Jarvis Landry for Jordan Howard is a No Go, But that’s Okay

We all know that I am a big fan of Jarvis Landry, but I would not trade him for Jordan Howard. There is no point in doing this. It is obvious that the Dolphins don’t want him even though they franchised tagged him. As much as I wish he could be a Chicago Bear, there isn’t a reasonable trade for him.

So, my dreams of having Landry on the Bears this season have been squashed.

But that is not why I’m here today. I’m here today because I want to talk about Howard. Recently, I’ve been noticing a lot of unnecessary hate directed towards him from Bears’ fans.

I’m here to tell you his game speaks for itself, but just in case it isn’t clear, I’m going to explain to you why it should be. First of all, he is a runner that doesn’t give up on a play. Howard will either run over a defender or make him mess. Either way, he is going to produce.

Now, I will say he does need work in the passing game, but that is his only flaw. Other than that, he is a complete running back.

Also, we shouldn’t be so quick to judge a player that has only been in the league for two seasons. He is still learning and I wouldn’t put it past him to make a big step this season in the passing game.

And if he doesn’t, at least we still have this guy:

Tarik Cohen will definitely have a big impact in coach Matt Nagy’s system, which will be in large part due to his combination of speed and agility that is accompanied with his ability to catch anything that touches his hands.

I’m sure he can help alleviate some of Howard’s duties in the passing game.

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Power Through the Bulls’ Losses

I know it’s hard to watch sometimes, but keep in mind the Chicago Bulls are losing to try to capture sustained success. I also realize that it is difficult to be patient. Especially, while watching their recent games, which almost makes it seem like it is impossible to catch even a glimmer of the light at the end of the tunnel, but I promise you it’s there.

The Good

Overall

First of all, it should be noted that the Bulls are better than their recent play should suggest. We need to keep in account that Justin Holiday and Robin Lopez aren’t playing as many minutes as they should or none at all. So, if you ever had any doubts about their importance to the Bulls success, the evidence should now be pretty clear to see.

Whether you can see it or not. The Bulls have talent. It’s that plain and simple. They’re just not utilizing it to win right now.

Going forward, the many pieces that need to remain for sustained success are:

  • Zach LaVine
  • Lauri Markkanen
  • Kris Dunn
  • Justin Holiday
  • Robin Lopez
  • David Nwaba
  • Bobby Portis

Another piece that you’re going to see breakout next season is Antonio Blakeney. Many people don’t know it yet, but he is going to be a crucial asset in the Bulls rebuild. Just give him time and pay attention to his play in the G League.

Lauri Markkanen

Over the season, his play has turned some heads. He is even known to some as the Finnisher, due to his high-flying dunks.

Markannen has some intangibles that are very promising for a rookie. He shoots the three-point shot better than almost any has ever had. He is the quickest player ever to reach 100 three-point shots.

The only aspect of Markkanen’s game that is slowing him down is his strength. He does need to get stronger, but there is no doubt in my mind that he will.

It should also be noted that he is only 20 years old. I’m sure as his career progresses, his strength will as well.

Noah Vonleh

Surprisingly, Vonleh has been making the most of his time on the court. While playing only 15 minutes per game, Vonleh has been averaging 5.4 rebounds and 5.2 points. These aren’t world-beating numbers, but they do help a team that is struggling to get second-chance points.

Interestingly enough, Vonleh’s offense and defense have been standing out in a good way.

Offensively, he has put his improved skills on display. On Tuesday, Feb. 27, Vonleh showed that he has a few tricks up his sleeve while playing the Charlotte Hornets. Cody Zeller was not ready.

Vonleh has also been showing that his defense is not one to be taken lightly. While switching to Jamal Crawford off of a screen, he showed what his fast hands could do.

It seems to me that Vonleh has been playing with a purpose. He definitely should be getting more minutes than Cristiano Felicio, but there’s difference between the two of them. The Bulls are paying Felicio $8 million, which is the reason why they’re playing him.

Sources

https://pippenainteasy.com/2018/02/27/grading-chicago-bulls-60-games/

http://gleague.nba.com/player/antonio-blakeney/

https://www.basketball-reference.com/players/v/vonleno01.html#per_game::none

Bears Needs: Linebackers

Great defenses always seem to have one thing in common, great linebackers. With the Bears releasing Pernell McPhee and Jerrell Freeman, they have some openings at the linebacker position. Ryan Pace is going to have to fill the current need of an edge rusher and an inside linebacker.

If they’re going to look in the draft to fill these positions, there are a few players that Pace should consider.

Roquan Smith

All-American and 2017 Southeastern Conference Defensive Player of the Year, Smith has already proven he knows how to do his job. He looks like he is going to be a special talent. So, why not for the Bears?

Acquiring Smith would be great for the Bears’ defense. His skill set and physical abilities are second to none.

What intrigues me most about his game, is his ability to play man and zone coverage. In general, most players are usually good at either one or the other. Smith is skilled in both, which is extremely rare for a linebacker.

