RSS

Tag Archives: Training Camp

Does Preseason Even Matter, Bro?

Jay-Cutler-BearsDoes preseason even matter? Of course it does. It has to matter. We have all been following the Bears, or our favorite team that isn’t the Bears for some reason, through training camp. We have been hearing about Jay Cutler’s improvements on the field, Lance Briggs is getting his head in the game and picking up for the now absent Brian Urlacher, and reports of Kyle Long’s rising star has become more than a murmur in sports news. The first preseason game against the Panthers is tomorrow, and we know the starts will remain on the bench for the most part. So, why do we care about preseason football? The games don’t count toward the season’s standings, we generally don’t see the stars play until perhaps the fourth game, and the games really don’t tell much about the season that’s waiting in the wings for the most part.

Everyday I'm Shufflin

Everyday I’m Shufflin

For example, the 1985 Chicago Bears lost all but one of their preseason games. Their regular season was a steam train of wins with the exception of their one loss to Dan Marino and the Miami Dolphins. They then went on to win Super Bowl XX, the only Super Bowl that has ever mattered in the history of Super Bowls. The 2012 Chicago Bears won all but one of their preseason games and finished third in their division behind the Vikings and the Packers, leaving the Detroit Lions in fourth place. Speaking of the Detroit Lions, in 2008 the Lions had a flawless preseason record and went on to be the only team in NFL history to lose every single regular season game.

Smells Like Team Spirit

Smells Like Team Spirit

The NFL itself has hinted at changing the preseason format for years. The 2013 preseason may cause them to reconstruct the preseason and regular season games. Turning two preseason games into two regular season games will draw more fans, get more television coverage, create a longer season, and ultimately draw more revenue from two regular season game ticket sales (as opposed to cheaper preseason games) and from advertisements during nationally televised games. Whereas increasing the number of regular season games, even by two, would create a much more interesting season of football (because who doesn’t want more regular season football?), it is going to take the support of the players and the players’ union to make it happen, so for now it is still a mere rumor.

Bear Down!

Bear Down!

For now, however, preseason is on and it’s on tomorrow! The Bears face the Panthers at seven o’clock, and we want to make sure you are doing your fan duties and getting your Bears swag ready for regular season. We want to help you with that duty. On our Facebook, we are having a Bears Tailgate Giveaway and want to give a lucky Bears fan a new Bears shirt, Bears knit cap, Bears coozy, and Bears shot glass. Head over to our Facebook page, like our page, and answer today’s trivia question to have your name put in the hat for our drawing. Contest ends August 23rd and there will be plenty of opportunities between now and then to enter our contest. Bear down, Bears fans, and GET READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL!

Advertisements
 
 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

We Put Our Faith in Lance Briggs!

Brigg Business

Brigg Business

Since the departure of Brian Urlacher, Nick Roach, and Lovie Smith, the question hanging over the heads of football fans has been over how the defensive line will perform after such drastic change to the team. A lot of pressure has been put on linebacker Lance Briggs, and Briggs has volunteered himself for the responsibility of running the plays of the defensive line, keeping the line tight, and mentoring the rookies while making sure veteran players are focused and challenged by his leadership.

Brigg Trouble In Little Chi

Brigg Trouble In Little Chi

First, the concern about how Briggs would handle the pressure seems a little overdramatic. He has been a solid, key player for the Chicago Bears for over a decade, almost as long as Urlacher. Briggs has played twenty-five games in his career without Urlacher and was just fine. This included 2009 when Urlacher missed 15 games, the same year Briggs went to the Pro Bowl. He has missed four games in ten years. The challenge is not going to be whether or not Briggs can handle being relied on to run a defensive line; the challenge is how Briggs will manage a line of veterans and rookies under the guidance of a new coaching staff. Briggs has core teammates like Charles Tillman, Julius Peppers, and Tim Jennings returning, so the gaping absences will not be that difficult to adjust to in reality. Balancing veterans like D.J. Williams and James Anderson with rookies like Jon Bostic and Khaseem Greene means using his leadership abilities with the old dogs and the new recruits.

