Tuesday, December 28, 2010

AudiBull (Episode 8) Links / iTunes

With Kmart out of the country, the creator of the AudiBULL them song filled in to help me out with the podcast this week. Thanks to Ryan Coe for a job well done, we had a great time recording AudiBULL Episode 8, and we hope you enjoy listening.

If you enjoy the podcast, be sure to follow both of us on twitter: @bullbearsock and @ryeryeryecom

Listen to Episode 8 here:

or download from iTunes

Monday, December 27, 2010

Greatest Show on Grass?

Is this what we are gonna be calling the bears offense soon? Maybe if the last two weeks were an indication of what the Martz offense can do for the bears. Look, it was a great win yesterday against the Jets and the bears did it by leaning on the offense something that is entirely foreign to us Bears fans. The bears are in the driver's seat for a first round bye and have won 7 out of their last 8. Shaping up to be a great season. Positive, negatives and thoughts on yesterday's game below.

The Good
1. O-line. The much maligned O-line looked like studs vs. the Jets. Cutler had all day to complete throws and we saw what happens then with 3 tds in the 3rd quarter. Plus, Forte was the first 100 yd rusher against the Jets this year. A lot of that credit goes to the O-line for blocking up people. If the line can play like this then sky is the limit for this offense.
2. Matt Forte. As mentioned above, Forte is the 1st back to go over 100 yards against the Jets D this year. And only the 2nd back to do it in the last 2 years. Forte had some excellent blocking but he picked up a ton of yards after 1st contact and he looks like the back he was in his rookie year. He is the most dangerous weapon on the bears offense.
3. Jay Cutler/Devin Hester. Ask Jay how easy it is too look good when you usually only have to go half the field for a TD and you have a running game. The bears offense was clicking on all cylinders and Jay showed why he was brought into be the franchise QB. And not enough can be said about Hester and the advantage he gives the bears. The bears have the best average starting field position in the NFL and it is because of #23. Also, he has caught TDs in 2 consecutive games. Can he get the MVP?

The Bad
1. D-line. Did the bears D-line actually play yesterday? It was pretty hard to tell because im pretty sure Mark Dirty Sanchez was pretty much untouched besides some LB blitzes. I dont want to hear that this D-line has problem with their "get-off" on the soldier field grass. Arent there pills for that? Anyway, the bears know they play on turf and that they play in the cold so this just cant be an excuse for no pash rush. I was having flash backs to last season's defense. Not good.
2. Defensive play calling. Alright, I by now understand that Lovie's system doesnt work when you have to rush more than 4. But does that mean the defense just has to give up when its not working? In the 2nd quarter and really until the 4th quarter, it looked like the bears had no idea what to do when their front 4 couldnt get pressure. Finally, in the 4th, we saw urlacher and briggs coming on blitzes which were somewhat effective. Can I ask why it took till then for the blitz to become an option? That adjustment needed to be made a lot earlier given the way Sanchez was carving up the bears.

Random Bear Thoughts
Peanut Tillman has to be winding down his days as a cornerback. I mean we have all seen his inability to cover fast WRs anymore and he has pretty much become a liability in most man to man coverage situations. I personally love Peanut and proudly display his autograph in my room but I think realistically if he is still with the bears his future will be at safety. I mean he says on the field because of his ability to punch out fumbles and putting him at safety would mean he is around the ball more and he can use his size and strength against TEs and backs. It could re-invent his career much the way it did for rod woodson and charles woodson. Either way CB must be an offseason priority for the bears.
Why is the packers game important? Because if the packers win, it would likely mean that the bears get the #3 seed and would play the #6 seed who would be........the Packers. As great it would be to see a Bears-Pack playoff game, they will probably be the most dangerous NFC team in the playoffs.

Monday, December 20, 2010

AudiBull (Episode 7) Links / iTunes

Listen here:

Kmart and had our weekly Bulls discussion on Sunday night. You can listen to our review of last week, and predictions for this week.

Kmart will be out of the country next week, so Ryan Coe (the creator of the BBS theme song) will be filling in! Going to try some new things, and might even take some calls from listeners. (Time/date is still TBD).

Listen to Episode 7 here:

or download from iTunes

Bears v. Vikes - Division clincher?

First off, I have said nothing about last week's debacale vs. the pats because really there is nothing good or constructive to take from the game. Just forget about it and move on. But, tonight with a win the bears have a chance to clinch the NFC North. As impossible as that would have sounded at the beginning of the year, its true.

Key Matchups:
1. Julius Peppers v. Bryant McKinnie. McKinnie used to be a premier LT in the league but he has lost it. He has problems with speed rushers and can be beaten right away off the snap. Pep needs a big game and the bears need to put constant pressure in the backfield on what might be a sloppy night.
2. Matt Forte v. Chad Greenway. Greenway is the vikes leading tackler and will probably be in charge of covering forte in pass coverage. Call me crazy Mike Martz but Forte has been your most explosive weapon on offense all year so get him the ball in space. I like that the bears are running the ball more but Forte showed earlier in the season that he is an excellent and elusive runner on those swing pass and screens. With the weather probably being a factor tonight about we see some more of those and Forte running past Greenway.

Bear's Key:
1. Ability to play in bear football. As this is posting, the forecast in MN is for 20s and snow. Last week the bears looked like a team that plays in dome. The pass rushers didnt know how to deal with the ground and weather and the offensive line was revealed (again) to be a finesse group that couldnt blow people off the line. As it sets up now, it looks like there will be atleast 1 home game in january at Soldier's Field. It might help to figure out how to play outdoors in cold weather before then.
2. Contain the purple jesus. Or Adrian Peterson as most people call him. With the vikings playing their 3rd string QB, we are gonna see a whole lot of AP. I'm not sure the bears can stop but just contain him. Without any big runs by him, it will be very hard for the vikings to move the ball and we will see them punt the ball a whole lot.

Hero of the Day:
Lance Briggs. This is the type of game that Lance can change with his play. The weather will be sloppy and if lance can get a pick or force a fumble that could spell doom for the vikes. Look for him to be all over the place and in on most of the tackles and cause at least 1 turnover on the night.

Bears 24, Vikes 14.
Even though the vikes are playing with their 3rd string QB, this is still a division game and these teams dont like each other. It will be a physical game with a lot of punts and defense will probably rule the night. Still, the night will end up with the bears being NFC North winners!

Friday, December 17, 2010

D-Rose is Overrated?! Umm ... No.

Our fantasy league has been active the past few days, as yesterday I posted Big Fil's thoughts on Why the Noah Injury Isn't That Big of a Deal ...

So to spark some emails today, I sent this link. I'm not exactly sure why, but these "Derrick Rose is overrated" articles are fascinating to me. I guess I'm trying to understand the logic, and what makes people continuously say these things ...

Derrick Rose: Perfect Storm of Overrated?

A week ago, Beckley and I parsed the notion of Derrick Rose. Certain readers were angry at the personalities within our schizoid dialogue, particularly the Derrick-hating takes. Some mistook a conversation for an argument. To those, I say, “Here’s your argument.” Not only do I think Rose overrated, I think him the potential Perfect Storm of Overrated. It’s written with no hate in my heart, I love watching D-Rose just as much as you do–which is in part why he’s the P.S.O. With Noah out, I expect the “Rose for MVP” chant to mute as the Bulls slide to a 5th seed. But the chant will reverberate across the future, for reasons listed below:

Big Market: Market size is measurable, influential. The “Second City” might actually be third, but the bronze medal is enormous. If Chicago was a female kangaroo, it could easily fit the Oklahoma City metro area inside Chi-town’s marsupial pouch. Chicago could even jump high, higher than Joakim Noah’s arc. But that wouldn’t be safe–like making bad puns a stone’s throw from comment sections.

