Category Archives: Sports

Chicago Bears Make True Feelings on Justin Fields Crystal Clear

This offseason is going to be chock full of the hottest takes with many pundits set to suggest that the Chicago Bears use the first overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft (April 27) on a quarterback and move on from Justin Fields. In fact, former New York Jets general manager Mike Tanenbaum has already said he would do just that for Bryce Young of Alabama.

Sitting in the pole position of the annual selection process does come with its fair share of perks. Not the least of which is the ability to take the best passer in the class if need be.

And yet, there was Bears general manager Ryan Poles to all but shut the door on that.

“We’re going to do the same as we’ve always done we’re going to evaluate the draft class,” Poles asserted before hedging. “I would say this, I’d have to be absolutely blown away to make that type of decision.”

Ryan Poles Sends Strong Message On Justin Fields’ Future With Chicago Bears

Justin Fields ‘Did a Good Job…Has to Improve’

Some may hear that Poles is still on the fence about Feilds. But he could also be playing it close to the vest. The more teams that think he may take a quarterback, the higher the asking price for the pick.

Of course, that is not to say that the No. 1 pick will not be used to take Young or another quarterback in Will Levis of Kentucky or Fields’ fellow Ohio State alum C.J. Stroud. It just did not sound like the Bears are too keen on being the team that does it judging from Poles’ comments on the quarterback he inherited.

“I thought Justin did a good job,” Poles offered. “I thought we changed a lot we adapted, we tried to put him in a position to be successful. He showed the ability to be a playmaker, be impactful. He can change games quickly. Does he have room to grow? He does. He has to get better as a passer and I’m excited to see him take those steps as we move forward.”

Fields and the Bears set good and bad records this season both breaking the franchise single-season rushing record and producing its fewest passing yards since 2005.

The second-year passer and former 11th overall pick threw for 2242 yards with 17 passing touchdowns to 11 interceptions. As was evident on the field, his season can be split in half at the Bears’ Week 6 12-7 loss to the Washington Commanders.

Fields spoke of being “tired” of the offense getting close and not finishing.

He went from averaging 144 passing yards per game on 54.8% completion over the first six weeks with four touchdowns and five interceptions to 162 yards per game on 67% completion with 12 touchdowns and five interceptions over his next eight starts before the wheels fell off the offense in Week 17 against the Detroit Lions.

Signs of Justin Fields’ Growth

Even more encouraging for Poles and fans is that more than one-third of Fields interceptions came in two games. Two came in a Week 3 win over the Houston Texans and two more in the Week 13 loss to the Green Bay Packers.

Fields did not have any other multi-interception games, though fumbles remained an issue.

He led the league with 16 fumbles but he only lost two and had just five in the final eight weeks of the season despite sustained heavy use in the run game.

“I’m excited for the direction he’s going,” Poles said. He knows where he has to improve – I think he mentioned that the other day. So we’re excited about his development and where he goes next. He showed ability to be impactful with his legs, there’s flashes with his arm. Now, if we can put that together, I think we have something really good.”

How can Fields improve?

“Just for things to slow down mentally. And then, be able to react and anticipate quicker. Obviously, with that, we have to continue to build around him so that he can do that consistently as well.”

Ryan Poles Must Do His Part

The Bears spent less than any other team this season while carrying the fourth-largest dead cap hit. All of that has set them up to be major players in free agency if they so choose. They did send out a second-round pick for Chase Claypool whom Poles remains high on and Fields is giving them a reason to do whatever it takes to put even more weapons around him. That includes a front five that had just two members start more than 12 games.

Fields’ bad throw percentage dropped precipitously after Week 7 as his passing attempts rose, going from 4.0 bad throws in 19.9 pass attempts per game (20.1%) over the first eight weeks to 3.2 bad throws in 22.7 attempts(14.3%) across his final eight appearances.