The Brigg Chill

The Brigg Chill

His performance in training camp has brought a lot of success and Briggs recognizes when he’s fallen short or made a bad call, hoping to keep getting sharper and maintaing and building on the progress he has made. Defensive coordinator, Mel Tucker, said Briggs’s performance is “a work in progress, but it’s been getting progressively better and that’s what you want to see.” Briggs himself recognizes the challenge before him and said, “It’s different. You’ve been in a system for a long time. You’re told to change and do things a different way. It just takes time.”

The Brigg Chill

The Brigg Bang

Time is fleeting. With a week until preseason football and a month until regular season, now is the time to focus on getting skills sharpened and players focused. With this team the Bears have a shot at a Wild Card spot in the playoffs, and with Briggs leading the defense the Bears are going to be a threat. Briggs has been helping the new coaches learn the Bears system, mentoring and guiding the rookies, and rebuilding a slightly fractured yet determined defensive line. We put our faith in Lance Briggs because he’s the Bear with the talent, focus, drive, and leadership skills to drive this team to victory.

BEAR DOWN!

BEAR DOWN!

As we prepare for Bears season to begin, we are running our Bears Tailgating Giveaway! Jump over to our Facebook page, give us a like, and enter your name in the drawing to win these sweet prizes! Contest ends August 23rd, so Bear Down and get on board with this great giveaway today!

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Blackhawks and Cubbies and Bears, OH MY!

Even through the dog days of summer, the sports keep going and, as Sonny and Cher once said, the beat goes on. Even though we are in the off seasons of most sports, there is still a lot of news coming down the pipes about our favorite sports teams.

Hockey

Going for the Gold!

Going for the Gold!

The post-2013 season has the Blackhawks focusing on adjusting to a new roster and being recruited to represent their home countries at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Team Canada has recruited Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp, and Corey Crawford. Team USA has brought Nick Leddy, Brandon Saad, and sharp-shooter Patrick Kane to their team. In 2010 it came down to Kane vs. Toews for the gold and America went home with the silver medal. With this many Blackhawks skating to Russia in 2014, Chicago hockey fans will find a lot to scream at their television about as it will be difficult to root against either team with so many revered players pitted against each other for Olympic Gold. Congratulations to all of the Blackhawks chosen for the 2014 Winter Olympic games!

THE REMATCH

THE REMATCH

Basketball

Comeback Kid

Boozer is not amused

The Bulls, and all of Chicago, are preparing for the much-awaited comeback of superstar Derrick Rose. His manager and brother, Reggie Rose, has been talking with the press about Rose’s recovery and says that Rose is ready to go. Reggie Rose says that he has “no concerns about [Derrick Rose] physically” and that taking a year off may have hurt the Bulls, but it was necessary for the longevity of his career. He believes “Derrick should probably be able to play fifteen to eighteen years,” so taking a year off was a means of making sure he was physically prepared to play basketball for the next two decades.

"Dude, this comeback had better not be a joke."

“Dude, this comeback had better not be a joke.”

The return of Rose is great news for Bulls fans, but sending Nate Robinson to the Denver Nuggets is definitely terrible news for Bulls fans as the heart of the 2013 playoffs is now someone we face instead of someone helping us block Lebron’s shots.

We're gonna miss you, buddy.

We’re gonna miss you, buddy.