Great Aesthetics: This is impossible to measure, fun to describe. I call Derrick “close-range Kobe,” as my girlfriend wonders what I’m screaming in my sleep. Bryant boasts an ability to make thrilling, difficult, long-range jumpers. When Kobe drains double-teamed fadeaways, fans gasp. Then, they exhale the air that inflates Bryant’s legend past the point of fact. It’s because every impossible shot delivers an adrenaline jolt, a Pavlovian fist-pump–and most importantly, a memory. Our brains cling to that moment over one hundred effective Pau hook shots. We recall what surprises, credit the shocking-jock.

As Henry Abbott points out, Rose specializes in the thrilling, shifty, contact-avoiding layup. It’s memorable for all the reasons Kobe’s long-distance bombs are. By the time Derrick’s shot ricochets off glass, our brains have already tricked us into over-loving his trickery. How can we blame that brain? How could any human being turn that flying contortion into points? D-Rose as “number one point guard” is a lie, inspired by an optical illusion.

Well, after I posted that link, Kmart (BBS writer and AudiBULL host) read the article and posted what I thought was an awesome response. Here it is:

I hate reading how "overrated" Derrick Rose is. It's one of the dumbest arguments ever. I think he's perfectly rated. I think most Bulls fans would peg him as 3rd-5th best PG right now chasing Paul and D-Will and somewhere with Rondo and Westbrook. What about that makes him overrated?

If it's about being deemed in the discussion for MVP, then based on his numbers alone, he at least deserves to be in the discussion. If you also measure how much he means to the team, the Bulls would likely be 5 games under .500 without him. Without Rose the Bulls are a 35-40 win team. With him they're a 50-60 win team. (Also, we're not sliding to a 5 seed without Noah, hate to burst that dude's bubble but the East is terrible.)

He's 22 and in his 3rd year and probably has the highest ceiling of any PG in the league. All he does is win (Simeon, Memphis, now Bulls) and he's done nothing but prove his ability to make his weaknesses, strengths in a ridiculously quick period of time. The 2 big knocks on him last season were that he's terrible defensively and he can't shoot. He went out and got much much better at both of those things, and now he's overrated? How? People are running out of shit to complain about, so this year it's "he doesn't draw enough fouls." While this is true, who wants to bet it's the only thing he works on all off-season? He came out and mentioned that he needs to work on this. He's said all his life on the playground he's been avoiding contact/fouls because they don't call them on the playground. Makes sense, and to piggy back on what Dan said... who can do what he does in the lane? And why is that a knock on him?

I appreciate reading things like this, but it's the Colin Cowherd/Skip Bayless make dumb arguments just to make them. HPBasketball, JonesontheNBA, Hollinger, and this guy all love to call Rose overrated, but I'm curious if they were starting a franchise and got to pick 1 player to build around... how many names would they call before Derricks? 4? 5? 8 tops?

It's arguing just to argue. Nationally Rose is perfectly ranked. Bulls fans are allowed to overrate him by a smidge because they get to watch him every night and every city ever overrates anything their home teams/players do/does... also we got to watch Jordan every night, so I think we're pretty familiar with what greatness looks like.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Why the Noah Injury Isn't That Big of a Deal ...

[Editor's Note: As most BBS readers are aware, Kmart Dan and I are in a very competitive fantasy basketball league with a lot of smart people. Our league commissioner, Big Fil, is a huge Bulls fan and a very knowledgeable NBA fan. Today on the league message boards, he posted some great thoughts on the announcement of Noah's surgery.]

Noah is going to be out 8-10 weeks, which sucks, but is it really that big of a deal? I don't think so, and dare I say in some ways, it could actually be beneficial.

1. The Bulls are getting the 4 seed with or without Noah -

They have already opened up a 5 game lead in the central, despite not having Boozer for the majority of the season, and playing the leagues hardest schedule. Only the Lakers have a bigger lead in their division (6 games) of any division leading team. Could we have possibly gotten the 3 seed? Probably not, but even if they could, does the 3 or 4 seed really matter? Celtics, Heat, Magic, who cares?! You're gonna have to play 2 of them regardless.

2. Taj Gibson -

He will be asked to play a lot more minutes. A young player's confidence is extremely important to their development. Now that Taj will be asked to play major minutes, he will get the necessary experience needed, so when playoff time comes around he'll have the reps needed when he is called upon.

3. Boozer and Rose -

This gives them some serious time to gel, as they will have to work together and get their pick-and-roll game down. It's clear that they are the Bulls' 2 best players now, and they have to find that chemistry to make them as effective as Boozer and D-Will were in Utah. Noah wasn't necessarily blocking that, but now this HAS to happen, and Thibs knows it.

4. Noah will come back with 25+ games left in the season -

There will be some chemistry issues, no doubt, and Noah will need to work himself back into game shape, but with almost 2 full months left in the season, he will still have plenty of time to get acclimated back into the team. He'll be fully rested, and like everyone says: you want to be playing your best late in the year.

Like I said, it sucks that Noah is out 8-10 weeks, because he makes watching Bulls games so much fun. I think he had a legit chance to make the All-Star team, which would have been great for his confidence, but ultimately its really not that big of a deal.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Click-a-Bull (AudiBULL; Love-a-Bulls; Noah/Rodman; Rose v Lakers Highlights)

The Bulls are looking to extend their winning streak to 7 games tonight against the Raptors, so you would think everything is great here at BBS. But with Rose nursing a sore right hip and elbow, a sprained right wrist and a turned left ankle, along with Noah possibly having ligament damage in his right thumb, things are far from great.

But supposedly Rose and Noah are both playing tonight, so maybe things aren't so bad after all. Short-term let's hope for a continued winning streak, and long-term ... let's hope that our two best, young players aren't badly injured.

It's tough not to love these Bulls

There was sobbing throughout Northeast Ohio and plenty of whining in New York City when LeBron James decided to take his talents to South Beach. Meanwhile, in Chicago, Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah shrugged and went back to the gym.

With all due respect to the skills of LeBron and Chris Bosh and the recruiting savvy of Dwyane Wade, Rose and Noah weren't begging anyone to join them, which is part of what makes this the most irresistible Bulls team since Michael and Scottie left town.

"My thing was, no one person can make a decision for a group," Rose said last week. "Guys knew if they came, we'd have welcomed them. But ... "

Rose stopped. His answer wasn't meant to be insulting. He already thought his team worthy, and after Bulls management redirected its free-agent efforts and signed Carlos Boozer and Kyle Korver, Rose believed his boys could rumble with anybody. Nothing has changed his mind, especially now that Chicago has won six straight and begun to fully incorporate Boozer into the lineup since his debut Dec. 1.