Also, for a player with his type of speed, he is very patient. This is interesting because most of the time players with these abilities like to quickly rush in to make plays. Smith has found the importance of waiting and making not only, the right play, but the best play.

Arden Key

He reminds me a lot of Leonard Floyd. So, pairing them together would be a pretty good idea. The two edge rushers would cause a lot of havoc for opposing quarterbacks because the pocket would collapse very quickly and frequently.

A combination of Floyd and Key would be a great one-two punch. Key’s speed is lightning quick, especially for someone his size. And this quickness puts the offensive tackles guarding him under a lot of stress because more often than not, Key is putting them on skates.

Trying to stop him with a tight end will not be good enough either. Key will overpower just about anyone at the position. His combination of size and speed will be too much for them.

He would be a great addition to this growing Bears team.

Sources

http://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/22588015/chicago-bears-release-linebacker-pernell-mcphee-safety-quintin-demps

https://fansided.com/2018/02/26/chicago-bears-needs-2018-offseason-free-agency-draft-trade/2/

https://www.sports-reference.com/cfb/players/roquan-smith-1.html

Analysis: Bulls Fall to Timberwolves

The Chicago Bulls went to Minneapolis to go up against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Some might say that the game didn’t go as planned for the Bulls, but I think it went exactly the way they had planned it to. Robin Lopez and Justin Holiday both sat out against the Timberwolves. So to me, it looked like they were trying to lose, but that’s okay.

Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg is doing the right thing. He knows the Bulls have no chance in the playoffs. The best action for the team to take is to lose and evaluate the talent that is already on their roster.

The good and the bad of the Bulls overall play.

Starting off with the good, the Bulls young players are playing with a lot of confidence. Normally, this is a good thing, but sometimes it takes a toll on their team play.

Watching the Bulls play you can see that they have the capability of moving the ball well because they do for certain spans of the game. The problem is that when they play without a leader, they lose their sense of rhythm. It quickly becomes a game of me and not a game of we.

If the Bulls want to be more successful, they really need to work on keeping focus for the whole game. It would also be nice to get some second-chance points. During the game, on the offensive side of the ball, the Bulls had no one on the inside of the arc to get a potential rebound.

There are too many lost possessions. It almost felt like the Bulls were giving away points to the Timberwolves.

David Nwaba

It almost seems like Nwaba has been getting better and better everytime he plays. Especially, on the offensive side of the ball. He had 14 points and nine rebounds in 34 minutes against the Timberwolves.

At the beginning of the season, Nwaba was seen as a very one-dimensional player. All of his value was sourced from his defense, but now he is showing that he is more than that.

Against the Timberwolves, Nwaba put his offensive game on display. He showed his ability to finish around the basket. Defenders don’t anticipate his speed very well, and Nwaba takes advantage of that.

He seems to be learning a lot about himself. He knows that his speed causes defenses to foul him when he attacks the basket. So, he takes advantage of it. Nwaba is a valuable piece. He may not be a starter because of Zach LaVine, but definitely a solid sixth man.

Noah Vonleh

While facing the Timberwolves, Vonleh actually looked like he had something to bring to the table. He only played 14 minutes, but he did a lot in those minutes. Vonleh recorded six rebounds and eight points.

I’m not saying he is the next best thing. I’m just saying that he had a good outing.

He was a little stiff, but he wasn’t at all when he went up for rebounds and that was exactly what the Bulls needed. Vonleh gave the Bulls life in an aspect of the game that looked almost dead to them. It was nice to see someone go up for some boards.

Sources

https://www.google.com/search?rlz=1C1JZAP_en&ei=as6SWv-NFMPP5gLTh4HwCQ&q=bulls&oq=bulls&gs_l=psy-ab.3..0i67k1j0i131k1j0j0i131k1j0l2j0i131k1j0i67k1l2j0.1737580.1739138.0.1739878.7.7.0.0.0.0.308.987.0j3j1j1.5.0….0…1c.1.64.psy-ab..2.5.985….0.VTySPVzQ_As#sie=m;/x/39t9q5pfrqx_2;3;/m/05jvx;dt;fp;1

 

Bears’ Defensive Players to Hold on to

The Chicago Bears have problems that need to be addressed, but that doesn’t mean that all of their players need to be forgotten. There were many players that showed promise from last season. Ultimately, Ryan Pace needs to find out who the Bears should re-invest in, to continue to build their team.

Kyle Fuller

A big question that needs to be addressed is should the Bears re-sign Kyle Fuller. I believe they should. Throughout the whole season, Fuller showed that he could play at an elite level.

Consistency was key for Fuller. He played very well against the run and did not get exposed while covering receivers. Vic Fangio’s system and Fuller seem to go hand in hand

The Bears should re-sign him. If they don’t, it sends a message to their team that working hard to become a better player goes unnoticed. If Fuller does not deserve to be re-signed, then I don’t know who does.

