Monday, May 01, 2006

Baby Bulls Growing Up

OK, I'm back and finally returning to the exciting world of blogging. Did you miss me? Don't answer that...

I'll have some thoughts on Seattle in a bit, but first, let me catch up on some sports shizzle...

- Da Bulls, baby. Da Bulls.

The Bulls are right where they need to be. 2-2. Not many people figured this series would be knotted up after four games, but here we sit. Meanwhile, the Heat is imploding. Dudes are being ejected, technicals fouls are flying, Shaq is being fined for bitching about the refs, and yesterday the Heat huddle looked liked a bunch of NASCAR girlfriends, which isn't all that surprising when Gary Payton is around. Yap, yap, yap.

It's funny. All of a sudden the national media is shocked - absolutely shocked! - that the Bulls can actually dribble a basketball. But like I've been saying all season, the Bulls are close - so friggin' close, so close it's been maddening, though highly refreshing to finally see it all coming together over the past few weeks. It's always fun to witness a team as it takes the next step. I imagine it's a bit like having kids. You were there when it happened. Your patience paid off. You love it, every little step or dump in the toilet. Da Baby Bulls. The Bulls are THIS close to being good, really good. The common perception is that they need a superstar, a go-to scorer, before they're legit, and while there is some truth in that, the current lineup can flat play.

Nocioni. Hinrich. Gordon. Deng. Suddenly, these guys are becoming household names. Suddenly, that one thing I've been waiting for and begging for - games where they're all productive instead of guys taking turns in a leadership role - is happening. And it's beautiful to watch. They're all playing the same time. It's all coming together. Finally.

The Bulls could have won both games in Miami. They didn't, but they could have. They were right there and that's important. Their confidence should be boiling as they head back to Miami for Game Five on Tuesday night. I see no reason why the Bulls can't win down there and then wrap the series up back in Chitown. Yes, I realize how absurd it seems to believe the Bulls can beat the Heat in four straight games, but then, it really isn't absurd at all. It can be done. Of course, it'll help if Tyson Chandler's ankle holds up - and he says he'll be ready to go - but anything is possible, with or without Chandler. Luke Schensher is just waiting on the bench, patiently, ominously, like a hired assassin willing to kill.

Here we go now.

- The Bears draft.

I've long considered Jerry Angelo a clueless buffoon. Naturally, last year's division title tempered my dislike of the guy a bit, so I'm going to hold off on being overly critical of the Bears draft.

The main reason for this is that, really, the players picked are so anonymous. Last year, I was raging against the light because the Bears passed Mike Williams for Cedric Benson when Thomas Jones was already on board in the backfield. That rage proved to be not altogether misplaced when Benson was a holdout and a bust (thus far), T-Jones was splendid, and the Bears had very few dudes who could catch a ball, Mushin Muhammad included. Point is, I had a definite opinion. This year? My only question is, Who the $%#@ is Danieal Manning and where the $%#@ is Abilene Christian?

I have two immediate concerns regarding Manning:

1) Abilene Christian to the NFL is a big jump. A monstrous jump. Surely, he has faced nothing like he will on weekly basis come the fall.
2) Mannning pronounces his weirdly-spelled first name like a girl, as in author Danielle Steele, and not as in Daniel Boone. Clearly, his parens were insane. The guy must have been picked on relentlessly in school, which, come to think of it, may have given him a surly, angry nature, which would be just fine with me.

That said, Manning can play corner or safety, which as Steve Smith and the Panthers pointed out painfully in the playoffs, the Bears need desperately. As dominant as the Bears defense was lat year, the secondary proved to be a weakness when it mattered most. It's thin. Manning can help here.

He's also fast and can return kicks, another area the Bears struggled in last year. Hey, remember whenn Bobby wade had nine fumbles in the return game by about Week Six? Yeah, that sucked.

Second pick, Devin Hester, will also help in the return game. In fact, he should do so more than Manning since he's considered more of a pure athlete than a guy with an actual position, though he's listed as a cornerback. The Bears have long lacked a dude like Hester. You know, one of those guys who is just crazy gifted physically and can turn a game on its head with one big play here or there. Even if Hester is nonexistent in the secondary but can have an impact in the return game, I'll be happy. I just want a dude waiting back there who gives you the feeling he can go all the way every time he steps on the field. When's the last time the Bears had a guy like that?