This isn't the first time in the post-Jordan era that Chicago has put together an appealing cast. Remember, the Baby Bulls swept defending champ Miami in the 2007 playoffs, and Rose had a coming-out party in that seven-game classic against the champion Celtics in 2009. But those teams, to a great degree, were hoping and praying; the first group was too inexperienced and the latter too perimeter-oriented. Don't get me wrong, this season's team isn't a finished product in terms of personnel -- acquiring a proven shooter is an absolute necessity -- but if you've been watching the Bulls as long as some of us (the entire 44 years of the franchise for me), there's something irresistible about this group.

It's OK, finally, to fall in love with the Bulls again, starting with the fact Rose and Noah didn't spend all summer begging for help; it's indicative of a tough-mindedness that ought to immediately endear this squad to Chicago. Not trading Noah -- in fact, doing just the opposite and signing him to a long-term deal -- already has proved to be the right move, if for no other reason than Noah's value to the Bulls is so much greater than his statistical contribution, even his prolific rebounding.

Joakim Noah and Dennis Rodman are kindred spirits

Joakim Noah(notes) is a terriffic defender, one of the league's top rebounders, and a limited offensive player. Those skills (or lack thereof) put him in the company of another former Bulls great, Dennis Rodman.

The Worm was a controversial figure during his playing days, but no one who watched him can deny that the man was as good a rebounder and defender as anyone in his era. Noah recognizes these facts, thankfully, and appreciates Rodman's career. Noah told Jonathan Santiago of SLAM Online that the two recently had the opportunity to meet:

According to Noah, he met the two-time All-Star at an unspecified night club and told him how big of a fan he was. Rodman, likewise, returned mutual admiration.

"I just saw him in the club and I just showed him love and he showed me love," Noah responded. " It was cool, you know?" The current Bulls power forward spoke reverently of his predecessor:

"I've nothing but good things to say about that guy. You know, I'm a big fan of his. I feel like, you know, somebody whose basketball skills are so underrated just because of all the other things. Just because he was kind of out there, in people's eyes, people kind of forget how much he affected the game. I mean, he was a champion you know? I think people kind of forget that. The guy was the definition of hustle and affecting the game without scoring. He scored a little bit, but not really. I mean the guy just affected the game so much with his defense and his rebounding. And he kind of made that cool, to me anyways."

Monday, December 13, 2010

AudiBull (Episode 6) Links / iTunes

As we do every Sunday, last night Kmart and I discussed the Bulls in "BBS AudiBULL" (episode 6). In Review-a-BULL, we re-cap the games from last week, then in Predict-a-BULL, we try to predict the Bulls record for the upcoming week.

This week we also discussed Noah's foul issues and the Bulls' need for a shooting guard.

Listen here:

or download from iTunes

Friday, December 10, 2010

Bears v. Tom Brady

I mean really can anyone name someone else on the patriots? They really have Tom Brady and a bunch of role players around him. When you look at their statistics they are just an average team but here they are at 9-2. Their offense is 13th in yards, 11th in passing, 13th in rushing but somehow they rank as the #1 scoring offense in the NFL at 31.6 pt/game. Their defense is average too ranking 19th in the NFL. So, this should be an easy win for the bears right?

Key Matchups
1. Jerod Mayo v. Jay Cutler. Cutler's improved play is really the reason for the offensive improvement since the bye week and I expect him to only be better against the Patriots. The Pats are ranked 31st against the pass and i think we may see the bears call more deep routes this game than the last 4 combined. But, I have the suspicion that Mayo, the Pats best LB, may be doing some spying/shadowing of Jay Culter given Jay's nimble feet of late. Mayo is really the one that drives the Pats defense and if Cutler can recognize what he where is on the field, it can negate his impact and make the Pats defense look pedestrian.
2. Urlacher v. Pats TEs. The Pats have two excellent rookie TEs in Hernandez and Gronkowski and the majority of their plays will involve both TEs. They love to run vertical down the seam and have the speed and hands to do so. Brady will spread the ball around but he definitely look to these guys for big plays down the center of the field. I suspect the bears will be playing a whole lot of cover 2 so Urlacher will have to get a good drop down the middle of the field in order to be in position to break up pass to these TEs.
3. Patriots v. Soldier Field turf. Hey, so the turf is crappy but what do I can when it neutralizes the opponents speed? It certainly worked against the eagles, maybe the fastest NFL team. And now we can hope it hurts the Patriots. Their offense is based around YAC or run after the catch so heres hoping on sunday its just falling after the catch.

Keys for the Bears
1. Tackling. Unfortunately this is probable the worst matchup for the bears defense in the NFL. The Pats are a patient, short passing team which absolutely kills cover 2 defenses. Maybe we will see some more blitzes and man 2 man from the bears but I heavily doubt it. So, in order for the bear's cover 2 to beat brady & co., they must tackle extremely well as the Pats are all about YAC, as stated above. The first guy must stop the ball carrier or at least slow him down.
2. DT pressure. Tom Brady is awesome in the pocket. He isnt very mobile but he slides/moves extremely well in the pocket. This allows him to side step a lot of pressure and step up on any pressure from the outsides. If the DTs can get pressure up the middle then Brady has no where to step up and we could see him take some sacks and it disrupt their passing game.
3. Big plays keep coming. The offense has been great the last couple weeks but not exactly what we expected from them. It has been consistently driving the ball and every once a while a big play will pop. But from the Martz offense, I was expecting a lot more big plays and quick scoring. I think this game will be higher scoring than most because the problems the Pats will present for our defense. With that said and the Pats D not having much of a pass rush, i think its time to start going deep early and often. Yep, this could turn into a disaster of inceptions and turnovers but this offense needs to show that it has that capability in order to be a playoff threat and probably to win this game.

Hero of the Day
Jay Cutler. Its the first time this year I have chosen Jay to have a big game. This probably as big of game in his career that he has played and he really needs to come out and show that he can perform against a good team. I think either he goes off for 3 or 4 tds and probably a int or he throws a real stinker and we start wondering if he can handle the big games/stage.

I really want to take the bears. I know im that big of a homer but I just cant bring myself to do it. I wanted to take the Bears 31 to 27 on a last second season defining TD drive by Culter. But, i just cant. I think it will be a close game but Brady in the 4th quarter will hurt the bears and they will fall. Pats 27, Bears 24.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Click-a-Bull (AudiBULL; "King of Stacey"; Rose's 3)

AudiBull (Episode 5) Links / iTunes


Take Over Yourself, or “the King of Stacey”

Derrick Rose was the hero last night. 30 points, 7 rebounds, 11 assists, and 5 steals. We’re seeing it more and more now. These are numbers Chicago hasn’t seen since Michael Jordan. Every bit of the last fourth quarter play was heroic: his confidence to take the shot, his eyes fixated on the game clock, the lift off the ground, the propulsion of the ball headed towards its date with destiny. Rose is good. The hype, as Stacey King very much wanted us to understand, is real.

But the thing about being a hero is that life is a lot easier when you don’t save people all the time. Rose and his hype train has been powered by the mystique of flair and drama. Who can forget the legendary Bulls/Celtics First Round series two seasons ago? Who can forget his Game 1 performance? Who can ever forget the way in which he performs a reverse layup? With a startling combination of power and pretty, he does so easily the impossible. Why then, must the easy be so impossible?

Rose did not attempt a single free throw against the Rockets. This marks the first time — well, the first time where logged minutes — this has happened this season. There were questionable non-calls that Stacey King very much wanted us to acknowledge, but still: Rose took 28 shots to score 30. Life still isn’t easy for Derrick Rose. The magic shroud that he clings to on every jackknifing reverse layup will wear away eventually, and sooner rather than later if he keeps this up.