So, with the return of Derrick Rose, the departure of Nate Robinson, and the shaky status of Luol Deng’s contract extension, what does the 2014 Chicago Bulls roster look like? The point guards look sharp with Derrick Rose, Kirk Hinrich, and Marquis Teague hitting the court. Rose’s return, if successful, will be a major boost for the Bulls, obviously. The skill and talent of Rose will be a great punch on the court; what will really stand out is that the heart and spirit of the team–both for the team and for the fans–is returning to the United Center. After a year and a half of anticipation, wondering down to the last game against the Miami Heat in the 2013 playoffs if Rose would make a miraculous return, the bright comet of the Chicago Bulls will blaze down the court again and set the competition ablaze. Our shooting guards and shooting forwards are looking sharp. Jimmy Butler is in need of some polish, but there is plenty of time to make sure that he is in the best condition to hit the court. Mike Dunleavy will serve as a secret weapon for the Bulls as the opposition will be on guard against the dynamite talent of Derrick Rose which will keep their eye distracted from the three-point power of Dunleavy. Power forwards Carlos Boozer, Taj Gibson, Malcom Thomas, and Erik Murphy are focused but in need of strengthening. Carlos Boozer is the 2014 Bulls’ Scottie Pippen, reliable with strong offense, but his defense needs a lot of work. Taj Gibson, on the other hand, brings a great defensive game. If the two could learn from each other, we would have two stunning power forwards on the court. Boozer’s on court relationship with Noah creates spectacular offense as well; they are a threat just like Pippen and Jordan when they hit the court together. Centers Joakim Noah and Nazr Mohammad round out the roster. Joakim Noah is the Bulls offense and does well adapting to the style of his teammates while remaining determined and focused. Mohammad does his job well with decent defense and use of fouls, but he is not good in long play. If Noah’s annual injuries flare up again, Mohammad will have big shoes to fill on the court as he is simply not on Noah’s level yet. The Bulls roster looks good, and they’ve proven that they can play without Rose. This year should provide us with amazing basketball as the return of Rose will only boost the ability of the already spectacular Chicago Bulls.

Basketball Biology 101: This is a heart.

Basketball Biology 101: This is a heart.

Baseball

Later, 'gator

Later, gator

After many rumors and a lot of talks, the Cubs have traded Matt Garza to the Texas Rangers. In return the Cubs are getting third baseman Mike Ott and two right-handed pitchers, C.J. Edwards and Justin Grimm. The trade agreement also allows for the Cubs to acquire up to two more pitchers, possibly Neil Ramirez. This is proof that the Cubs are serious about rebuilding. It stands to reason that the Cubs are looking to build a good team that is could possibly begin winning because with all of the talk about revamping Wrigley Field, they should have a team good enough to draw fans into the expensive stadium. This also shows the Cubs are shifting away from keeping fan favorites and abandoning player loyalty and looking to rebuild a functioning baseball team that stands a chance to make the playoffs in the coming years.

Football

BREAKING: If you keep eating that towel, you will not be hungry for lunch!

BREAKING: If you keep eating that towel, you will not be hungry for lunch!

The Bears begin training camp on Thursday! Preseason football will be hitting our television screens in a matter of weeks. Hopefully the Bears will be taking this time to strengthen their offensive line and forcing Jay Cutler to step up his game in order to get the Bears into the playoffs this season. Chicago is hungry for another major sports victory, and the Bears have the talent and the drive to make it happen.

Bear Down!

Bear Down!

Olympians, returned superstars, new players, and new goals; the world of Chicago sports is spinning into very interesting areas. As these sports get revved up and ready to go, remember that one very important event happening this year is the retirement of Mike Ditka’s number in January. Get ready for this monumental year of football and festivities with our Mike Ditka Chicago Bear tee shirt (http://tinyurl.com/oht723e). Grab great sports threads from Clark Street Sports so you can be ready for all of the exciting things happening in Chicago sports!

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

WE ARE READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL!

Okay, so winter shows up in Chicago and overstays its welcome. Around New Year’s Day, Chicago is completely done with snow, slush, cold, wind chill, poorly-heated apartments, waiting on the bus, and generally any activity that requires being outdoors. Being excited for football means, yes, we are accepting that football means winter–long, seemingly endless winter. It’s not that we want summer to end; we love pools, the beach, ice cream, sunshine, and not having to wear eight layers of clothes when we leave the apartment. However, baseball is just not doing it for us. This baseball boredom is not just sweeping Chicago, but it’s spreading throughout the country like wildfire (http://tinyurl.com/olrnon2). So, one must look ahead to the future in sports and see that the wave of the NFL is visible from the shore.

