Welcome to The Chicago Homer’s Mailbag. It runs once a week unless it doesn’t, and in it I answer questions from readers via Twitter or email. The questions can be about any damn thing you please, and there likely isn’t a question I won’t answer. There may be questions I can’t answer, but I’ll try.
If you’d like to submit a question for the next edition of the mailbag it’s pretty simple. Either ask the question on Twitter using the #AskTCH hashtag — as long as you use the hashtag I will see it — or send an email to TCHMailbag@gmail.com.
So the mailbag is going up a day late because I had my first fantasy football draft of the season, and it wasn’t an online draft. It was live and in person, and it was out in the suburbs so I wasn’t home most of the day. By the time I got home I really wasn’t in any mood to write, but here we are today. Your long wait is over.
I think the best thing I can tell you is that it’s the preseason, so you really shouldn’t take anything you see all that seriously. Thus far the starters haven’t really spent a lot of time on the field, so it’s hard to truly judge the improvement on the defensive side of the ball. I will say that the one thing I’ve noticed from the starting defense when it has been out there is that the defensive line looks much better than it did last year.
Now, that’s no guarantee that the defense will improve, because while I do see improvement up front, a lot of what I’ve seen from the linebackers and secondary looks the same. Again, though, it’s really hard to get a gauge on the secondary with the rate referees are calling illegal contact during the preseason. If that trend continues into the regular season then every single secondary in the NFL is going to suck, which may be the NFL’s goal, who knows?
It’s important to remember that in the preseason, though, it’s not like the Bears are actually running their defense. They’re sitting in base schemes. Either playing man, or a cover two or three, or sometimes a cover four. Just basic shit that any quarterback with half a brain and a few seconds of protection can exploit whenever he wants to when he knows it’s there.
As for your expectations, it is entirely possible that they were too high to begin with, which is only natural for any fan in any sport. Particularly in the NFL where teams go from last place to the playoffs on an annual basis. But it’s important to remember that the Bears, as good as the offense was last season, still only finished 8-8. They’re also in a division that still has the Packers as well as a Detroit and Minnesota, both of whom should improve this year. Combine that with a schedule that doesn’t do the Bears a lot of favor — particularly in the early part of the season when they’re on the road every week — I don’t know that any of us should have been dreaming of a Super Bowl anyway.
All that said, this is still a team that could get to the playoffs, and it’s still a team that could win the division as long as it stays healthy and the defense actually does improve. As for the Super Bowl, I have a hard time imagining this Bears team getting past a team like Seattle or San Francisco, but hey, just get to the playoffs and anything can happen.
You know, any given Sunday and all that shit.
If you missed it, on Friday it was announced that Dan McNeil wouldn’t be returning to The Score and Matt Spiegel is officially in the market for a new partner in middays. The news didn’t really come as a shock considering that McNeil hasn’t been on the air since mid-June, but as for the timing of the announcement, it might not have been a coincidence, but I can’t say for sure that it was, either.
I think everybody involved at the station just wanted a resolution, whatever it was. I also think McNeil just didn’t want to come back, because if he ever really did it never would have taken so long to come to a resolution.
Plus it just wasn’t fair to Spiegel. As somebody who has actually co-hosted the show with Spiegel for a day, I can tell you that the job is not easy. I was tired by the time it was over, and I’d only done it for one day for four hours. Matt’s an old pro, but I can’t imagine what it was like on him coming in and working with a new person every other day, or every other week, all the while wondering what the hell was going to happen in the future. So I’m happy for him that it’s finally been resolved, and we’ll head to the future with him being the lead host on the show.
As for who his co-host will be, I don’t know. I just know that it’s not going to be me, and that if I had to put money on somebody, I’d put it on Matt Abbatacola. That way The Score can ensure that Hawk Harrelson hates every show they air except Mully and Hanley.
Well, it’s no longer yesterday, but for those of you who need a refresher, here ya go!
Ventura was mad about an overturned call at the plate in which the umps ruled that Tyler Flowers had been illegally blocking the plate. I don’t blame Robin for losing his shit over the call, nor do I blame the umpires for making it.
I blame the rule. I hate the rule.
It puts the umpires in a damn near impossible position, and it’s not any easier on the replay officials. Every single one of those rulings is going to be a judgment call in which somebody is relying on their opinion.
Which is only one of the reasons I hate the rule. I understand why MLB put it in place, and I respect the thought process behind it. Hey, let’s do what we can to keep players healthy, as collisions at the plate can be dangerous. But I don’t know that they were dangerous enough that you actually needed to modify the way the game has been played for a century or so.