Rose’s dramatic tying three saves the day

So who said he can’t make the big one?

Derrick Rose continued to add pages to his scrapbook of thrills Saturday with a straight away 25 footer as the regulation buzzer was sounding to save the Bulls from a third consecutive defeat, and the Bulls led by Rose’s 30 points and Carlos Boozer’s 25 went on to survive the Houston Rockets, 119-116 in overtime in the United Center.

“I think that was the first time I’ve celebrated this whole year after I shot a shot,” a determined Rose said after utterly willing the Bulls to this shaky come from ahead victory. “It felt good knowing that I’m capable of knocking down shots like that.”

It was a crucial and clutch shot, no question, as the Bulls looked like they’d blown a 14-point second half lead after they had to rally from five behind with 36.5 seconds left in what then seemed like an ugly trip back to .500.

But Rose, who’d been especially forceful all game and even in the pregame huddle after introductions was demanding a big game from teammates, got a big boost from Boozer in his first big game as a Bull with two big offensive rebounds and scores which set up Rose’s dramatics. The Bulls also got a littler lucky as both Kyle Lowry and Brad Miller split a pair of free throws in the last 24 seconds before the Bulls got the ball back with 10.7 seconds left trailing 109-106.

Joakim Noah, who had 13 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks in dragging himself through just under 48 minutes of play, got stuck with the ball on the left wing at the three point circle looking for Rose. As the clock ticked down, the Bulls needed a three and the Houston play was to foul Noah hanging onto the ball with the Bulls experiencing still another miserable free throw shooting game and Noah one of two on the night.

“Derrick is definitely someone who wants the ball in pressure situations,” said Noah. “I think if I hadn’t given him the ball in that situation, he wouldn’t have talked to me for days.”

Sunday, December 5, 2010

AudiBull (Episode 5) Links / iTunes

Episode 5 is in the books, and the technical difficulties were minor compared to last week!

PredictaBULL (when Kmart and I predict the Bulls' record for the upcoming week) ...

Monday – OKC
Wednesday - @CLE
Friday – Lakers
Saturday – Twolves

Kmart: 2-2
Jim: 3-1

Listen here:

or download from iTunes

Friday, December 3, 2010

Bears v. Lions, Part Deux

Well, the bears have won 4 straight. Yep thats not a typo and pretty much could be classified as the hottest team in the NFC. Still not a typo. The get the banged up lions team this week and really this game shouldnt be close. But here is what to watch for anyway. Oh, and a shutout to Ryan Coe, who i hear is a big fan.

Key Matchups:
1. Chris Williams v. Ndamukong Suh - Suh has had a phenomenal rookie season and probably will be the defensive rookie of the year if not the overall rookie of the year. Williams is getting better at guard but still is pretty rough and doesnt handle the power rush from a DT very well. Well, I have to suspect that Suh will be lining up over Williams and trying to create havoc. If Williams can hang with Suh on his own that should mean big holes in the run game and a big day for Forte.
2. Megatron(Calvin Johnson) v. Bears corners. I mean Johnson is virtually unstoppable. He is pretty much a freak of nature and arguably the best WR in the NFL even though he has had journeymen QBs throwing to him most of his career. If the bears can just contain him in the redzone, it would be a victory for them. Also, did i mention he is pretty much the Lions only offensive weapon.

Keys for the Bears
1. Work the play action. If you remember back to week 1 of the season, the lions pass rush got to Cutler quite a bit and I dont want to see Jay get hit by Suh more than necessary. By working the play action, it can slow down the pass rush and give Cutler some more time in the pocket. Mostly, the bears have to worried about slowing the push up the middle of the Lions DTs and play action should make them worried about the run first.
2. Don't let up. So, this is a classic trap game for the bears. They have the Patriots next weekend and the Lions are 2-9. But, i think the Lions have played much better than their 2-9 record and will come out for blood after "the catch" in week 1. The bears have to withstand what the lions throw at them in the 1st quarter and then pull away before half. They cant come out flat. I dont think they will but it has be a concern for most fans.

Hero of the Day
Johnny Knox - Johnny has had some big games here in this 4 game winning but I think this week against a weak lions secondary he will have a break out game. Look for atleast a TD and 100+ yards.

Bears 31, Lions 13. The bears just keep getting better and better and look for the defense to join the scoring with their 2nd defensive TD of the year. There should be a lot of 3 and out from the lions and I expect this game to be over by halftime. Go Bear!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Click-a-BULL (Fear the Bulls; Boozer Calls Rose 'Amazing'; Boozer Returns)

Monday Musings: Start fearing the Bulls

It’s time to start fearing the Bulls.

It’s still highly unlikely that Chicago will get a No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference, since that would require (among other things) the Heat to continue to underperform and the Celtics to check out of the regular season … again. But don’t be surprised if the Bulls finish with 50-something wins, cruise to a division title and scare the heck out of one of the East’s preordained elite in May.

After all, they’re 9-6 and just finished their annual circus road trip with a winning record (4-3) for the first time since 1998. That 9-6 record isn’t spectacular on its own, but put it into context: The Bulls were 6-9 after their big road trip last season and bottomed out at 14-20 before righting themselves, falling apart again and sprinting to an 8-3 finish just to secure a .500 record and the last playoff seed. They were 8-9 after the trip two seasons ago and fell to 21-28 before getting hot, finishing at .500 and losing a seven-game classic to Boston in the first round.

This year’s Chicago team has managed to avoid the annual subpar start despite missing its second-best offensive player (Carlos Boozer) and despite playing what John Hollinger’s power rankings classifies as the league’s toughest schedule. And it is too talented and too well-coached to sink into a midseason funk as it did in each of the last two seasons.

Boozer: Rose is 'amazing'

In the midst of the endless questioning as to when Carlos Boozer will actually make his debut for the Bulls, the veteran power forward had some interesting things to share regarding Derrick Rose. No matter when Boozer returns to the floor, he knows whose team it is.

"It's definitely [Rose's] team," Boozer said. "He's proven that. He's earned that. Worked his butt off. You see how good he is, how great of a season he's had already. [It's] definitely his team."

After spending several months watching Rose every day, Boozer has a new appreciation for just how good the 22-year-old All Star is.

"He's amazing," Boozer said. "I'm really impressed. I knew he was good, and I played against him a couple times. We played against for like a week or two on the 2008 USA team. He was on the select team, the team that we practiced against for a week or two in Vegas. And I was really impressed with how he was playing against [Jason] Kidd, [Deron Williams] and Chris Paul. I knew he was really good, but then you see him every day in practice, you see him in games. The kid has a heart of a champion. He makes play after play after play."

Boozer to make Bulls debut on Wednesday

Chicago Bulls forward Carlos Boozer will make his season debut against the Orlando Magic on Wednesday night.

"I'm playing," Boozer said after pregame warm-ups.

ESPNChicago.com Bulls blog

Bulls blog The latest news from Bulls reporter Nick Friedell. Blog

Boozer broke his right pinkie on Oct. 2, and his first full day of contact at practice was Monday.

After the Bulls missed on free agents LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh this summer, they turned to Boozer, who signed a five-year deal that could be worth as much as $80 million.

Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau wanted to make sure the team's biggest acquisition wasn't rushed on the court too quickly, but he was anxious to put the former All-Star in the starting lineup.