That may be the best sign that his future is bright and that the game is indeed slowing down for him. But, as Poles stated, it is imperative that they put the proper pieces around him creating the proper environment for that to occur. And it doesn’t mean they will focus only on the offense in the draft or free agency.

The defense also allowed the most points in franchise history. This offseason was already critical to the organization’s success, potentially for the next decade if they do it properly.

Bears QB Justin Fields Gets Honest About Teammates

Week 15 ended just as the previous six have for the Chicago Bears (3-11). That is minus Week 14 when they had their bye, of course. They lost yet again. This time to a Philadelphia Eagles team that boasts the best record in the NFL on top of being the top-scoring offense in the league. The Bears, meanwhile, find themselves on the other end of the spectrum at 3-11 and rank 19th in scoring.

But the vibe in the locker room wouldn’t suggest a team that has seemingly become averse to victories after starting the season 2-1.

They are a team that has hope, thanks in large part to the man under center in Justin Fields.

After the game, he spoke about wanting to come back late. His team was down two scores despite suffering an apparent injury that sent him to the locker room for a key possession.

Justin Fields Gets Honest About Chicago Bears Teammates

Bears QB Sounds Off on Teammates

“It was important,” Fields said of returning to the game following what turned out to be cramps but still had the second-year passer limping to the sideline before going down to the ground. “Every time I get a chance to play, I’m going to want to be out there with my guys. I know they fight and, like I said before, they’re the only reason I play.”

Fields’ leadership has been a constant light at the end of the tunnel. Especially for the moribund Bears team even as they were at their lowest this year.

It was a postgame answer from Fields after a Week 6 loss that sparked an offensive turnaround.

And it is Fields who will determine just how well this Bears’ rebuild will turn out granted the front office does for him what Philadelphia Eagles general manager did for Jalen Hurts who was highly complimentary of Fields ahead of Sunday’s showdown.

Fields punctuated his sentiment if there were any doubts, saying, “I play for [my teammates] and God and really nobody else.”

It’s a very strong message from a player just finding his own way in this league.

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MVP Frontrunner Sends Strong Message on Bears’ Justin Fields

Before this season began, we posed a hypothetical scenario. It saw the Chicago Bears emulating the 2021 Philadelphia Eagles and finding their way into the playoffs. Ahead of their Week 15 showdown, the Eagles are first in the NFC while the Bears were eliminated from the postseason before going into the bye last week.

Still, the Bears have followed much of the blueprint laid out by the Eagles last season. They turned their campaign around following a mini-bye after Week 7. Head coach Nick Siriani re-vamp the entire offense around dual-threat quarterback Jalen Hurts.

Chicago used a mini-bye after a Week 6 loss to the Washington Commanders to re-tool their offense around Justin Fields.

As comparisons between the two passers are sure to fly, remember how they got here.

Eagles Jalen Hurts Sends Strong Message on Bears Justin Fields

From Justin Fields to Jalen Hurts

“He’s always been a player that I’ve had a lot of respect for,” Hurts told reporters, “at Georgia, at Ohio State, coming into the Bears and doing what he’s been able to do in a short time…we have to be prepared for him.”

It is important to note that Hurts averaged 245 passing yards with 10 touchdowns to four interceptions through the first seven weeks last season adding another 51 yards per game and five scores on the ground. He averaged 178 passing yards and 52 rushing yards after Siriani’s schematic switch.

Hurts’ quarterback rating actually went down as a result.

Fields’ trend has been more noticeable in part because of where he was at the beginning of the season. He’s gone from 144 passing yards per game with four touchdowns to five picks and 47 rushing yards per game with a score through six weeks, to 171 passing yards per game with nine scores to five picks and 103 rushing yards per game with seven scores in his last six games.

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Bears QB Justin Fields Sounds Off on Lamar Jackson, Ravens

The Chicago Bears had the NFL’s second-best rushing attack coming into their tilt on Monday Night Football. They left out with the best of them all. So, it wasn’t necessarily a renewed commitment to the ground attack that led to their rolling up 243 yards on the ground against the New England Patriots.