Christian Jones

He has proven himself to be a very effective player. It almost seems like everytime Jones hit the field, he got better. He seems to have tremendous upside, which is saying something considering the numbers he had posted last season. Jones had 90 tackles, two sacks and two passes defended.

I really do believe he is going to develop into a solid player. If the Bears want to sign him they’re probably going to have to give him a better contract than his previous one, which was a one-year deal worth $1.5 million.

Prince Amukamara

He isn’t a number one, but the Bears shouldn’t ask him to be. Amukamara is a solid number two starter. In the NFL, there is a lot to be said about consistent and dependable players. Amukamara is one of those players.

He is an important piece because he makes the routine plays routinely. The Bears don’t need flashy players. They just need players that can do their job, and a seven-year veteran like Amukamara will do that, and not at an overbearing price. Due to this, Pace should consider bringing him back this offseason.

Sources

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/football/bears/ct-spt-bears-biggs-free-agents-20180210-story.html

http://www.espn.com/blog/chicago-bears/post/_/id/4707755/kyle-fuller-represents-bears-biggest-free-agent-decision

Bulls’ New Leader, Zach LaVine

The Chicago Bulls have a new sheriff in town. His name is Zach LaVine. After coming off of tearing his ACL, he is still getting acclimated to playing hefty minutes. Although, LaVine has shown a lot of promise in the minutes he has played in.

In a recent game against his former team, the Minnesota Timberwolves, LaVine had a stellar performance. He posted 35 points and 11 of those came in the 4th quarter to put the Bulls over the top for a 114-113 victory.

In the next game, against the Orlando Magic, LaVine scored 18 points, had five assists and seven rebounds. He had a very well-rounded game, but this is not what made his play so impressive. It was the fact that he once again performed in the clutch to help his team win the game in back-to-back performances.

LaVine has shown that he could be trusted to take control of the game when necessary. His early play has been crucial to the Bulls’ success. Against the Magic, he proved this again by stealing the ball off of an inbound pass and scoring off of the fast break to help cement the Bulls’ 105-101 victory.

LaVine is an important piece of the Bulls’ rebuild. He is a player with tremendous offensive skill. His perimeter scoring is among the league’s best and he is very good at driving to the basket. Every team needs a player that can take control of a game and the Bulls have found their player.

Sources

https://www.sbnation.com/2018/2/12/17006686/zach-lavine-gamewinner-bulls-vs-magic-jonathon-simmons-turnover

https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nba/2018/02/10/lavine-scores-35-bulls-beat-butler-timberwolves-114-113/110285632/

https://www.basketball-reference.com/players/l/lavinza01.html#per_game::none

https://www.google.com/search?q=bulls&rlz=1C1JZAP_en&oq=bulls&aqs=chrome.0.69i59j0l5.1665j1j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8#sie=m;/x/398c3p46xh_k9;3;/m/05jvx;dt;fp;1

https://www.google.com/search?q=bulls&rlz=1C1JZAP_en&oq=bulls&aqs=chrome.0.69i59j0l5.1665j1j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8#sie=m;/x/31wk_pf5tj7rm;3;/m/05jvx;dt;fp;1

2018 NFL Draft Prospects: Wide Receivers With a Lot of Potential

In the upcoming 2018 NFL draft, the Bears really need to work on their offense. There are a lot of wide receivers that can do some damage and help revitalize the Bears’ passing game. In my last Bears blog post, I gave my opinion on three wide receivers that I believe the Bears should target earlier in the draft. Although, there is some talent that could be acquired later on in the draft.

Marcell Ateman from Oklahoma State

He is 6 feet 4 inches tall and uses that height to his advantage. Ateman could do a lot for a team. Scoring via the jump ball is one of his specialties. Often times it is too hard for defenders to get in good position while covering him. Ateman has what you can’t teach, height.

One aspect of Ateman’s game that sets him apart from others, is his ability to perform in the red zone. He is just too strong and quick for defenders. If he is able to create space and hold onto the ball like he did in college, then Ateman is going to be a valuable weapon in the NFL.

UCLA’s Jordan Lasley

Lasley is another wide receiver with size. Although, his size isn’t what impresses me the most. It’s his ability to make plays. Lasley runs really clean routes and makes excellent cuts. He is pretty fast too. His route running gets a lot better when he quickly changes gear to create separation.

For Lasley being tough is an understatement. He is always going to fight for the extra yard and if a defender is going to tackle him they’re going to have to get a good piece of him. Arm tackles are not going to work for this man. He isn’t going to give up on a play and players with that kind of heart know how to play the game.

Steve Ishmael from Syracuse

Ishmael is 6 feet 2 inches tall and fast. He is a high effort player. It doesn’t matter how he is covered or how many defenders are covering him, he is going to make a play. His mind-boggling ability to locate the ball is impressive, but his ability to then catch the ball is much more admirable.

Sources

http://walterfootball.com/draft2018WR.php