Of course, Hester was considered a bit of a disppointment at Miami. I recall hearing about him last year as a Heisman candidate. Then he disappeared. I didn't hear his name again until the Bears selected him. Whatever. Let the dude catch some punts and kickoffs and run, run, run.

Dusty Dvoracek is the one Bears pick I legitimately like. Yeah, I know he had some problems with alcohol at Oklahoma, but he was in college and you need to be a bit nuts to play in the middle of the defensive line. Everytime I saw Oklahoma play, Dvoracek was active and animated. He's a bit of a loose cannon. He's into it. He seems to have the proverbial "motot that never stops running." I like that. And with the flowing hair, maybe, just maybe, Dvoracek can fill the role of the "deranged mofo in the middle of the defense" that Steve McMichael made famous in Chicago. Now that, my friends, would be awesome. Dvoracek played with Tommie Harris for the Sooners and with Tank Johnson currently a) nuring an injury that will keep him out of training camp, and b) seemingly unable to avoid trouble with the law, the Dvoracek pick looks solid.

The rest of the Bears picks? Who knows? I don't know much, if anything, about any of them. Supposedly, Jamar Williams can play any linebacker position, which is nice. As for the rest, let's just hope for the best.

Of course, the Bears biggest need, a tight end who actually, you know, does something productive every once in awhile, went unaddressed. I'm just going to sit here and simmer and wait for the urge to hit things to subside. This may take a while.

- Da White Sox, baby. Da White Sox.

The Pale Hose finished April with the best record in the majors. Factor in that pesky little 1-4 start to the campaign and so far it's all good. They have a weird schedule this week with a two-game series with Cleveland followed by a two-game series with Seattle. I would love to see the Sox beat the Indians today and tomorrow and widen that gap atop the standings.

Here we go now.


Blogger White Silk said...

Good to see you're back and bloggin' away.

The knock against D-Hester at "the U" was that he was too stupid to remember the playbook so, as much positive hype there is about his athleticism (which is obscene by the way), it's his brains which truly limit this kid.

Whether he ever touches the field on DEE or even as a WR in a Bear uniform remains to be seen but I think it's safe to say there isn't much brain power, playbook-remembering necessary when returning kickoffs and/or punts.

I imagine a conversation going something like this..."Just go out, catch the punted ball and run like the goddamn wind, son - that's why we drafted you in the Deuce!!"

Pro-Bowl kickoff returner within 5 years? It's certainly possible with the 4.3 speed Hester possesses.

You somehow forgot to mention the best part about this weekend's draft, though! Watching scumbag Leinart sitting in the Green Room, waiting for his name to be called, all the while 9 other stars passed his punk-ass by....the look on his face when V-Young was drafted 3 by the Titans was priceless!

12:55 PM  
Blogger UnknownColumn said...

As long as Hester runs like he stole something and stays out of trouble, I don't care if what he scored on his Wonderlic.

As for Leinart, he may have lost a few dollars in his slide, but he may have fell into a good thing in Arizona. He has Edgarrin James, two filthy-good WRs and a brand-new stadium to play in. Sure, it's the luckless Cards, but that doesn't sound like a bad situation. Plus, Dennis Green is a decent coach.

Of course, anyone who goes to the Cards is doomed to least until Bidwell sells and takes his garbage with him.

1:25 PM  
Blogger UnknownColumn said...

By the way, I wouldn't be surprised if Cutler is better than both Young and Leinart. Amy dude who can be successful at Vandy must have something good going.

Him and Hunter Hillenmeyer.

1:34 PM  
Blogger White Silk said...

Bear in mind (no pun intended, seriously) I made no mention of Hester's Wonderlic test scores. All I said was that dude didn't get many plays at "the U" because he couldn't remember the friggin' plays.

At one point, Larry Coker went on record saying that "..Hester has more God-given talent than anyone I have ever coached...yet he cannot remember our playbook..." Not good!

But for a punt returner, dude doesn't need to remember anything other than run North-South (literally) and behind the dudes with the suave C's on their helmets! I think he can do that......

2:42 PM  
Blogger UnknownColumn said...

Yeah, I only mentioned his Wonderlic after all the buzz about Vince Young's score.

You would think that when you're being paid good money to play football, as Hester was at Miami (hahaha!), you could find the time to learn the playbook, at least in a general sense. Or maybe not. Those thing are fat.

If the playbook is a problem, maybe WR is a better position for him than CB. You know, just to get the ball in his hands and tell him to GO THAT WAY! I'd hate to see him screw up a coverage because he didn't know where he needed to be.

3:40 PM  

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