Category: Sports

A Tail of Two-Half’s


by Patrick Codo

The Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos played in the 2016 2017 National Football League opener. Broncos came on top 21-20 after Graham Gano missed the game winning 50-yard field goal. The Panthers lead the Broncos 17-7 at the half, but in the second half the Broncos were able to outscore the Panthers 14-3. These two teams were playing in a rematch from Super Bowl 50 where the Broncos came on top 24-10. This is only the second time in N.F.L. history where two teams played in the Super Bowl and faced off in week 1 the following season. The last two teams to do that, the Vikings and Chiefs. Those 2 teams met in Super Bowl 4 in January of 1970, and the Chiefs came on top 23-7, but in the following season the Vikings came on top 27-10 in the 1970 N.F.L. opener.

Cam Newton had a better performance against the Denver defense than he did in the Super Bowl loss. Newton only completed 18 out of 33 passing attempts for 194 yards, and had a touchdown, but Newton did have some positives in the game. He had a record breaking night by breaking Steve Young’s rushing touchdown record by scoring his forty fourth rushing touchdown in his career. It took Young fifteen seasons to hit forty-three, but for Cam Newton it only took him five. He even broke Young’s record for most career games with a touchdown rushing and passing with thirty-two.

The Broncos had a new starting quarterback play for them in Trevor Siemian. The second year man out of Northwestern played an impressive first game as a pro quarterback. Siemian completed 18 out of 26 passing attempts for 178 yards, threw a touchdown, and had 2 interceptions. C.J. Anderson ran for 92 yards, had 2 touchdowns 1 in the air, and 1 on the ground. Denver’s offense in the first half could not get anything going as the Panthers were able to intercept Siemian threw two interceptions. Although the defense was able to record 3 sacks on Newton. The defense came in clutch in the 4th quarter. According to ESPN, T.J. Ward had something to do with it as he stated, “We wanted to make sure we got to him, every time he ran we tried to put helmet and shoulder pads on him. If you’re not going to slide, we’re going to put something on you. We saw him limping throughout the game, so that running stuff, you can’t do that all game.”

When the fourth quarter came the Panthers were still up 17-7 in the fourth but Siemian threw a touchdown to C.J. Anderson to cut the lead to 17-14. On the Panthers next drive Cam Newton threw an interception to Chris Harris. Then Anderson again gets into the end zone this time on the ground to give the Broncos their first lead of the game 21-17. Late in the game the Denver defense was all over Cam Newton, but the Panthers were able to stay alive after a holding penalty on 4th and 21. Panthers were able to get in field goal range but Graham Gano missed wide left from 50 yards. Broncos held on 21-20.

Newton didn’t want to question the officials about the hard hits he’s been taking. Newton said, “It’s not my job to question the officials, I really like this officiating crew, so it wasn’t something I know they did intentionally. But it’s not fun getting hit in the head.”

The Broncos will play the Colts next on September 18th in Denver while the Panthers will have their first home game against the San Francisco 49ers.

Cutting Matt Slauson Shows Ryan Pace’s Inexperience


By: Peter Bobrinskoy

Despite many Bears fans thinking that Ryan Pace concluded with another successful draft, Ray Pace could not help but leave those same fans scratching their heads Sunday afternoon. On Sunday, one day after the NFL draft ended, General Manager Ryan Pace cut starting guard Matt Slauson. It was a very confusing and poorly thought-out decision. There are only four reasons that could have gone through Ryan Pace’s head for him to try to justify this very confusing and questionable decision.

  1. The Bears are looking to get younger. Matt Slauson is 33 years old. And with the addition of second round pick Cody Whitehair, the Bears could be better off with a younger player at the guard position for their long term plans.
  2. Matt Slauson’s best football days are behind him and the Bears are seeking more athleticism.
  3. Slauson was on a multi veteran year deal so the Bears will save money.
  4. Getting rid of Slauson, gives rookie Cody Whitehair a chance to start Week 1, giving him NFL experience right away and allowing him more chances to develop.

           Now here is where all of those reasons will be refuted.

Reason #1 actually has some truth to it. Cody Whitehair is ten years younger than Saluson. However, its pretty hypocritical because Ryan Pace signed veteran guard Manny Ramirez from the Detroit Lions in March… Oh yeah, and Ramirez is 36, 3 years older than Slauson.