The Bulls are coming off their first successful "Circus Trip" since the Michael Jordan era by going 4-3. Wednesday will be their first home game since the trip ended.

Bulls point guard Derrick Rose is excited to have Boozer in the lineup.


Be sure to check out "BBS AudiBULL" every week.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Impressed yet, Bears' Fans?

Count me in the impressed column. I'm not sure I have words to describe how impressed I am by the bears play yesterday. Although the game ended with the bears only winning by 5, the game really wasnt close in the 2nd half. Here's some thoughts and ramblings on the game.

The Good
1. JAY CUTLER. Well, he threw 4 tds. No picks or turnovers. and only had 1 "what the shit are you doing" pass. Plus he continued to move well in and out of the pocket and avoid the rush when possible. And i will count his great little shovel pass to Matt Forte, but only because it worked. This is probably the best game Jay has played as a bear really. He was 8 of 10 against the Eagles blitz and was so effective that they just stopped blitzing. Also, he hit his WRs in stride and made throws that only he is capable of making. Basically, he was a Franchise QB.
2. Matt "Big Play" Forte. Doesn't it just look like every hand off to Forte that he might break it for 20+ yards? Or is it just me being a homer cause he is on my fantasy team? Either way, Forte had a great game. He broke big runs and had over 100 yds against an Eagle defense that had not allowed a 100 yd rusher. If the bears continue to be able to run the ball, we see how the passing game opens up and the points get on the board.
3. Defensive Line. Give these guys the game ball. Vick is one of the best athletes in the NFL and was contained and harassed by the DL all day. The best sacked him 4 times on the day and had numerous more hits on Vick. Peppers had a great game and did anyone really think Idonije could be this good? He was almost unblockable yesterday. These guys won the game for the bears and made the defensive game plan of dropping into coverage possible.

The Bad
1. Chester Taylor - Maybe i'm being nit picky here but Chester hasnt looked good the last 2 games. He has 7 yards on 17 carries in the last 2 games and had -3 yards yesterday. Chester is still reliable in the passing game and a good blocker but I was expecting more explosion from him. He is more of a cut back runner than Forte and behind this line it may be hard to find daylight anywhere else than the designed hole. I know he is just the backup but the bears billed him as helping to create a 2 headed monster in the backfield. That just isnt the case right now.
2. Kick coverage. I could have picked Brandon Manumaleuna trying to juke a defensive back instead of just running over him (you're 300 lbs for pete's sake) or the offensive line completely blowing blitzes on a couple of plays. But, I was very disappointed in the special teams coverage. I know that the eagles have a good return team but the bears still gave up too many large returns and it hurt field position. Plus there was a penalty on a kickoff return which negated a big Danieal Manning return.

The Stunning
8-3. Thats the bears record and represents a tie for the 2nd best record in the NFC with the saints. The bears have beaten the eagles and packers who are right behind them in the NFC with 7-4 records. The bears have to be in the conversation for who is the best team in the NFC and have a legit shot at not only winning the division but also getting home field advantage in the playoffs. No one would have predicted this and lets just hope it keeps getting better. Up next week - the Lions.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

AudiBull (Episode 4) Links / iTunes

Kmart and I just wrapped up AudiBULL (Episode 4), and we ran into some technical difficulties at the end. We covered the past week of Bulls' action, but did not get a chance to make our predictions for the upcoming week.

Even though the Bulls finished the Circus Trip with a winning record, the schedule does not get any easier. This week: Orlando (Wednesday), then a back-to-back @ Boston then home against the Rockets (Friday and Saturday).

Despite a great start and winning record after the Circus Trip, I am predicting 1 win and 2 losses for the upcoming week, while Kmart says 2-1.

Here is the link to D-Rose breaking Tyreke Evans' ankles (that I referenced during episode 4).

Again, sorry about the technical difficulties, that is part of doing a live podcast. We'll try to have the issue sorted out by next week. Thanks for listening, here are the links:

Listen to internet radio with CraicBackLive on Blog Talk Radio

BBS AudiBULL (episode 4) on CraicBackLive or download from iTunes

Special thanks to Ryan (@ryeryeryecom) for the "AudiBull Theme Song". Follow Kmart (@kmartbbs) and me (@bullbearsock) on twitter!

Derrick Rose Breaks Tyreke Evans Ankles

The best part is hearing the Sac-Town crowd when it happens:

Also, be sure to check out "BBS AudiBULL" (Episode 4), today (11/28) at 4pm. You can listen live here, or check BBS later tonight for links to listen or download from iTunes.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Click-a-Bull (AudiBULL; Noah Intangibles; MJ / LBJ Mashup; Rose and Taj are Game-Time Decisions)

If you missed "BBS AudiBULL" from last week (11/21), here ya go: AudiBull (Podcast) Episode 3 (Links / iTunes). We should record Episode 4 on Sunday afternoon at about 4pm. You can listen live here, or check BBS Sunday night for links.

Also, you can check out all episodes of "BBS AudiBULL" and all of CraicBackLive's college football podcasts over on the sidebar ---->>

Intangibles key to Noah's impact on Bulls' success

There's no truth to the rumor that Joakim Noah bulked up for this season lifting his wallet. But there's no denying the floppy-haired (near) 7-footer entered his fourth pro season with a different physique.

Just look at him. He's thicker. He's chiseled.

Noah, 25, admitted there was some pressure to step up his game, and his approach to training, knowing this was a big offseason. As a member of the 2007 draft class, he was eligible to sign an extension before this season, so he hit the weight room as his people and Chicago's front office talked about the future.

Noah would be one of just five from that draft group -- joining Kevin Durant, Al Horford, Mike Conley, and Jared Dudley -- to sign an extension before the current CBA expires after this season. That Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf committed $60 million for five more years when they didn't have to shows the franchise's, well, commitment to Noah as a franchise pillar.

"It's not an ideal situation for them because of the [possible] lockout coming up," Noah said recently. "The reason he made me sign it was because he believed in me and he really liked me as a person. That meant a lot to me, hearing that from my boss."

And there were all those Carmelo Anthony rumors regarding Noah. Some league insiders questioned the logic of Chicago not willing to part with Noah in a deal for a top-five-caliber talent. The man at the center of the debate dealt with 'Melo speculation, especially as it heated up during September, and reiterated at every turn his desire to remain in the Windy City.

I hate to see MJ and LeBron mentioned together, but this is great:
Video: LeBron x Jordan commercial mashup

Bulls' Rose a gametime decision with neck spasms

Derrick Rose experienced neck spasms and is a gametime decision for Friday's matchup against the Nuggets.

Rose wore a heating pad as he sat in the visitors' locker room before the Bulls' morning shootaround and couldn't turn his neck as he tried to address reporters.

"It's real sore," Rose said. "It started a little before the (Phoenix) game. It's been stiff ever since. If it's up to me, I'll play. But right now, I have to turn my whole body to look a certain way."

Rose, who has missed only four games in his first two seasons, said he planned to get a massage Friday afternoon. He tried soaking the neck Thursday night but that didn't help.

"I've been getting treatment but it hasn't gotten loose yet," Rose said. "I went to the team party (on Thursday) for a little bit, but I left because my neck got more irritated."

