by Peter Bobrinskoy
On November 21, 2016 at 1:37 pm, Chicago Tribune Bears Reporter Brad Biggs tweeted out that Jay Cutler had suffered a possible season ending shoulder injury. Many Bears fans asked if that meant the Giants loss was the last game Jay Cutler will ever play in a Bears uniform again.
Eight years ago when Jay Cutler was traded to the Bears from the Denver Broncos, Chicago thought that it was cured from being a quarterback-starved franchise. However, here we are in 2016 with only one playoff win, three head coaches, three general managers, and six offensive coordinators in that time. Throughout these eight years, there have been many critics, excuses, praise, and hatred for Jay Cutler. The excuses started that he didn’t have good enough receivers, then it was that his offensive line was not good enough, then it was that his offensive coordinator wasn’t efficient enough. However then 2014 happened and all of the excuses were out. Prior to that season, people believed the 2014 Bears had everything it needed to be one of the best offenses in football. Alshon Jeffrey, Brandon Marshall, Martellus Bennet, Matt Forte, an above average offensive line, there were no more excuses. It was time for Jay Cutler to finally step to the plate and take the Bears to the playoffs… The Bears won five games that year and Marc Trestman and Phil Emery were fired at the end of the season and Brandon Marshall was traded.
Since then Cutler has been highly criticized and Bears fans have felt that they have had enough of Cutler and want him gone.
Here’s the problem though. Is that if you get rid of Cutler at the end of this season, it will not make a difference to the Bears franchise. The source of the problem for the Bears lack of success the past ten years goes way beyond Cutler. Jay Cutler is not a great quarterback (there I said it). However he is just a small source of the problem. The problem lies with George McCaskey and the horrendous management in the Bears front office. See it doesn’t matter if the Bears get rid of Cutler because as long as George McCaskey keeps hiring terrible General Managers like Phil Emery and Ryan Pace, the Bears will continue to be the irrelevant franchise that they are. The Bears biggest problem is that their general managers are always way too involved in free agency, do not try to gain compensation draft picks, trade up in the draft far too much, rarely trade back in the draft in order to receive more picks, and their lack of player development.
Until Ryan Pace or whoever the next Bears General Manager is learns to stop investing so much in other teams’ free agents and learns what it takes to be successful with the NFL draft, it will not matter who the Bears quarterback is. Yes, Jay Cutler’s performance has not been where it needs to be but he is not the biggest source of the problem. Bears fans, stop putting all of the blame on the quarterback and start holding ownership and management accountable.
by Peter Bobrinskoy
The Chicago Bears are currently 2-8 and one of the worst teams in the NFL. This team has so many injuries that their IR is one of the highest in the league. The Bears are going nowhere this season and every game is tough to watch. This team isn’t getting blown out as much as it would seem but are losing close games where they can not get over the hump.
During this losing season, it seems that there is a somewhat common thinking among Bears fans. A lot of fans want this team to lose in order to get a high draft pick. During the Giants game this past Sunday when the Bears had a 10-point lead, my friend who I was watching the game with thought out loud, “Why are they winning right now? What good is this doing?” His thinking was that if this team isn’t competing for a playoff spot, that fans should want them to lose every single game. Win two games a year and the draft the golden boy quarterback with the #1 pick who is going to change the franchise.
This thinking is wrong. It’s just wrong. Tanking in the NFL does not exist. One player does not change a franchise. The people who think, “If only we had a good quarterback, we would be so much better” do not know the NFL well. Good teams in the NFL do not “just get a good quarterback”. Most teams in the NFL who are at the bottom and draft with top 5 picks more often stay bad than get better. In the NBA it is very different. One player can change a franchise in the NBA because it’s only five people playing. In a game where one has 22 different starters, one player can not.
For a team to be good in the NFL, they must have a stable and competent front office and a great coaching staff. And if they have one of the highest picks in the NFL draft, then it shows that they do not have that. The Jacksonville Jaguars and Cleveland Browns have had top 10 draft picks every year for the last decade and they have both been terrible despite those high picks. Having a high draft pick does not turn your NFL team around. A great general manager and head coach do.