           Reason #2 is also very head scratching. Greg Slauson had one of his best seasons last year. He played in all 16 games and provided much needed depth after center Will Montgomery went to the IR after season ending injury. He filled in right away when rookie Hronis Grasu wasn’t ready and then continued to make line calls even after returning to guard. He has been very solid for the Bears the last three seasons and there were not any signs that he was going to slow down next year.

Yeah the Bears saved $2.87 million in cutting Slauson. So financial motivation is just not true when it comes to reason #3.

Reason #4 is what is most troubling. Ryan Pace can not use Cody Whitehair to justify the Slauson. Reason #4 could have been true if Ryan Pace hadn’t signed Ted Larsen, Bobby Massie, and Manny Ramirez, three veterans who can potentially take away starting positions from Cody Whitehair, Hronis Grasu, and Charles Leno Jr. Whitehair, Grasu, and Leno are three players all on rookie contracts that can have their development stunted if these veterans take their playing time next season. Also Larsen and Ramirez are not better than Slauson when it comes to playing Guard in the NFL.

After the Bears went 6-10, it seems that Bears fans have given Ryan Pace the benefit of the doubt. They have given him their trust despite the fact that he has made multiple questionable decisions: trading the team’s best offensive player in Brandon Marshall and a 7th round pick for only a 5th round pick, not trying to resign legendary running back Matt Forte, and now cutting Greg Slauson.

The Bears lost arguably two of their biggest leaders in the locker room. Matt Forte and Greg Slauson were a huge part of whatever success the Bears have had the last three to eight seasons. Pace needs to start thinking very hard about the next leaders he wants to cut because these are very big risks he is taking. Matt Forte was not just some aging veteran who was on the decline. Matt Forte was one of the three greatest running backs in this franchise’s history who set the standard for what it meant to be a Chicago Bear. Ryan Pace better win… a lot. Because these type of decisions can backfire on a GM very easily.

NFL Draft


By: Peter Bobrinskoy

It’s currently 12:47 AM on a Thursday night. I just got back from being at my friend’s apartment where we watched the entire first round of the NFL draft and I want somebody to punch me in the face. I want someone to punch me for two reasons. The first reason is because I just wasted 2 and ½ hours of my time watching a live event where I knew 9 of the players called and was completely bored out of mind. Comedian Bill Burr compared watching the NFL Draft to being at a graduation where you don’t know anybody in the senior class. The second reason is because I have now come to the realization that I hate Ryan Pace more than anything. I wrote a blog a month ago warning Ryan Pace about free agency and how he needs to stay away from it. That he needs to receive compensation picks and build entirely through the draft, collecting as many draft picks as possible. Instead Ryan Pace has done the exact opposite. He couldn’t help himself and signed Jerrell Freeman, Akiem Hicks, Bobby Massie, Ted Larsen, Omar Bolden, Manny Ramirez, and Danny Trevathan. I mean why did the Bears fire Phil Emery if they were just going to hire the exact same person after? Ryan Pace is making the exact same mistakes Phil Emery made. Phil Emery never put all of his chips into the NFL draft. Rookie contracts, under the new collective bargaining agreement are much cheaper than veteran free agents, therefore having way more value. The best teams in the NFL collect as many draft picks as possible. The three ways of receiving more draft picks? Receiving compensation picks by staying away from free agency, trading players for draft picks, and trading down in the draft. Ryan Pace has done none of those things. He thinks he is, when he trades Martellus Bennett and Brandon Marshall for draft assets. The worst GMs think that moving up in the draft is more important than having more draft picks. He traded Brandon Marshall and a 7th round pick to the Jets in exchange for a 5th round pick. Why the hell did get give the Jets that 7th round pick? Same with the Patriots. Why did he give Martellus Bennet and a 6th round pick for a 4th round pick. Gaining more picks is more valuable than moving up in the draft. That is why Bill Belicheck is so much better at the NFL draft than anybody else. He moves back as much as possible so he can gain more picks. He’s not thinking about giving up multiple assets in order to gain just one asset.

