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Archive for August, 2007

Mr. Briggs Goes To Traffic Court?

Posted by sportsmaven on August 30, 2007

Chicago Bears linebacker Lance Briggs sure knows how to keep things interesting.  He is perhaps the one person that could give Rex Grossman a breather in the press.  As usual, Mr. Briggs comes through again in the clutch, providing fans the oppotunity for yet another swirling dervish of entertainment straight from the Britney Spears/Lindsay Lohan School of Driving and Public Controversy.

Lance Briggs Gets Franchised by BearsBriggs Lamborghini

Monday morning, 3am, Jet Black 2007 Lamborghini Murcielago valued at $350,000 on the Edens Expressway.  What a recipe for disaster.  Not sure what that Lamborghini did on Monday morning, but I cam imagine based on the skid marks on the scene and the condition of that fat sports car.  While i’m not ready to brand Mr. Briggs as the second coming of Tank Johnson, I can assure you that almost nothing good happens at 3am.

Mr. Briggs, you are one lucky sucker, walking away from that wreck.  I am reminded about the Deion Sanders story about when he played for the Dallas Cowboys, he tried to kill himself by driving off a highway overpass.  His car miraculously landed on all 4 tires with not so much a scratch on his body.  That’s when he found God and changed his life for the good.  Now i’m not expecting Lance Briggs to go Christian on us before our eyes, but if this incident vaults him into another 160 tackles, 4 INT’s and 4 sacks, a Pro Bowl and a Super Bowl victory, then lets call it a wash.

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Chicago Cubs Pull One Out Of The Fire

Posted by sportsmaven on August 21, 2007

The Kid was dealing it tonight.  I said that to myself after every missed swing and strikeout.  Down and hard with nasty movement.  Giants P Tim Lincecum was bringing the heat and was virtually un-hittable tonight, shutting out the Chicago Cubs on 3 hits through 8 innings.  Then came the 9th inning, the three hardest outs in baseball.  Lincecum deserved better tonight, but he got hit in the 9th, hit by Ryan Theriot, Jacque Jones, and Derrek Lee.  By the time Cliff Floyd and Jason Kendall were through, the Cubs were on their way to a 5-1 victory and Lincecum was hung with a loss.  By the way, is it just me or does Lincecum look like the long lost twin of Ferris’s best friend, Cameron Frye from the movie Ferris Buehler’s Day Off?  Talk about pulling one out tonight, the bats looked dead, Cubs P Jason Marquis looked like a hard luck pitcher.  Marquis threw a wonderful game, escaping time and time again from the 5 walks he issued.

Cubs Pull One Out Of The Fire

(AP Photo/Ben Margot)
With the St. Louis Cardinals winning earlier tonight against the Florida Marlins and the Milwaukee Brewers taking it to Arizona Diamondbacks, the Cubs needed this win badly and came through in the clutch.  Wins are at a premium now, with less than 40 games left in the season, the Cubs are finding ways to win.  With OF Alfonso Soriano set to return in the next two weeks, the Cubs surely have another good run in them with their envisioned lineup intact.  Tomorrow’s matchup is a dandy, with Cubs LHP Rich Hill facing Giants LHP Barry Zito….stay tuned for more magic…….

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Super Bowl XLI Rematch? Hardly…

Posted by sportsmaven on August 20, 2007

For those thinking that tonight’s Chicago Bears Indianapolis Colts pre-season game on Monday Night Football is any kind of a rematch of Super Bowl XLI, I have news for you…..it’s not.  It’s just a pre-season game, nothing more.   Thankfully, I haven’t noticed any marketing that suggests otherwise (although I wouldn’t put it past anyone trying to hype a pre-season game in a pre-season that is at least two games too long).

Chicago Bears

(AP Photo/Dave Einsel)

For the Bears, this is a start of a new season, a season filled with as much promise as last season, maybe even more.  The Bears offense may not surprise as it did last season, although it could be remarkable improved with the addition of TE Greg Olsen and another year of experience under the belt of QB Rex Grossman.   This Bears team, at least on paper, looks to be even better than last season’s Super Bowl team.  The true test of the Bears season begins in San Diego on September 9th against a Chargers team that is a Super Bowl favorite.  Then the Kansas City Chiefs and Dallas Cowboys hit town in back to back weeks and finally for the month of September, the Detroit Lions.  This is what will define the Bears season.  Championships are not won in September, but they certainly can be lost and 3-1 is what is expected in this stretch of the season.

Memo to Chicago Bears fans for tonight:  Super Bowl XLI was last year’s news, Super Bowl XLII is this year’s goal.  If the Bears play to their potential, they are there.  If not, nothing but disappointment and unfulfilled potential.

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Rainy Days and Mondays

Posted by sportsmaven on August 20, 2007

Carlos Zambrano made his first start after signing the 6 year $91.5 million contract last night and he looked like an entirely different pitcher.  I suppose $91.5 million would make most anyone a diferent person, but Carlos looked like the Carlos since the Michael Barrett fight — well at least for 3 innings anyway.  The 2007 version of the Chicago Cubs may go down in history as the team to break the curse, the best team that money can buy, or the biggest bust in baseball history (that’s what close to $400 million dollars in salary will buy you).

Carlos Zambrano Signs New Contract

(AP Photo/Jerry Lai)

That’s what makes last night’s rain postponed game and today’s afternoon game against the St. Louis Cardinals even more important in the here and now, take one moment, one game, one series at a time approach that Lou Piniella and his Chicago Cubs ballclub have adopted in their drive to the top of the NL Central standingsMomentum is a mysterious, sometimes fleeting force, often times, escaping at the times when it is needed the most.  The Cubs harnessed momentum on their side wth the Zambrano signing on the heels of the latest most important series of the season.  While Mother Nature lovely buckets have overflowed with much needed rain (at least for me and my newly sodded back yard), she hasn’t been so kind as of late, making the Cubs earn back that lost momentum gained at the outset of this series.  Whether the Zambrano signing/Cardinals series was an intentional marketing or motivation ploy, or just purely coincidental it seems to have worked.  Now if only Mother Nature, Ted Lilly, and the baseball gods would cooperate…..

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Chicago Bears Find An Offense?

Posted by sportsmaven on August 14, 2007

Was it just me, or did the Chicago Bears bring out a semblance of an offense to their pre-season opener against the Houston Texans?  Bears QB Rex Grossman completed his first 8 passes and finished his night with an 8-10, 50 yard performance.  That’s right, an 80% completion rate.  My post from August 6th listed 5 things that the Bears must do to succeed in 2007:

1. Offense has to make another leap in performance — The surprise of last season’s team was definitely the performance of the offense. Nobody on the planet thought the Bears would be #2 in the NFL in scoring nor that Rex Grossman would throw 20 TD passes and over 3000 yards passing. For the Bears to jump to the next level, Grossman must improve his completion rate. Last season, he was at 54.6%. This season, he has to eclipse 60% and limit his interceptions from 20 to single digits.

Rex Grossman Leads Chicago Bears over Houston Texans
(AP Photo/Dave Einsel)

Grossman has looked sharp in training camp and looked sharp on Saturday night in Houston.  He checked down when his primary receivers were covered and did that well.  Rex actually looked like a quarterback on Saturday night.  The running game, led by Cedric Benson dished out some hits, but showed a sever drop off when Benson was replaced by Adrian Peterson and Garrett Wolfe.

The Bears defense looked dominant, stopping the run, the pass, basically anything that got in front of them.  I thought that the Bears special teams needed quite a bit of work, especially on the kick coverage teams.

Could the Bears actually lead the league in scoring this season?  What a thought that would be….

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