Also, the wave has a shark in it because football is totally hardcore like that!

Also, the wave has a shark in it because football is totally hardcore like that!

Training camp for the Bears starts in a week and a half and the Bears have a lot to work on to prepare for the upcoming season. With a new coach, Jay Cutler facing the end of his contract, a batch of new players, and the absence of Brian Urlacher, the Bears have a lot to adjust to before facing the Panthers on August ninth.

We loved Lovie, now we have to trust Trestman.

We loved Lovie, now we have to trust Trestman.

Of course, the first major adjustment will be to the new head coach, and possible middle-aged John Boy Walton, Marc Trestman. Lovie Smith had the ability to focus veteran players while inspiring rookie players to stand up to the challenge of becoming a part of the solid Chicago Bears roster; we do not know what Trestman has in store for the Bears. His first, and most important challenge, will undoubtedly be to whip Jay Cutler into shape. This should prove a successful task for Trestman as he was the offensive coordinator for the Oakland Raiders in 2002 which resulted in Raiders’ quarterback, Rich Gannon, winning that year’s NFL MVP Award, even though the Raiders lost to the Buccaneers in the Super Bowl. Gannon’s 2002 season saw shattering records, throwing 4,689 yards and 26 touchdowns. If Trestman could turn Gannon into a cannon, he could certainly bring out the same success in Jay Cutler.

Jay's back!

Jay’s back!

Jay Cutler, though, must be responsive and open to the changes and work hard to maintain his position on the Bears roster. This is the last year on his contract, so he must be willing to do what’s necessary to lead the Bears to the playoffs in order to keep his job. One of the main things he needs to focus on is to stop relying heavily on Brandon Marshall. Though their chemistry on the field is overpowering, his crippling reliance on Marshall is only hurting the team. Last season Marshall ended the season with 118 receptions; behind him were Earl Bennett with 29 receptions and Devin Hester with 23 receptions. Cutler needs to focus on the other players as Marshall may not always be open or may get hurt. Cutler needs to learn to keep his options open this season before the Bears decide to open up their options in next year’s off season.

This is what it sounds like when the Bears cry.

This is what it sounds like when the Bears cry.

Of course, a new coach and a quarterback in need of repair are two things that the Bears must adjust to, but one of the biggest changes is the absence of the king of the defensive line, Brian Urlacher. The Bears picked up DJ Williams and Jon Bostic in hopes of filling the big shoes of Urlacher. However, Urlacher didn’t just leave a gap in the physical defensive line, the Bears lost a leader on the field. The defense worked because Urlacher was an upstanding leader on the field. This would be the best time for Lance Briggs to step up into that role as he has the seniority, the experience, and the energy to rebuild the tight nucleus of the Bears defensive line.

Because this guy will get you pumped about football!

Because this guy will get you pumped about football!

Though the tight defensive line is in need of some minor adjustments, the offensive line needs to be fiercely restructured and refocused. The Bears are notorious for having the sloppiest offensive line in the NFL. Over the past three seasons, Jay Cutler has been sacked 113 times. You don’t have to be a football coach to know that lying on the field is not the best way to throw the ball to a teammate. It’s also not the best way to keep your quarterback in a good condition to play. Offensive linemen Jermon Bushrod, Matt Slauson, Kyle Long, J’Marcus Webb, and Roberto Garzo have a lot of work to do and a lot to prove.

"No, guys. I'll just sit here until you figure out how to keep me from getting tackled. Thanks."

“No, guys. I’ll just sit here until you figure out how to keep me from getting tackled. Thanks.”

