Monday, April 30, 2012

Bears Draft Thoughts

I'm very iffy about he Bears' draft. Jason Cole at Yahoo! Sports gave them a "C". It seems like a fair grade. Obviously you never know who pans out and who doesn't, but I have to say that in reading about their picks there are some real "red flags." Shea McClellin may be a good player, but he is a hybrid player who may end up being good a few positions, but not really a great player. Their new receiver from South Carolina has some issues with work ethic (apparenty). Their new safety from Oregon State missed last season because of injury. Sure, they may all be good, but they may also be busts.

I'm not really down on the picks, but I'm not super excited about them either. We'll see.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Shea McLellin is a Bear

Boise State's Shea McLellin is the Bears' first round draft choice. Don't know much about him, but he seems like a good pick.

He is a guy who can play rush defensive end and all the linebacker spots. He was originally considered a 3rd to 6th round pick, but he has apparently been moving up for weeks and had worked his way up to the late first or second round.

His motor is good and he has good hands. I like that he can play multiple spots - at Boise he even played some middle linebacker so he may be someone who could eventually replace Urlacher. That said, he better be an 8-12 sack performer this year. The Bears need to get contributors in the first round - not projects.

I am cautiously optimistic. We'll see how he does in minicamps and training camp.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

NFL Draft Tonight

The Bears look like they are going to draft a defensive end with their first pick. Whitney Mercilus out of Illinois or Nick Perry out of USC seem like their men. Mercilus appears to be popular with the Bears fan base because he is local. Going with a DE makes a lot of sense because after Peppers, Iodonije is OK, but there isn't much left after them. Corey Wooten has been great in preseason the last two years but he has gotten hurt and ended up missing the last two seasons. He is channeling his inner Malcolm Kelly. With Peppers and Izzy getting older, and the division so pass happy with Detroit and Green Bay, an impact DE would be great.

Obviously Luck and RGIII are going 1 and 2, but then we'll see. Should be good TV tonight.

Caps Win Game 7

Just an incredible game last night. It was a perfect end to one of the greatest NHL playoff series ever. Every game was decided by one goal with four games going into OT - including Game 7. I was on the edge of my seat throughout. Dale Hunter must be smiling today that his philosophy beat the high-scoring Bruins and that the game winning goal was scored by Joel Ward - a grinder of a player, similar to Hunter in his playing days (although Hunter had way more penalty minutes).

Couple of thoughts - it is going to be interesting to see what happens with Ovechkin going forward. His minutes were cut way down because he gets lost on the defensive end too often. The Caps are going to need him to make plays, but finding the right balance with their system is going to be interesting to watch.

Second, will Alexander Semin continue to look like he cares throughout the playoffs. When the guy is on, he is a real force. When he is not, he is a major liability. He was great in the series.

Third, can Holtby continue his stellar play. He was awesome throughout most of the entire series. He had one or two bad goals, but he certainly outplayed Tim Thomas. Great goaltending is a must to win the Stanley Cup and right now Braden Holtby is providing it.

Finally, who and where do the Caps play next? I cannot wait.

Monday, April 23, 2012

NFL Draft

Thursday night will be interesting. The NFL has really found ways to keep folks interested year round. For the Bears, they have had a very good off-season so far. They have 3 of the first 79 picks. I'd like to see them go with a rush defensive end, a corner, a linebacker, and an offensive lineman. Any 3 of those 4 would be fine with me. After the draft, I'm sure there will be some additional movement in the free agent market, but for now, all eyes are moving to the draft. Can't wait.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Ted Nugent is a Nut

The guy is weird, but in his on mind he views himself as a patriot. He is encouraging violence against the President of the U.S. I certainly don't think of him as a spokesman for the Republican Party, but I do believe there are far too many people in this country who hold the view that the President should somehow be taken down.

I know he refers to November and you could say he is talking about the election, but he is also essentially calling for armed revolt if President Obama is re-elected. Unacceptable.

Bears Schedule

I love the Bears 2012 schedule.

We start against the lowly Colts at home, then get the Pack on the road on Thursday night. Then it is home against the Rams, and then on the road against the Cowboys (night game) and Jacksonville. The Bears should be 4-1 after five games and then get their bye week.

Coming off the bye it is the Lions, Panthers, Titans, and Texans (only the Titans are on the road). I would say 3-1 during that stretch is quite possible.

The next 4 are at the 49ers, Vikings and Seahawks at home, and then at the Vikings (3-1).