Coach Tom Thibodeau said C.J. Watson would start if Rose can't play

Monday, November 22, 2010

AudiBull (Podcast) Episode 3 (Links / iTunes)

Since I have been slacking a bit on posting (other than Click-a-Bull links), DC has been providing some great thoughts on the Bulls' run through Texas.

Kmart once again lead the discussion on BBS AudiBULL, and episode 3 was our best effort yet. You can listen here (click "BBS: AudiBULL, Episode 3"):

Listen to internet radio with CraicBackLive on Blog Talk Radio

Or use these links:



Bulls jump above some south Florida team in the ESPN Power Rankings

Bulls took a (deserved) big jump from 12 to 7 in this week's ESPN Power Rankings. After a, 3rd quarter in San Antonio notwithstanding, very impressive start to the dreaded "Circus Trip" I am not surprised by this at all. If they can beat the Lakers tomorrow night in LA I think it would cement them as a top 5 team in the league right now...and even better when Boozer comes back. Here's the blurb they received in the power rankings:
When Boozer comes back to join the long and rangy Noah and Gibson -- and especially if D-Rose starts getting to the line more than 5.5 times per game like he deserves-- these guys can challenge in the East. This season
I love this statement about Derrick Rose's lack of ref respect. I try not to complain about the refs too much (but it is the NBA and the refs are largely atrocious on a nightly basis...looking at you, Mr. Crawford) but it is getting laughable the lack of respect that Derrick Rose receives from the zebras on drives in the lane.

If you compare the fouls called on the Bulls against the Spurs (many which turned into and-1s) and the no calls Rose couldn't get it's just ridiculous. Touch fouls called for Parker/Hill/Ginobili...Rose drawing significant contact and nothing. (Note: not saying that is why the Bulls lost, they played brutally in the 3rd Q...but it was an obvious trend)

Rose not getting to the line isn't new...Exhibit A and Exhibit B. But it's certainly getting old. I'm not asking for the "superstar" calls that many big names get undeservedly...I just want the legit calls to be made.


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Click-a-Bull (BBS; Bulls' Fight; CJ Watson; Rankings; Looks Legit)

Slow week here at BBS because I recently started a new (temporary) job. Thanks to Pete for his Bears preview, and DC for some thoughts on the Bulls this past week, BBS hasn't been totally silent. SPeaking of not totally silent, KMart and I have tentatively scheduled a "BBS AUdiBULL" episode for [Monday, November 22, 8:30pm]. Listen here.

Bulls enjoy their fight on big trip

Thibodeau's players make mistakes, but they make up for it with toughness

Although no one would say it publicly, the Bulls' main goal through the grueling November and early December schedule was simply to avoid getting buried.

With Carlos Boozer (broken hand) out and a slew of tough road games, that sentiment was understandable.

But the Bulls (7-4) are doing more than surviving, and that affords the team the luxury of letting Boozer fully heal before he's activated.

With an 88-83 victory Friday over the Dallas Mavericks, the Bulls have won two of the first three games on the seven-game road trip -- already qualifying it as one of the best circus trips in the last 12 years.

The amazing thing about the Bulls' record is they're experiencing many of the predicted early-season problems. They've been inconsistent and at times look like a team with a rookie coach working in eight new players.

But, somehow, they keep winning games. The Bulls may have a few shortcomings, but mental toughness isn't one of them.

''There's a lot of fight in this team,'' coach Tom Thibodeau said. ''If we get down, we'll keep working the game. The thing that I like is the guys bounce back.''

That's precisely what they had to do to win in Dallas. The Bulls were up by four at halftime, but the Mavs opened the second half with a 20-4 run for a 55-43 lead.

C.J. Watson making the adjustment

Sure, it’s fun being part of the band. But when they hit a bad note, it’s never the lead singers who get the blame.

And so it’s been for several of the Bulls reserves players, mostly shooting guards Keith Bogans and Ronnie Brewer and point guard C.J. Watson, who hear the rumbles, that the team needs to replace them, needs a high quality starting shooting guard, a better backup point to relieve Derrick Rose.

No, it’s not something they hear from their teammates or their coach as the reserves were vital Friday in the 88-83 upset win in Dallas, and coach Tom Thibodeau routinely has said he has confidence in the bench and never is afraid to use them.

But Watson, perhaps more than anyone, has heard the whispers, sometimes louder than other times that the team needs to find someone else.

“You hear it all the time,” acknowledges Watson, particularly quiet and polite among the Bulls players. “It’s part of life. It doesn’t bother me.”

I’ll add my opinion that it bothers everyone when they are serious about their job, as I’ve seen Watson to be. But it’s what you say, especially when you are young and can be hurt more by it.

“It goes on everywhere if you’re playing basketball,” Watson was saying quietly the other day. “They say that about others.”

Mark Heisler's NBA rankings

Lakers jump back into top spot; Thunder on the move

8. BULLS 7-4 (14): Most underrated Trojan Taj Gibson now most underrated power forward.

This Bulls team looks legit

When the news of Carlos Boozer's injury hit, I think most Bulls fans, including myself, went into survival mode. Just make it through the first month of the season and hang around hoping that Boozer's reinsertion into the offense would help the team play up to their potential.

The reality is that the Bulls are 7-4 right now, which despite the small sample size, is on pace to win 52 games this season. On top of that, the Bulls have already played some of the really tough games on the schedule.

When the season started, I figured this was probably a 41-43 team without Carlos Boozer on it. We lack a secondary offensive creator, ball handling outside of Derrick Rose, and I thought our front court would struggle. I also wasn't convinced the Bulls would shoot well enough from the perimeter.

Rose's brilliance and everyone's hard play would keep them at the water line, but not allow them to go much above it until Boozer came back.

The results have proven much better though.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Bears v. Fins - Can Urlacher finally win in Miami?

Well a short week for the bears and it couldnt come as a worse time for the dolphins. They lost 2 starting QBs to injury last week and it appears they will be playing with Tyler Thigpen, their #3 QB this week. Also, Urlacher has never won a game in Miami including the '05 Superbowl game. It goes without saying the that Bears need to keep winning games but especially this game as it is shaping up as the most winnable game on the bears 2nd half schedule.

Key Matchups:
1. Bears LBs v. Wildcat - Like I said above the dolphins have some problems at QB, although Thigpen has proven to be a decent QB, so the bears will be seeing a lot of the wildcat. The key will be for the bears LBs to make the correct reads. The LBs have to try and delay their breaks on the ball for as long as possible to confuse whoever is running the wildcat option. If the LBs are too apparent with their breaks, the person running the wildcat has an easy read on the defense and choose the best run from the wildcat. The dolphins' game plan is pound the ball anyway and they will only do it more this week.
2. Omiyale v. Cameron Wake. Omiyale has actually played pretty well as a LT but has had some problems with speed rushers. Wake has been one of the surprises of the NFL season. He is a 2nd year undrafted free agent and has 8.5 sacks. He is thriving in Miami's system as playing the rush LB position. If Frank can control him somewhat Culter should have time to thow because the dolphins dont have a pass rushing threat besides Wake.

Keys for the Bears:
1. Pound the ball. Yes the bears werent that effective with the run against the vikings but their commitment to the run had a huge impact on the game. They had over 35 mins in time of possession and Cutler was 7 for 7 on play action throws. The dolphins try to make it a grinding game so the bears are gonna have to control the clock and keep running the ball.
2. Defensive Penetration. The one thing that can kill the wildcat is penetration by the defensive line. It can disrupt the play before it even starts and can frustrate the motion and confusion the wildcat is trying to create. Pressure this week is probably more important in the run game than it is on passing downs.
3. Field position. The dolphins play tight games and try to grind it out. They are a field position team just like the bears. This game will be about defense and special teams both phases where both teams excel. The bears need to win the field position battle in order to score some points and win this game.