All of these tweaks, adjustments, and changes should be focused on one goal: the playoffs. Chicago is hungry for another playoff and baseball is not providing any satisfaction for anyone on the North Side or the South Side. The Bulls made the playoffs without Derrick Rose this year, and they fought long and hard to the bitter end. They fell to the Heat but vowed to return next season to claim the Larry O’Brien trophy. The Chicago Blackhawks skated through the competition and brought the Stanley Cup back to the Windy City. No one has any hopes for baseball, but everyone has put their faith in the Chicago Bears. If Jay Cutler wants to keep his job, he has to get the Bears to the playoffs this year. If he doesn’t, the townspeople will finally revolt against the quarterback instead of sitting on their barstools and blithely bitching about his performance. Chicago is hungry for another exciting round of playoff sports and, though the NFL playoffs are a ways away, getting there takes time, focus, and practice. The Bears have ample time to get their eyes on the prize and make sure they have what it takes to get them to that goal.

Bring It On!

Bring It On!

There are a few more weeks until preseason kicks off, so be sure you are prepared with the freshest Chicago Bears gear you can get your hands on! Find this original “Bring It On” tee here (http://tinyurl.com/lshblom), or browse our vast selection of Bears gear on our website (www.clarkstreetsports.com). Get prepared for football season, and get ready to BEAR DOWN!

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

July at Clark Street Sports

July is here and with the start of this month begins the countdown to the start of the NFL Season. In addition to the start of the Football Season, the sports world will see the second half of the MLB Season which will bring a great deal of excitement from now until the end of the baseball season.

Brandon Marshall Jersey

NFL fans, were just over 2 weeks away from the start of Training Camp (July 26) so now’s a good time for Chicagoans and Bears fans around the world to gear up for the start of the 2012 Football Season. With the return of both Jay Culter and Matt Forte (hopefully), along with Julius Peppers, Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs and newcomer Brandon Marshall, the Bears will be a force to be reckoned with throughout the NFC.

Chicago Bears Shirt

Chicago Bears Traditions Flex Fit Hat

At Clark Street Sports, we sell all your favorite Bears Merchandise from Tee-Shirts and Jerseys to Hats and Jackets and everything that relates to the Bears. The best way to find your favorite Bears merchandise is with Clark Street Sports at any of our Locations (throughout Illinois and Indiana) or online at http://www.clarkstreetsports.com/.

Chicago Bears Track Jacket

Women’s Tank Top

In addition to the start of Training Camp, both Chicago of Chicago’s baseball teams will be starting the Second Half of the MLB Season. With the start of the second half of the season just around the corner, it seems there should be a great deal of interest on both sides of town as both the Cubs and Sox have a lot to look forward the next few months.

For the Cubs, the start of the Anthony Rizzo era has gotten off to a fast start and should be even better during the next few months as he adjusts to Major League pitching. In addition to Rizzo, the Cubs have a lot of other things to look forward to throughout the second half of the season which includes the continued growth of All-Stars Starlin Castro and Bryan LaHair along with a lot of other possible trades that may occur within the next 3 weeks. Cubs fans should also remember that the Hall of Fame Ceremony is approaching where Ron Santo will formally be inducted in Cooperstown on July 22, 2012. Make sure to get your Ron Santo merchandise before he’s inducted at any of our locations or online.

Cubs Anthony Rizzo Tee-Shirt

Cubs Ron Santo Tee-Shirt

As for the White Sox, they’ve put together a strong first-half of the Basball season and find themselves in first place at the All-Star Break. The Sox have received contributions from a number of players which include: A.J. Pierzynski, Paul Konerko, Adam Dunn, Alex Rios, Jake Peavy, Chris Sale, and Kevin Youkilis. New Manager Robin Ventura has done a great job in  his first season managing on the South Side of Chicago it looks like the Sox will be in the AL Central race throughout the rest of the MLB season.

Robin Ventura Tee-Shirt

White Sox Paul Konerko Tee-Shirt

Please share your responses and follow us on Twitter (https://twitter.com/ClarkStSports), Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/clarkstreetsports), Pinterest(http://pinterest.com/clarkstsports/), Google Plus (Clark Street Sports), and now Flickr(http://www.flickr.com/photos/clarkstreetsports). Remember to also check out our merchandise at http://www.clarkstreetsports.com/

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,