Category: Sports Blog

Langford putting pressure on Forte’s future


By Peter Bobrinskoy

 

Matt Forte is without question one of the top three running backs in Chicago Bears history. With great company of Hall of Famers Gale Sayers and Walter Payton, Matt Forte has had a very successful eight year career with the Chicago Bears. Over the past eight years, he has ran  for ‎8,252 yards, 43 touchdowns while also having 3,946 receiving yards and 17 receiving touchdowns. He has been the most serviceable and durable player for the Bears while also being a huge leader in the locker room.

However Matt Forte is about to turn 30 years old and recent history has showed a lot of negativity towards running back on the wrong side of 30. While playing on the last year of his contract, General Manager Ryan Pace has an important decision to make: Resign Matt Forte or plan the future behind Rookie Jeremy Langford.

Langford, a fourth round pick out of Michigan State showed a lot of promise in his starting debut against the San Diego Chargers on Monday Night where he ran for 72 yards and a touchdown. Jeremy Langford’s performance for the rest of this season will be a huge factor in if the Bears keep Matt Forte after this season. We have a small sample size of just one game, but while Matt Forte  stays on the sideline with a sprained MCL, Jeremy Lngford will get plenty of chances to prove to the Bears coaching staff that he can be the long term future for the Bears running game.

Another thing that is working against Matt Forte staying past this year is that the NFL is not an easy place for running backs. Marshawn Lynch, one of the most explosive running backs in the NFL for the past four seasons, is a perfect example of an aging running back struggling. While fighting injuries, Marshawn Lynch 29, has not looked like his old self this season. Rushing for only 375 yards this season, way below his career average after 9 games, the Seattle Seahawks are going through their trouble of trying to play with an aging running back.

Only time will tell but rest assured, it will be up to Jeremy Langford’s performance on whether or not the Bears decide to split ways with one of the best running backs in their franchise’s history.

MLB free agency a few solid transactions this week


By Max Zuiker

On Tuesday The Mariners added Manny Acta to their coaching staff placing him at the third base coach role. Acta managed the Nationals from 2007-2009 and the Indians from 2010-2012.

Also the Chicago White Sox named former Cub manager Rick Renteria as their bench coach and announced Greg Sparks will be their assistant hitting coach. These moves should pay off for the Sox as Rick is fluent in Spanish as are many of the core players on the squad. Sparks will try and ‘Spark’ one baseball worst offensives over the past three seasons.

On Wednesday Seattle re-signed outfielder Franklin Gutierrez to a one year deal. Gutierrez batted .292 with 15 home runs across 59 games last year with the M’s. This is a solid move by Seattle because if Franklin can stay healthy then the M’s might have one of the toughest 4th out fielders in all of baseball.

The Yankees made their first off season move as they acquired outfielder Aaron Hicks from Minnesota in exchange for catcher John Ryan Murphy. This move gives the Yankees a solid 4th/5th outfielder option as well as a switch hitter that can come off the bench in key situations.

The Mariners remained active as they acquired high profile set up man Joaquin Benoit from the Padres for two minor league players on Thursday. This tells me that M’s are going to be making more improvements throughout the off season.

Former Nationals manager Matt Williams will reunite with his former team The Arizona Diamondbacks and will assume the third base coach role. Williams was the starting third baseman when the Diamondbacks won the World Series in 2001.

Finally a bigger move has been made! Yesterday the Braves dealt shortstop Andrelton Simmons and catcher Jose Briceno to the Los Angeles Angels for SS Erick Aybar, LHP Sean Newcomb (25th overall prospect), RHP Chris Ellis and a little over two million in cash. This definitely tells me that the Braves will be in rebuild mode for at least this season and probably next.  The team also re-signed catcher A.J. Pierzynski on a one-year contract. However, this is a solid move for the Angles as they desperately needed to add a plus glove to their infield. Simmons fits the exact middle infield need the Angles were hurting for since losing Howie Kendrick last offseason.

 

Week 10 NFL Picks


By Jeremy Sneed

Thursday Night Football

7:25 Bills (4-4) @ Jets (5-3)

Rex Ryan is making his return to New Jersey and he is already taking shots at the Jets by making IK Enemkpali one of his captains.  For those who don’t know, IK was the guy who broke Geno Smith’s jaw.  As much as I like the Jets team this year, the Bills offense was almost unstoppable last week with Tyrod Taylor posting a 98.0 QBR.  I think Rex and the Bills defeat the Jets in a close 18-14 contest.

12:00 Jaguars (2-6) @ Ravens (2-6)

The Ravens are coming off their bye and I think they are going to look a lot of smoother offensively despite not having Steve Smith.  The Jaguars have a lot of weapons on offense but I think the Ravens will win this game in a shootout.  Final score: 37-28

12:00 Browns (2-7) @ Steelers (5-4)

Mike Pettine said that Josh McCown will start if he is healthy enough.  I don’t understand the move because I thought Manziel played pretty well against a tough Cincinnati defense.  With that being said, Big Ben is set to miss this game with a mid-foot sprain but I think the Steelers will still have enough weapons to win this game pretty easily.  Final score: 29-17

12:00 Panthers (8-0) @ Titans (2-6)

The Panthers and Titans are both coming off of impressive wins against the Packers and Saints.  But Marcus Mariota and the Titans are going to be no match for the Panthers and their strong defense.  I think the panthers win this game easily 35-12.

12:00 Bears (3-5) @ Rams (4-4)

This is an interesting matchup and a tough game to pick for me.  As much as I would love to pick the Bears this week, I just think the Rams offense is going to run all over the Bears weak defense.  Gurley and Austin in particular are players to watch in this game for the Rams.  With all that being said I think the rams win this game with a final score of 24-16.

