Quick Shots for Sunday, Aug. 31.
Bob Babich looks like the new Rex Grossman, the fall guy for anything that goes wrong for the Bears.
Chicago’s defensive coordinator is not just Lovie Smith’s friend; the players like him, too. But will they play for him? The defense fell apart last year, but it was hamstrung by injuries and a turnover-prone offense. The defense had no excuses this preseason, yet looked worse than ever and fans and media are already pointing fingers at Babich.
It’s only preseason. Quick Shots expects the Bears to play solid defense once the season begins. But if they don’t, those boos you hear on Sundays will be for the man behind the defense, not the defense itself.
Bears err in cutting Manning Jr.
The Bears don’t learn quickly. Last year, GM Jerry Angelo traded away Chris Harris because of a supposed surplus of safeties. Harris started at Carolina and signed a long-term contract while Chicago’s secondary fell apart under a rash of injuries. Now the Bears have cut former nickel back Ricky Manning, Jr.
Manning should never have been demoted, period. No, he can’t play corner on the outside, but he’s been solid at nickel. New starter Danieal Manning is unproven and has shown little signs of having the instincts to play nickel. Worse, Chicago’s safety depth is now at risk, and starters Mike Brown and Brandon McGowan are constant injury risks.
Foreign players show class
The LPGA will require golfers with at least two years on tour to learn and speak English or risk getting booted off the tour. And here’s the kicker: the LPGA’s many Korean players aren’t complaining.
"We agree we should speak some English," Se Ri Pak told Golfweek magazine. "We play so good overall. When you win, you should give your speech in English."
Good for her. But bad for the LPGA, which comes off as petulant that its tour is dominated by non-Americans.
Land where too good is bad
A youth baseball team in Connecticut banned 9-year-old Jericho Scott because he threw too hard at 40 mph. This is the same state that suspends high school football coaches if their teams win by more than 50 points. The Bears’ offense should move to Connecticut; only in the Land Where The Best Can’t Play are Kyle Orton and Rex Grossman likely to stand tall.
Hanie, Bradley should be Bears
It seems hard to believe Mark Bradley and Caleb Hanie are considered bubble picks to make the Bears’ roster. The Bears will surely lose Hanie to another team if they try to put him on their practice squad. Bradley would have spectacular preseason numbers if Rex Grossman hadn’t twice overthrown him when he was wide open for would-be long TD passes.
The QB who got away
Remember when Kurt Warner wanted to be a Bear, but Chicago told him he’d have zero chance to start? Well, he again beat out former Heisman winner Matt Leinart, who threw three interceptions in 12 passes against Oakland last week. Last year, in only 14 games for Arizona, Warner threw for 3,417 yards with 27 TDs. Those numbers would have ranked second and third in Chicago’s 88-year history and his 89.8 passer rating would have been the best in 12 seasons. Jerry Angelo’s biggest mistake is never letting a veteran passer challenge Rex Grossman or Kyle Orton for the starting job in training camp.
Matt Trowbridge can be reached at (815) 987-1383 or firstname.lastname@example.org.