But they did alter their approach to that dedication that also had them fourth in attempts going into that game and sitting in second place now.

After the game, quarterback Justin Fields – who had a career-high 14 carries for 82 yards – provided a little insight into how the Bears took advantage of their bye week. He also revealed from where they drew inspiration for the shift.

Justin Fields, Bears Inspired by Lamar Jackson’s Ravens

Bears Highlight Fields’ Strengths

After the Bears’ narrow 12-7 loss to the Washington Commanders at home on Thursday Night Football, head coach Matt Eberflus said he would use the break to reassess everything. That included the lineup after miscues cost them back-to-back games late. It also included their offensive scheme that had ranked 28th in yards per game

That was mostly thanks to a moribund passing attack that still ranks 30th in touchdowns and dead last in attempts and yards.

What was the solution to generating offense and, in some ways, hiding the quarterback and line? The Bears were inspired by one of the most unique players in league history: former NFL MVP and Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson.

“It just brings another whole element to our offense, stealing some plays from the Ravens,” Fields said after the game. “Yup-yup-yup. We got a couple of ones from them.” (h/t Mark Grote/670 The Score)

It certainly worked.

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Retired NFL Vets Sound Off on Bears’ Justin Fields

The NFL can be a fickle place as the Chicago Bears know all too well. Just a week ago they were under fire for dropping a close game at home against the Washington Commanders in primetime. Flash forward just 11 days and, while perhaps not fully sold just yet, folks are coming around to, not only quarterback Justin Fields but also the people in charge of getting the Bears out of misery.

And it’s all because they went into Foxboro and exorcised a laundry list of demons – some not even their own – and took down Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots on Monday Night Football with a 33-14 final tally.

It was a game that showcased the best of all three phases for a team that had previously gotten in its own way more often than not coming in.

No one embodied that more than the Bears’ second-year passer.

Robert Griffin III, Clay Harbor Sound Off on Bears’ Justin Fields

Bears, Justin Fields’ Big Day

Former NFL tight end-turned-analyst Clay Harbor took to Twitter to highlight a sequence by Fields. It was in the first quarter. The Bears led by three points and were already nearing the red zone around New England’s 34-yard line. In the first half of the clip, Fields goes through his reads before coming back to find former Patriot N’Keal Harry in the middle of the Field.

He followed that up with a scramble that saw him get down quickly rather than risk taking a big hit trying to fight for extra yardage.

After a David Montgomery run on the ensuing play, Fields took it himself for a three-yard score.

That put the Bears up 10-0. But they were far from in the clear as the Patriots scored back-to-back touchdowns following a change at quarterback from Mac Jones to Bailey Zappe and an interception from Fields.

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Triple Zeros: Alex Shapiro – Chicago Bears Season Preview

Triple Zeros

Alex Shapiro – Chicago Bears Season Preview

Triple Zeros is happy to welcome Alex Shapiro of NBC Sports Chicago to the show to talk all things Chicago Bears. Training camp and the preseason are now over and Week 1 of the regular season is right around the corner.

Alex shared his thoughts on the differences between the new coaching staff led by Matt Eberflus and the old one led by Matt Nagy. He also spoke on the state of the wide receiving corps beyond third-year man Darnell Mooney and what to make of the chatter about Teven Jenkins getting traded while he’s manned the starting right guard position.

Things switch over to the defense as Alex gets honest about his expectations from the Bears’ pass rush. Will Trevis Gipson take another step? Can Robert Quinn turn in another signature season? What about the secondary with two rookies at cornerback (Kyler Gordon) and safety (Jaquan Brisker)?