12:00 Cowboys (2-6) @ Buccaneers (3-5)

With Tony Romo still sidelined, the Cowboys nearly pulled out a win Sunday night against the Eagles.   Considering that they have yet to win a game this season without Romo, I think that trend will continue this week against Tampa.  I think Jameis Winston will lead his team to their 4th win of the season with a final score of 31-18.

12:00 Lions (1-7) @ Packers (6-2)

The Packers are on a two game losing streak after losing to the Broncos and the Panthers.  The Lions do not have a chance though against the Packers and the Packers will be able to end their losing streak with an easy win against Detroit.  Final score: 45-10

12:00 Dolphins (3-5) @ Eagles (4-4)

This is another interesting matchup in which it is hard to choice a winner.  I do think the Eagles will win this game because of the momentum from their overtime win Sunday night.  Final score: 27-20

12:00 Saints (4-5) @ Redskins (3-5)

Despite an overtime loss to the Tennessee Titans last week, I think Drew Brees will lead his team to their 4th win of the season against Kirk Cousins and the Redskins.  Drew Brees has been on fire the past few weeks and I think that will continue this week.  I think the Saints will win this game with a final score of 34-26.

3:05 Vikings (6-2) @ Raiders (4-4)

I really like the Raiders this week because they are 2-2 at home, while both of the Vikings loses have been on the road.  Teddy Bridgewater is also dealing with a concussion, even though he did pass his first concussion test.  I think Derek Carr and Amari Cooper lead the Raiders to victory with a final score of 23-16.

3:25 Chiefs (3-5) @ Broncos (7-1)

The Broncos are coming off of their first loss of the season against the Colts last week.  But, I think the Broncos will bounce back nicely against the Chiefs.  The Chiefs are just too inconsistent on both sides of the ball to contend with the Broncos.  I think the Broncos easily win this game with a final score of 31-14.

3:25 Patriots (8-0) @ Giants (5-4)

In my upset of the week and maybe of the season, I think the New York Giants will defeat the Patriots this week.  I make this prediction based on the fact that the Patriots haven’t beaten the Giants in seven years and they are playing in the Meadowlands this week.  Tom Coughlin obviously knows how to beat New England and I think he pulls it off again this week.  Final score: 23-20

Sunday Night Football

7:30 Cardinals (6-2) @ Seahawks (4-4)

Both of these teams are coming off of their bye weeks, but I think the Seahawks are going to win this game.  I am hoping that they were able to figure their offensive struggles out during the bye week.  I think this will be a low-scoring affair and it will come down to who has a better defense.  Final score: 17-10 Seahawks

Monday Night Football

7:30 Texans (3-5) @ Bengals (8-0)

The Bengals have had an extremely easy schedule thus far and have gotten ridiculed for it.  But, what the critics don’t understand is that you still have to win games.  This is another easy matchup for Cincy and I think they win again to improve to 9-0.  I think they win this game easily with a final score of 44-7.

 

Let the [off] season begin


By Matthew Schneider

The MLB season is over and now every team has a chance to win the World Series and they will work as hard as they can to win. First off, congrats to the Kansas City Royals for winning the World Series against the Mets four games to one. That was their first World Series win in 30 years and second in franchise history. Now that they have won the team will look to do they same next year and while their fans will party for awhile the organization will get to work trying to resign players and bring talent to keep them contenders. All of the other 29 teams will try to do the same thing that the Royals did this year. Now a record 20 eligible free agents have received qualifying offers and have until Thursday to either accept or decline and about 130 players have registered to become free agents. Many teams are just one or two players that can make them playoff contenders like the Cubs or Cardinals. While there are teams that are looking to rebuild like Miami or the White Sox. Some teams will be very active in signing new players while others will stand pat for financial reasons.

Let’s start with something that is already in motion on Thursday twenty free agents where offered a qualifying offer by their team for around $15 million for one year. Now why do these teams offer these contracts if they will just decline them and sign with another team anyways. By giving them this offer it gives the team compensation. For example, the Cubs offered this to the Dexter Fowler on Thursday. He has one week to either accept or decline. Let’s say he declines the offer and signs with another team. The Cubs would then receive draft compensation from the team that signed Fowler. This is to ensure that you at least get something if you do lose that player in free agency. A record 20 players have been offered this yet no one has ever accepted this deal ever.

The free agent market was open and ready for business on Saturday. Now most free agents won’t start signing until Thursday when all the qualifying offers are figured out. There is a strong market this year. There are strong players that can make your team into an instant contender. The only hard part is deciding which one is best fit for your current team’s situation. With many top options at very important positions. Deciding between David Price, Zach Greinke, or Johnny Cueto for a starting pitcher is a tough choice and they will all look for a lot of money. Jason Heyward and Yoenis Cespedes are top candidates to fill outfield spots and Justin Upton is also a reliable choice as well. Daniel Murphy and Ben Zobrist are top options in the infield as well. there is plenty depth at pitcher to fill your starting pitcher needs. After the top prizes there are many options. Jeff Samardzija and Jordan Zimmerman are excellent options if you are looking for a back of the end rotation starter. Dexter Fowler and Alex Gordon are also good players to fill your outfielder needs. The infield is probably the thinnest part with no big name players but there is value. Alexei Ramirez, Howie Kendrick, and Asdrubal Cabrera are great players to make your infield defense better. Matt Wieters and Chris Iannetta are great players to fulfill your needs behind the plate as well. Steve Pearce and Mike Napoli are your big power hitters if you are looking for a DH or a first baseman.

There is a ton of talent in this year’s free agency and many teams will get better. Not only should we expect many new faces but we should also see some trades and not just small ones. I believe we will see trades involving big names. This offseason should have big surprises and some offseason shake ups as well. Tis the season for the offseason that is almost guaranteed to excite.