I was really crossing my fingers earlier today, hoping there was a chance the Bears were going to pull a “Bill Belicheck” and trade down in the draft and receive more draft picks. But here we were with the 11th pick in the draft today and instead of pulling a “Bill Belicheck”, Ryan Pace decided to pull a “Phil Emery”.  The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were on the clock with the 9th pick and according to Ian Rapaport, were planning on taking Vernon Hargreaves, a cornerback out of Florida. Ryan Pace, scared that the Giants with the 10th pick were going to take Leonard Floyd after, decided to give the Bucs a fourth round pick so the Bears could move up two spots and be assured they would get Leonard Floyd. Now I am not a college football scout, I have never seen Leonard Floyd play football before, and for all I know this guy could become a future pro bowler someday. But this trade is a symbol for why the Bears have sucked the last 25 years. This trade is a symbol that the Bears do not value having as many draft picks as possible. Two picks later the Bucs drafted Vernon Hargreaves, the player they wanted all along. The Bears literally just gave the Buccaneers a fourth round for waiting and getting the exact same player they wanted. Other teams have thrived off of the Bears stupidity for years. The Bears like to sign splashy free agents, move up in the draft, an be an exciting team that likes to be aggressive with their roster moves. I don’t care if the Bears only gave away a 7th round pick to move up. They moved in the wrong direction. More picks, not less.

There are two types of teams in the NFL. The smart ones that understand how valuable it is to stockpile picks, and the desperate and greedy ones, which don’t. The former get that having as many players on rookie contracts as possible is a good thing; the latter still mistakenly think that the quarterback trumps all. Look at the Rams and Eagles who traded up and thought like Phil Emery. The other day I was reading the Chicago Tribune and reporter Brad Biggs was answering a fan’s question when he said, “Why did Ryan Pace sign free agents as opposed to building through the draft?” And Brad Biggs defended Ryan Pace saying that the Bears had way too many holes to fix. That having 9 draft picks in this draft would not be enough to fix all the problems. What Brad Biggs does not understand is that if the Bears didn’t make stupid decisions last year like signing Eddie Royal, Pernell McPhee, and Antrel Rolle in free agency. They would have gained potentially three compensation picks and would have had 12 draft picks to play with this year and to help rebuild this team. Biggs then went on to say that roster building is a healthy balance. No it is not. Roster building should 100% be through the NFL draft. The Packers, Seahawks, and Ravens have proven that. Read this next sentence and read it good. The Bears will never be consistently better than the Packers as long as the Packers have 11 draft picks every year while the Bears have 7.

 

Salukis Take Care of Belmont Business


By: Joe Frye

It was business as usual for the Saluki baseball team as they defeated the Belmont Bruins 11-1 on Tuesday night in a non conference matchup at Itchy Jones Stadium. The now 18-10 Salukis broke the game wide open in the second inning, by scoring seven runs, and used a great effort from their relief pitchers to close the door. Junior Austin McPheron didn’t start the game, but he took absolute control when he took over in the third inning, and went 4 2/3 innings without allowing a run and only surrendering two hits. McPheron relieved junior Connor McFadden who went the initial two innings but was relieved of his duties after having trouble finding the strike zone. Senior Colten Selvey grabbed four outs, and then freshman Mitch Townsend notched a 1-2-3 ninth inning. The most impressive part of this game was the powerful offense Belmont brought according to our stat sheets. Eight of the nine starters came in with a batting average above .300. Also Belmont was coming into this matchup after sweeping UT Martin and scoring a total of forty runs in three ball games, including a twenty-three run explosion on Saturday.

But the Dawgs came in with an attitude that knew they would dominate from the get-go and they would prevail. Offensively it was multiple contributors but it was especially nice to see sophomore Nick Hutchins lead the way with three rbi’s and going 3-5. Hutchins struggled at the plate this past weekend, but was the WIDB co-player of the game due to his stellar defensive and hitting. Junior Will Farmer continued his hot streak, going 3-5 as well while scoring two runs and driving in one more. SIU tallied fifteen hits, and scored double digits for the second time in four games.

After this win the Salukis won’t be slowing down, as they head to Murray Statetomorrow for a one game series against the Racers. After that, its another three game homestead as Indiana State comes to town Friday through Sunday. You can catch all those home games on WIDB.net and read our postgame blogs afterwards.