Hero of the Day:
Matt Forte. I think the bears are gonna run the ball a good amount and i really look for screens and flat passes to Forte to try and control the clock. Also, look for Martz to call the wheel route for him a couple times out of the backfield because against the dolphins 3-4, it will probably get him matched up against a LB which should be a recipe for a big play. I'm looking for some big plays out of him and think he will get them in the pass or run game.

I've said above this game is not gonna be pretty. In fact, I think the # of punts could be greater than the teams final scores. With that said, the bears strength on defense and special teams and the dolphins injuries at QB should add up to a win for DA BEAR. This is probably the easiest game the bears have left and 7-3 would look pretty awesome. Go Bear!
Bears 17-Dolphins 13

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Oh my god, is that DC's music?

I'm back and apparently still have posting rights. It's been awhile. Going to try and post more now that the weather is turning and I'll be sitting on my couch more than usual.


Last night's Rockets game reminded me how much I miss having Brad Miller's slow pump fake in our offensive arsenal. I even named my fantasy team Brad Miller's Pump Fake this year...not that anyone gives a shit about my fantasy team.

Anyways it was good to see Miller again and seeing that he was still up to his old tricks. Especially the "trailing the break, top-of-the-key jumper". Shouldn't anyone who hits that shot have to mail Rasheed Wallace $5 every time it works? I feel like he has a patent on that. Ran across this link this morning, it's hilarious and true: The Brad Miller Offensive Playbook

Quick thoughts from the first game of the circus trip:

- Rose is playing himself into MVP contention...he was right before the season, why shouldn't he be the MVP? Was absolutely unstoppable when he came back in the 4th. He would have topped 40 pts and a new career high were if not for the foul trouble (hey thibs, let's not use our best player for a needless foul before halftime in the future....mmmkay? great.)

- OMER COMIN'! Omer Asik is earning (and rightfully so) Thib's confidence on the court. He's getting the fouling a bit under control and he is becoming a presence off the bench. As Blogabull pointed out after the game last night: "Nearly 18 minutes for Asik tonight, and he's looking like a second-round steal."

- Bulls shot better from 3 than from the stripe. This is a trend that can't continue. This game could have been locked up with 4 minutes to go if they had shot better from the line. They hit some down the stretch when they needed them, so it's not all bad...but still should be better.

- That's the Ronnie Brewer we signed. For the first time all season he looked comfortable on both ends of the court. I love his defense and I LOVE how he floats along the baseline on offense....that should lead to lots of easy buckets off of Rose drives and when the D collapses on Noah and, soon, Boozer in the post. Good to see him have a nice game...should be a confidence builder.

Up next, San Antonio's ageless wonders. Not a team you want to play on the tail end of a back-to-back. A very well organized, veteran team that knows how to win. Will be a great test for this young and still Boozer-less Bulls team.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

AudiBull (Podcast) Episode 2

Episode 2 is complete, and I am still hungover. Thanks to Kmart for doing most of the work this week, as I really struggled through this podcast. This episode covers the Bulls' 3 wins this week (Warriors, Wizards) and the upcoming circus trip.

Listen here:

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Or use these links:



Friday, November 12, 2010

Bears v. Vikes - Game that defines a year?

Bear-Vikings -- where fans root for their teams to win and also root for their teams to fire the coaches. - Sam Rosen, chicago tribune, 11/10/10

I couldnt put this game in any better words. But all joking aside this game is could be season determining for both teams. As of right now the bears are 2-0 within the division and if they win 3-0 would give them the upper hand on winning the division. The vikes are 3-5 overall and 1-1 in the division and if they lose to the bears you can almost write them off in the division and for any chance at a wildcard because you are gonna have to go atleast 9-7 to get a wildcard berth. So, lets everyone get excited for this game.

Key Matchups
1. Kruetz v. Williams Mountains - Every bears fan know that the Williams DTs kill the bears. The questions is can the bears block them well enough to have some semblance of the running game and to give Culter a pocket to step up into? It will be up to Kruetz and the guards to take care of these guys and drive this offense.
2. Favre v. Tillman & Jennings - The bears have been playing a lot of cover 2 and zone this year because they have had the opponents in 3rd and longs a ton. The zone is good because it lets the defensive players play an area and keep looking into the backfield. This lets the defense see where the ball is going and drive on the play. However, this weekend the king of the pump fake, Favre is in the backfield. The bears have to play disciplined coverage and not try to jump every route or pump fake which is hard for a defense that is so focused on getting turnovers. Otherwise, they could be beat deep a lot.
3. Adrian Peterson's hands - The bears have caused 8 fumbles on defense this year. Peterson has fumbled zero times this year. He has however fumbled 3 times in the last 2 games versus the bears. If the bears can get the ball to pop out, they should win the turnover battle and then likely the game.

Keys for the Bears
1. Unleash Jay. Yep, this is exactly what I have pretty much have been adovacating the past couple of weeks. But realistically, the bears dont have a good running game and its incredibly hard to run against the vikes. But, they can be had in the pass game. Some playaction and deep balls should available for the bears. I say this is the week to really see if Martz's offense can work. It may be a gamble but realistically the bears are going to need an explosive offense in the 2nd half to make the playoffs.
2. Contain AP. I'm not sure you can really stop the "Purple Jesus" as some call him. But you can make him work hard and contain him. He has historically had big games against the bears but if you keep him to 4 yds per carry and no big runs, it should be considered a win for the bears defense.
3. Maximize your weapons. Its simple on offense. Put your guys in the position to do what they do best. That means look for Greg Olsen to stretch the defense down the seam and in the redzone. Throw a couple deep balls to Johnny Knox to loosen up the defense and see if he can break one. Get Hester the ball out in space and see if he can run past people. And use Forte and Taylor out of the backfield to create mismatches. By now, Martz should have figured out what his guys to best and now he needs to show us he can use them in that way.

Hero for the Day
I could be a total homer and pick Matt Forte cause I just traded for him in my fantasy league but instead I will say Greg Olsen. I think he got back on track last week and I look for at least 1 td and a couple deep balls down the middle to him. Time for him to show that he can be an impact TE in this league.

I think this will be too close for comfort at halftime with the bears possibly even losing. The vikes know they have to win this game and they will come out swinging. But, i think the bears are the better TEAM right now and will come out ahead.
Bears 24, Vikes 21

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Click-a-Bull (AudiBull; Rose Commercial; Bulls/Heat; Bulls Beat Nuggets; Bill Walton/Maurice Lucas)

AudiBull (Podcast) Episode 1 Links / iTunes

Also, it's looking like "BBS: AudiBull, Episode 2" will be airing Sunday at 4pm. Be sure to tune in at CraicBackLive (and check out there other shows (about college football / NFL).

TBJ: Video: Bulls turn their Heat on

Bulls frontcourt dictates game, Melo more than 'Meh'lo but Bulls come back in 4th

Great win for the Bulls Monday night. Banking any before the circus trip is big, but especially against a quality opponent like the Nuggets.