I’m not going to go all Hawk and talk about the rule like it’s causing the downfall of mankind and civilization as we know it, but it’s a dumb rule. Either make every play at home a force play, or ditch the rule altogether and go back to how you’ve always done it. I would hate the former, but at least things would be a lot clearer for all involved.
What did you think of Hawk’s comments about skirts? – Eric Stone
For those of you who haven’t heard what Hawk said, during his tirade about the call that sent Robin into a dirt-kicking frenzy, he mentioned that MLB is following the NFL’s footsteps in trying to make itself a league for little girls, and that “next thing you know, they’ll have catchers wearing skirts out there.”
You just can’t say that shit on the air these days. You just can’t. I don’t care what you think about the actual comments themselves, but in this day and age, you just can’t say that.
After I heard him say it I did a complete 180 on my thoughts of Harrelson’s future. I always believed that Hawk would be in the White Sox booth until he chose to leave himself, health forced him out, or he just died. Now I’m convinced it’s going to be something he says that gets him in trouble.
The world is changing. While Hawk may not think the comments he made were sexist, they were, and if he doesn’t manage what he says more carefully from now on he’s going to find himself in trouble sooner rather than later. And you can just write it off by saying that Hawk is older and set in his ways, but Vin Scully is 14 years older than Harrelson is, and you don’t hear him saying that kind of shit during a baseball game do you?
At some point you have to realize that people aren’t just a reflection of the times they grew up in, they’re just themselves.
They’re semi-fucked. They’ve lost their best wide receiver, their best cornerback, a starting defensive end and a reserve linebacker thanks to an academic scandal the school is now investigating. It may end up that the school has to vacate some wins from the past — including the 2012 national title run — but that really doesn’t mean anything. Vacating wins has always been the dumbest punishment in sports.
Suddenly you’re just supposed to pretend games and seasons that you watched didn’t happen.
The impact on 2014 is what’s really going to matter, and the Irish could be in a bit of trouble this year thanks to these losses. They already had a tough road to hoe with their schedule, as it’s one of, if not the toughest schedules in the country. I mean, when Michigan is your fifth-toughest game of the season (Florida State, Stanford, Louisville, USC and maybe even Arizona State are better), things aren’t going to be easy. I was expecting the Irish to finish somewhere around 8-4 this year before all of this happened, and now I’d say 6-6 or 7-5 are a lot more likely.
Now that we’ve all been able to see Derrick Rose play twice for Team USA, who will finish in second place for the NBA MVP award this year? – Dave
Derrick Rose will. Every single ballot that is turned in by a voter will just list Derrick Rose’s name in the top three or five spots, however many they’re supposed to fill out. Nobody else will be considered.
Derrick Rose is the greatest of all time, and nobody deserves to share a ballot with him.
Seriously, though, how fun is it to see Rose back and playing so well again? He’s been gone for so long that you almost forget how good he was before the knee injuries, and then you see him going from coast to coast on an NBA court in like 1.5 seconds and it’s like “OH YEAH!”
Please stay healthy.
I never wrote about it when Hahn said it, but I spent a lot of time thinking about it. My theory is that if the White Sox were looking to get somebody it would have been a right-handed starter who was cost-controlled for a few more years. So after all that thinking I came to the conclusion it was Jarred Cosart of the Astros.
Houston traded Cosart to the Marlins, but I think the Sox were involved and got a third team involved because they didn’t really want to give up any of their prospects.
So I’m guessing the deal would have involved Cosart going to the White Sox with the White Sox sending a big leaguer to a contender, and that contender sending a prospect or two to the Astros.
Who do I wish the Sox were close to trading for? Mike Trout. Who else?
They might trade him, but I think the more likely scenario is that they just non-tender him and release him. They don’t want to go to arbitration with him and pay him $4 or $5 million next year to be the same player.
But somebody might give up something of absolutely no value for the right to do so first. We’ll see.
I have a fantasy football draft next week, and I have the first pick. LeSean McCoy, Jamaal Charles or Matt Forte? It’s a PPR league. – Krieger
It’s a nice position to be in, ain’t it? I’d go with LeSean McCoy, because as somebody who saw Chip Kelly’s offense in action for years before he brought it to the NFL, I can guarantee you that McCoy is going to continue to put up big time numbers in it. Especially in a PPR (point per reception) league. I don’t think Jamaal Charles is bad or anything, but I feel like the Chiefs are in for a big regression this season, and as for Forte, he’s just not LeSean McCoy.
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