watching the product on the field and you're paying attention, you'll see two old men plodding around the field. DJ Williams and Lance Briggs know where they need to be on running plays, but on pass downs and read option plays and misdirections, the pair are finding that father time has hit them ridiculously hard.

Against the Falcons, one of the most potent passing attacks in the league, all three starting linebackers and primary backup Jon Bostic were all injured and out.  The Bears were forced to start three young linebackers: Greene, Sharpton, and Jones.  What they lacked in experience, they more than made up for in speed, hitting, and athleticism.  Where we see the impact of this youthful speed over the veteran experience most is on the third down efficiency. Atlanta was only 4 of the 13 on third down attempts.  Fact: you stop the opponent on third down and you give the ball back to your offense and get to rest up for a few minutes.  Are the lost steps on the veteran linebackers the key to why the Bears can't get off the field on third downs?

With the rich history of linebackers that the Chicago Bears have had (Mike Singletary, Dick Butkus, Otis Wilson, Doug Buffone, Brian Urlacher, Bill George, etc), it's a hard pill to swallow that the well seems to have run dry and the talent pool at linebacker is no longer there.
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Sunday, October 19, 2014

Bears take a tough loss at home to the Miami Dolphins

The Chicago Bears tough loss to the Miami Dolphins at Solider Field was a rough one to swallow.  Come listen to me and Lester Wiltfong from WindyCityGridiron.com talk about game and preview the New England game next week.


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Sunday, October 12, 2014

Chicago Bears huge win vs Atlanta Falcons and the start of the Blackhawks season (Podcast episode 32)

The Chicago Bears with a huge win versus Devon Hester and the Atlanta Falcons.  Also, the Blackhawks begin their quest to get the Stanley Cup back with back to back wins.  All of this and more on this episode of Bill Swerskis Sports Talk Chicago


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Sunday, October 5, 2014

Bears' tough loss to the Panthers and the Nick Leddy trade

The Chicago Bears took a tough loss to the Carolina Panthers and the Blackhawks trade Nick Leddy to the NY Isalnders for 3 prospects.  All of this and more on this episode of Bill Swerskis Sports Talk Chicago


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Sunday, September 28, 2014

Bears take a country whoopin' from the Packers: Episode 30.5 of Bill Swerski Sports Talk Chicago

The Chicago Bears took a butt whipping from the Green Bay Packers at home.  We break down the game and discuss where they go from here.


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Friday, September 26, 2014

Preview Chicago Bears vs Green Bay Packers, Paul Konerko retires edition. Bill Swerski Sports Talk Chicago ep 30

Previewing the Bears vs the Green Bay Packers, Paul Konerko retires, and the Blackhawks trade rumors.  All of this and more on this episode of Bill Swerski's Sports Talk Chicago
0-11:40 Blackhawks
11:40 -15:40 White Sox
16:40-26:25 Cubs
26:54-end Bears



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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Play Breakdown: Bears vs Jets

This is a feature I'm hoping to do after every game. We will break down a few plays each game.

PLAY 1:

As you can see from the formation, the Bears are in a heavy package. There is a good chance they run out of this formation or are extremely worried about pass rush. 2 wide, single back, tight end in tight and an offensive lineman in a TE spot.
The MLB bites on the play action fake.  The WLB is frozen.  However, the wideouts have man coverage with two high safeties to contend with.
After the fake, Cutler drops back  7 steps. By the time he plants, the pass protection has broken down completely.  Eben Britton (lined up as a TE), finds his way to a one-on-one block.  And Forte winds up one-on-one blocking DT Wilkerson.
Wilkerson easily beats Forte and is on Cutler like white on rice.
Wilkerson with the sack and no threat of the wideouts getting open.


PLAY 2
Again, it looks like the Bears are in a max protect, dealing with the Jets formidable pass rush.

Unlike the previous play, the line has figured out the correct protections.  Jeffery breaks and Bennett is looking like he will be covered by a flat-footed outside linebacker.

The receivers run routes in the flat.


This leaves Alshon in one-on-one coverage deep coverage and the other receivers that ran the flat and a look off by Cutler freezes the safety.

Even though he doesn't make the catch, Alshon draws the pass interference penalty.


PLAY 3:
The Bears are running a 3 wide set with TE looking like he'll stay in for protection.

Bears line protection funnel the pass rushers into the middle, leaving Cutler plenty of time to pick apart the Jets defensive backfield.

Quickly Wilkerson and another D-lineman head around Mills, collapsing the pocket and rushing Cutler.

Incomplete pass, with the pass rush covering for the Jets defensive backs.


PLAY 4:
Bears stack the box with 2 linebackers lined up in the A gaps.


The two linebackers in the A gaps drop back into coverage

You wind up with 5 defenders at the first down marker, trying to keep everything underneath.  Even with a caught pass, a solid tackle forces a punt.

The good coverage allows the Bears to collapse the pocket.  Lamarr Houston reaches his paw up.

Bears had good coverage, Houston gets the tip and nearly catches his own tipped pass.



PLAY 5:
Bears lined up in a tight, bunch formation.  No additional linemen, but receivers tight, a halfback and running back in the back field.

The Jets lined up like they are bringing 5 pass rushers.

The Jets do bring 5.  The WR isn't in position to block the left side rusher and the pulling linemen can't get there.


Both Bears players try to converge on the blitzer.  As you can see this leaves the corner free to come down to the line of scrimmage.

The free corner funnels Forte back towards the interior line where the play is made.
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