Several swings throughout the game, but this time the 2nd quarter was not only not abysmal (and Scal didn't play at all!), but the Bulls actually won it. And the second half saw the Bulls lose and gain back the lead based on whether Carmelo Anthony was on the floor or not.

And in a close contest in the 4th, when the Nuggets tried to go small, they learned the tough yet should-be-obvious lesson: you cannot go small against Joakim Noah. He's too quick himself for you to use speed to an advantage, and then his power can overwhelm a poor (really poor) man's pseudo-center in Al Harrington. In one sequence Noah blocked Harrington's shot, and then on the other end he was able to get an offensive rebound (one of his 19 total rebounds on the night) and draw a foul. I'm guessing that George Karl had a minutes cap on Nene which was why he felt forced to go this route, but it bode well for the Bulls chances down the stretch, between Noah's dominance and Rose always being a threat late, even if he had a poor shooting night overall. Rose hit some huge baskets and the Bulls were able to keep the lead for good.

Liked how the Bulls were very willing to run, especially off turnovers, and while it forced some TOs of their own it was an exciting watch, and seemingly good for Rose to get used to.

Not technically Bulls' related, but worth reading:

The Greatest Trailblazer Ever Maurice Lucas, 1952-2010

What do we do now ???

What can you say ???

Now that he’s gone and you realize that nothing’s going to bring him back.

Where do we go from here ???

Maurice Lucas was a proud, fierce and independent man. He lived in a world that did not encourage or value his greatest traits and strengths.

The nicest thing that can ever be said of someone is that they make other people better. No one ever made me better than Big Luke.

He was simply better than perfect on all fronts.

Big Luke was a towering, statuesque pillar of supreme principle where loyalty, commitment and leadership were a way of life---not just words of convenience.
Loyalty—the human attribute that enables people to achieve extraordinary things because we care. Maurice cared—about everything. He cared about right and wrong. He cared about truth and justice. He cared about his family, friends and teammates. And he was always willing to do something about it.

Commitment—the willingness and persistence to stick to what matters most. Maurice was ever so determined to make things come out right; he would do, and ultimately did, anything to ensure our success---at every turn.

Leadership---the ability to do what others can’t, or won’t do, themselves--- by pulling the team together, by defining the terms of the conflict, by leading the relentless offensive attack and by hitting first.

Maurice and I became teammates more than 36 years ago---the summer of 1976. It was in Portland, Oregon, for an NBA expansion franchise that had never done anything.

In our first meeting he told me we were going to win the NBA Championship—that season. He was right. He was always right.

In our very first game together, an NBA exhibition game in Portland against the Lakers of Kareem, Lucius Allen, Don Chaney, Kermit Washington and Coach Jerry West, with the game and everything else on the line--- the ball, our dreams and chances were rolling towards the out of bounds corner on the way to the Blazer locker room. With the clock ticking down, Maurice fought his way through countlessplayers—from both sides. After shaking everybody off and now with ball in hand and in complete control but with scant time to close the deal, Maurice drove the ball straight to the rim along the right baseline. The mighty Kareem came over to deny Maurice. They both rose higher than humanly possible and Kareem had all visible angles covered perfectly. But somehow, someway Maurice was able to contort his body around Kareem, glide under the basket and surface on the far side while still ascending. Big Luke threw down the most incredible reverse slam dunk right in Kareem’s face for the game winner at the buzzer. Maurice flung both arms and clenched fists in the air in the classic Muhammad Ali victory pose. And things were never the same again.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Week 9 Bears Review

The bears beat the bills. It wasnt an exciting game. It was close the whole way and the bears managed to pull it out in the end. However, there were some very encouraging signs from the bears. Sidenote: Lovie's teams still arent noticeable better coming off a bye.

The Good:
1. The offensive line - Yep, this is probably the first time of the season the O-line was a positive. Look this group will never be great. Heck, they might not even be good but they can become a serviceable or average offensive line. Thats pretty much what they were which was a huge improvement from what they have been. They only let up 1 sack and wore down the bills defense in the 2nd half. Hopefully, this is a sign of things to come.
2. Jay Cutler's feet. Cutler had a great day of movement. Not just his scrambling ability on which he picked up 2 first downs was impressive but the way he moved around in the pocket. He rolled both ways and moved in the pocket effectively to avoid pressure. He looked like a quarterback who was comfortable in the pocket and in the offense.
3. Tim Jennings. I'm not sure enough can be said about his play at corner this year. Not only did he make a great inception but the guy constantly sticks his nose in run support and did pretty well in coverage. He gets his hands in on a lot of throws and likes to hit guys. About all you can ask for in a corner in Lovie's defense.

The Bad
1. As good as Jennings has been this year, (and it pains me to say this) Peanut Tillman has been almost as bad. I love Peanut and he has a unique ability to punch the ball out (most forced fumbles in the in last decade) but he probably shouldnt be a starting corner. He has lost a step and Bills WR Steve Johnson had a career day mostly matched up against Tillman. I'm not sure the bears have a better option at corner with zack bowman injured but I think very soon Tillman should be moved to free safety or nickelback to make this defense better.
2. The DTs. One of my keys to this game was Peppers so I specifically watched the D-line most of the game. Peppers and Idonije were being chipped or double teamed most of the game which would have left the bears DTs 1 on 1 against O-linemen. Sadly, the DTs didnt make many plays and got almost no pressure up the middle. They have been stout against the run but they havent gotten penetration either in the run or pass game. Tommie Harris is a ghost of DT and Adams and Toeneia are solid players but with Harrison not dressing there isnt a whole lot of talent at DT and it shows.

The Encouraging:
1. Martz, I want to shake your hand cause that was a great game plan. You ran the ball 25 times and called passing plays that allowed your QB to make quick decisions. You also called roll outs and got the ball to your best playmakers. Olsen was targeted 8 times and caught a TD. Taylor was used near the goalline and ran one in. I hope this type of game planning continues because in the weather of december at soldier's field this will win us games.
2. Earl Bennett. For me, there is no question who the bears's best WR is. Mr. Bennett. He runs good routes, is always wear he needs to be (runs past the first down marker on 3rd down) and catches everything. He keeps improving and is the type of WR that Martz's offense needs. Look for better and better things from Earl.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

AudiBull (Podcast) Episode 1 Links / iTunes

For those that haven't heard, BBS recently partnered up with CraicBackLive (at BlogTalkRadio) to create a podcast. CraicBackLive is a regular live podcast about ND and college football, but they have opened their doors (mics?) to Kmart and I so that we can offer a podcast about our beloved Chicago Bulls.

First, we want to thanks CraicBackLive, and recommend that everyone check out their college football podcast on a regular basis.

Second, Kmart and I made our first attempt at a podcast today. It was a lot of fun, but we have some work to do to make it better. We apologize for any technical/sound difficulties, and will try to work these things out as we go. We are grateful for the opportunity from CraicBackLive, and would appreciate any feedback/comments/suggestions from any listeners. As I said, this was our first attempt, and we would love any information to make this better as we go forward.

Here are the links for "AudiBull: Episode 1":

Our host: CraicBackLive

Kmart and I discussing the Bulls' season thus far:
AudiBull: Episode 1

iTunes AudiBull Episode 1

Special thanks to Ryan (@ryeryeryecom) for the "AudiBull Theme Song". Follow Kmart (@kmartbbs) and me (@bullbearsock) on twitter!