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Back In The Saddle – Bears Offseason, Bulls Resurgence, NFL, and NBA News Triple Zeros Sports Podcast

Returning from the long layoff to get into the slew of roster moves by the Chicago Bears this offseason and what more is to come, the Chicago Bulls resurgence and Parick Beverley's real impact, plus all of the latest around the NBA (the MVP race), NFL (Jets-Packers standoff)! Follow the show on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter (@JoshGBuck, @3ZerosPod, @ClockerSports), and check out today! Heavy on Bulls/Heavy on Nets/Last Word on Pro Football/Soaring Down South — Send in a voice message: Support this podcast:
  1. Back In The Saddle – Bears Offseason, Bulls Resurgence, NFL, and NBA News
  2. Rob Schaefer – NBC Sports Chicago
  3. Ryan Taylor of NBC Sports Chicago – Chicago Bulls Media Day
  4. Alex Shapiro – Chicago Bears Season Preview
  5. Bears Preseason Catch-Up/Bulls Offseason Recap

Be sure to follow Alex on Twitter @AlexShapiroNBCS and check out all of his amazing coverage of the Bears!

Follow the show on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter (@JoshGBuck@3ZerosPod@ClockerSports), and check out today!

Heavy on Bulls/Last Word on Pro Football/Soaring Down South

Triple Zeros – Bears Preseason Catch-Up/Bulls Offseason Recap

Triple Zeros returns with a slew of updates from the Chicago Bears training camp. We’ll go over who the standouts have been, how the team has looked, and what to expect this coming season from the team and second-year quarterback Justin Fields.

We also recap the preseason opener – a 19-14 Bears comeback victory over the visiting Kansas City Chiefs – and get into how much we’ll see of the starters the rest of the summer.

Then, things switch to the Chicago Bulls whose offseason has gone from boring to action-packed. Their stars like Zach LaVine and young guys Dalen Terry have all made been making headlines for all of the right reasons including showing out in pro-ams and training together.

But there are some rumors that force us to ask the tough questions about head coach Billy Donovan and the future of this “win-now” roster after the Eastern Conference got better this summer.

We get into all of that and more from around the NBA and NFL!

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The Formula 1 silly season starts early with Fernando Alonso signing

With Sebastian Vettel deciding to hang up the steering wheel next season, there was a level of interest as to who would replace him. Well, it only took a couple of days for us to know the answer. Aston Martin announced Fernando Alonso as their new team leader.

Despite being the newer driver on the team, Alonso will be the team leader Lance Stroll is not ready. This is why the decision-makers went with the most experienced driver on the grid. Vettel was certainly the team leader before his decision to retire so it is only fitting that he hands this mantle to another world champion.

Alonso is a true competitor whose fire will bring a whole new focus and zeal to the team. The two-time world champion has been on multiple teams, wearing out his welcome on a number of them. It actually appears that he has fallen out with either the Renault team or his teammate, Esteban Ocon. The way the two were squabbling over the same piece of road repeatedly during the last race gives that away.

Formula 1 silly season is now underway.

With Alonso announcing that he has signed with Aston Martin for 2023 the Formula 1 silly season has officially begun. Now that there is an opening with the Alpine team rumors are beginning to circle. Most of the drivers associated with this seas are young emerging drivers who are currently test drivers or F2 standouts.

This also has a good chance of quietening the rumors surrounding Daniel Ricciardo. The Australian doubled down on his future with the McLaren team. There is little chance of Ricciardo going to the French team. He left that seat to join the McLaren team for this contract.

There is little chance of him being welcomed back into the French team with open arms. Their current remaining driver Ocon has shown that he is a match for the former dual world champion. As such, Alpine would be well served by allowing him to become the team leader. They could then focus all their efforts on getting him up the standings. They would then be able to develop the other young driver for the coming seasons.

The impact of Sebastian Vettel retiring from Formula 1

Formula 1 will be without Sebastian Vettel for the first time since the 2006 season. He has decided to retire from the sport, effective from the end of the season. This is going to be the first seat open for next season, but with the silly season around the corner, it is certainly not going to be the last one. However, the conjecture over who is going to fill this seat has already started.