Now the rebuttal to his argument is the Indianapolis Colts. The Indianapolis Colts had the Number 1 pick in the 1998 draft and the 2012 draft where they picked Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck. Those are two great quarterbacks who transformed the Colts franchise. However, look at the most consistent teams in the NFL today. The New England Patriots, the Baltimore Ravens, the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Green Bay Packers, and the Seattle Seahawks. None of them drafted at the high end of the draft to become the juggernauts that they are. And all of those teams have franchise quarterbacks in Tom Brady, Joe Flacco, Ben Rothlisberger, Aaron Rodgers, and Russell Wilson. People need to understand that if the Bears, or the Jets, or the Jaguars drafted Tom Brady in 2000 or Aaron Rodgers in 2005, those players would have been just another guy. That hypothetically, if Jay Cutler was drafted by the Packers, a stable and efficient franchise, while Aaron Rodgers was drafted by the Bears, a terrible drafting franchise that does not do well at developing players, it is completely conceivable that their careers would have switched. It’s possible that Jay Cutler would have gone on to be successful while Aaron Rodgers would have been the bust.
One pick does not make or break a team. Years of good drafting in rounds 1 through 7 do. The New York Jets have had for the most part a top 10 draft pick every year for the past 15 years while their rival the New England Patriots pick at the end of every round. And if one compares the draft history of the Patriots to the Jets for the last 15 years, the Patriots blow the Jets out of the water despite drafting later. Good front offices and good coaching staffs are what leads successful NFL teams. Not high draft picks.
By Patrick Codo
The Southern Illinois Saluki football ended their season by taking down the 23 ranked Western Illinois Leathernecks 44-34 on Senior day. The Salukis had a decent 14-3 lead but 4 killer turnovers resulted in 28 points for the Leathernecks as they took a 31-14 lead into halftime. Then in the second half Southern Illinois went on an amazing 30-3 run to pull off a big win but not just only for the seniors, but also to knock Western Illinois out of the playoffs.
Nick Hill was so happy after the game, here were some of his thought especially for the senior class. Coach Hill stated, “we’ve talked a lot about legacy and what these seniors legacies are,” Hill said. “What their legacy is going to be is a group of guys that bought into the culture of what we’re trying to do here and came to work every single day. Down the stretch, even down 17 in their last game, they found a way to will it and flip the momentum back and get a huge win.” This win marked the biggest comeback since Nick Hill was the quarterback at Southern Illinois and led the Salukis to a 34-31 victory over the Huskies of Northern Illinois.
If you are playing against Western Illinois you cannot sleep on the triple threat of Sean McGuire, Lance Lenoir, and Steve McShane. McGuire completed 21 passes out of 37 pass attempts 337 yards and 3 touchdowns and all those touchdowns came in the second quarter. McQuire threw for two touchdowns, one to Lance Lenoir and he ran one in. However in the 4th quarter the Leatherneck defense gave 172 passing yards and 3 touchdowns. The last touchdown came after McGuire threw an interception and the defense gave up a 54 yard touchdown run. That loss for Western Illinois ended their playoff hopes.
By Patrick Codo
The Southern Illinois men’s basketball team was able to get its first win of the 2016, 2017 season with an 85-64 win over Missouri Southern State. The Salukis were able to pound on the Lions throughout the whole game with their size but the first half was a struggle, as both teams combined for 32 fouls and 24 turnovers. The Salukis were able to hold the Lions to 20 points in the first half. In the second half the Lions cut the deficit to 51-40, but the Salukis had other plans by going on a 27-2 run to put the game away even though Missouri Southern State went on a 14-3 run to end the game.
Coach Hinson challenged his defense at the end to finish but it didn’t work. What Hinson said about that was, “We just gotta figure out how to get stops, guys if we play the last three and a half minutes they went on a 14-3 run to end the game, this is after I challenged those guys at the three-and-a-half-minute mark to finish the game and win the last three minutes and thirty-three seconds, I will never give that speech again to that group it didn’t work, 14-3 run to end the game.” So the Saluki defense will need to step up for the next game.
For the Lions, only three of their players had double digits as Ji Cratit had 17 points. The Lions were 22-61 on field goal attempts and 12-28 on three point shots. The only lead the lions had was a two-point lead after the first 3 of the game was shot by Ji Cratit but they for sure did not see the lead again after that.
The Salukis were able to click on all cylinders as Sean O’Brien led the team scoring with 19 points and had 10 rebounds. Although him and Thik Bol had double double’s as Bol had 10 points and 17 rebounds. O’Brien and the team had some issues in the first half but they were able to clean things up in the second half as he stated, “I think just pushing the ball once we got on transition that helped us out lot I think even it carried over in the second half a little bit, the first five minutes we were sloppy and then we finally started getting stops, rebounds, and just getting out and running”. Those really payed off in the second half.
The Salukis are now 1-2 on the year and will head to Edwardsville to play the Southern Illinois Edwardsville Cougars and looking to get payback on the Cougars after coming into the SIU arena last year and beating the Salukis 76-74. The game will start at 7 o’clock.
The Lions are now 2-1 on the year as they will host William Jewell College on Saturday at 3 o’clock.