We close out with the Pack at Soldier Field and then the Cards and Lions on the road (1-2).

I like the Bears to go 11-5 and make the playoffs this year - in large part because the schedule looks favorable.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Lance Briggs Extended

Briggs got an additional $7 million guarantee that will make him a Bear through 2014. It is a nice chunk of change. I'd like to see them give Urlacher a one year extension.

Forte has a fair offer on the table or he can sign the Franchise tender. Either way he is going to get paid and he is going to play for the Bears this year.

Arrest in Trayvon Martin Case

Not surprising to me, but George Zimmerman was arrested and charged with 2nd degree murder.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

120,000 Jobs Created

Another month of job growth. It was not as good a month as we would like to see, but it is continued growth. The unemployment rate dipped to 8.2 percent. If we continue to get six figure job growth each month we'll see unemployment fall to around 7 percent by the end of the year. That would be a major accomplishment, given how bad things were about 2 years ago.

Friday, April 06, 2012

Tiger Woods

Tiger shot an even par 72 yesterday. He was having a pretty decent round - scoring wise - and then bogeyed the last two holes. He had trouble hitting greens in regulation, but his putting was solid. If he can get his swing together today he should be in pretty good shape. Scoring seems to be good today, so the weather and the pin locations must be pretty favorable.

It looks like the leaders will be around -6 after today. Tiger is going to want to shoot a 70 or better to put himself in good shape to make a move tomorrow and then have a chance on Sunday.

It is good to see him playing better - I would just love to see another Sunday charge by Tiger at Augusta. Winning his 5th Green Jacket would be awesome. It would be good for Tiger and great for golf.

Bears Get Some Corners

Not huge signings, but the Bears signed Kelvin Hayden (Indy/Atlanta) and Jonathan Wilhite (New England) to 1-year contracts. They are both vets who should be able to compete with Tim Jennings for a starting spot (Charles Tillman should be safe at one corner spot).

I like Kelvin Hayden, but he hurt his neck and missed 2010 for Indy and then played in Atlanta before getting hurt and missing 8 games. If he is healthy he is a 6-foot starting corner in the NFL - the question is can he stay healthy.

The Bears will likely draft another corner/safety in the later rounds of the draft, but now they seem like they have enough bodies so that they don't have to worry about depth. Tillman is getting older, but should still be able to play. D.J. Moore is a very good nickel corner and is a playmaker. Jennings is a tough player but he is short and slower. The Bears still need more, but I am much more comfortable today than I was a couple of days ago.

Monday, April 02, 2012

Election Thoughts

There is a news story out today about President Obama's decided advantage among likely women voters in battleground states. Not completely surprising as women tend to vote for Democrats. When you add in the silly Republican position that they took against birth control and Rush Limbaugh's comments about Sandra Fluke the gap is pretty understandable.

Hispanics and the largely energized 12+ percent of African American voters certainly will go overwhelmingly Obama.

Younger voters will also go overwhelmingly for Obama.

The msjority of the Southern bloc will remain Republican, but Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida will all easily be in play with at least 2 probably going to Obama. The Rust Belt may have looked better for Republicans when the economy was still tanking and the car industry was struggling - but both are looking up. Romney's position on the auto bailouts will kill him in Michigan and Ohio - so those are not looking too good for him.

There is a lot of time before the election, but it is hard to see how Romney will ever build enough support to win the election. He still is not trusted by more conservative Republicans - so he will suffer from an enthusiasm gap. Add to that the stark positions Republicans have been spouting over the last few months and it is difficult to see why independents would break toward the Republican Party - especially with the economy and jobs outlook improving. At this point things are looking like another landslide victory for President Obama.

Trayvon Martin Case Updates

There is really no question that the local police botched the whole case. They did not do a toxicology test on Zimmerman (he sounds messed up on his recorded call to police).

Zimmerman claimed he had a broken nose and was bleeding from being attacked - but the police video of him coming into the station showed no visible injuries (certainly if he had serious injuries like he claimed he would have gone to the emergency room - but that didn't happen).

Now 2 eminent audio experts - working independently - have determined that the voice that was calling out for help that can be heard in 911 tapes was not Zimmerman. The only thing we can conclude is that it was Trayvon Martin who was calling for help before being shot in front of his own house.

Zimmerman is going to face a grand jury and justice will be served. It is just remarkable how badly the case was botched by police.