Vettel has given a lot to this sport. He entered Formula 1 way back in 2006 when he joined BMW Sauber as a test driver. Vettel also debuted with this team. He scored his first points in 2007 when he raced in place of Robert Kubica who crashed out of the Canadian Grand Prix the weekend before. His eighth-place finish ensured that Vettel was the youngest ever driver to score points in Formula 1.

Vettel then joined the Red Bull stable in 2007 with Toro Rosso. During his two years with the team, Vettel became the youngest ever Formula 1 driver to sit on pole position. He also became the youngest ever race winner at the Italian Grand Prix on a very wet day.

Sebastian Vettel was pretty good at this Formula 1 caper.

Vettel joined the Red Bull team in 2009 where he finished second in the World Championship. Then he won his first Championship in his second season with the franchise. This was the first of four consecutive World Titles that he won. His last season with Red Bull was a relative failure where he finished fifth. He then spent six seasons with Ferrari and then two seasons with Aston Martin.

Now that he has decided to retire, Vettel is going to be able to finish this season out without the pressure of getting a seat for next season. However, the problem here is that any driver who is out of contract for next season will probably be linked to Aston Martin. It also means that Daniel Ricciardo, despite doubling down on his future with McLaren will be faced with more speculation about his future.

It also will start the rumor mill circulating about the younger drivers who are currently test drivers for various teams. There is even the chance that Alex Albon could go for the seat. One thing that is for sure, there will be no shortage of rumors. Aston Martin is a team who are trying to become relevant again. Without a team leader with the experience of Vettel, they may be in danger of slipping even further to the back of the field.

The decision by South Africa shows money is running cricket.

It has long been the case that money is the driving force behind most professional sports and the decisions associated with it. That is not a new concept. However, the decision made by South Africa regarding their one-day squad and the tour of Australia. The tour is to start in mid-December with three tests. Then the South Africans were scheduled to play three one-day matches.

Unfortunately, this is the same time that the South African cricket board has scheduled their newly formed domestic T20 league. Being in the southern hemisphere, the South Africans play at the same time as Australia as a rule. When they tour Australia, they must play the Boxing Day test in Melbourne. The reason for this is that it attracts more spectators than every other test in the world.

This means that if they need to play home international games, or want to put on their domestic competition, they have limited time to do it. As this is going to be the first iteration of the event, they obviously want it to be a success. In order for this to happen, the South African Cricket Board wants its best players to be available. They did request to reschedule the series but there is no room in the very crowded cricket calendar to accommodate this.

South Africa sold out their World Cup hopes for a T20 cash cow.

With the games being canceled, the South African cricket team has almost no chance to qualify for the One Day International World Cup in 2023. Teams have until May of 2023 to qualify directly. They sit in the 11th spot on the ODI qualification table with just four wins from 13 matches.

While the top eight automatically go through to the World Cup, forfeiting these three games makes life really difficult to qualify directly. This will bring them up to 16 matches and they will still only have four wins. To make matters worse for the South Africans, the eighth-placed Australians take on Zimbabwe at home. Zimbabwe has been a minnow nation in cricket for a number of years. This should move them further back up the table.

Add to this the points that they will get from the South Africans series and they will be hard to catch.  On top of that, the seventh-placed Indian cricket team has three matches against Zimbabwe as well. South Africa will most probably have to qualify through a tournament for the final two World Cup places.

Given that Sri Lanka is in the bottom five, there is probably going to be one spot remaining to qualify. Anything can happen in sports and having to qualify through extra games will be dangerous for the teams qualifying. A World Cup without the South African cricket team is hard to imagine. However, with their desire to get revenue from the domestic T20 competition, they have made a rod for their own back.

Unfortunately, making money is more crucial for cricket boards these days. To be the best in all formats of the game is not the ultimate goal, financial viability is.