It’s been a while since the Bears have had a good quarterback. And it’s a shame, considering they’ve had some pretty good teams that were ultimately sabotaged by guys like Jim Miller and Rex Grossman. So we all know what a huge relief it was for the people of Chicago that they finally would have a real, legitimate star under center.
A lot of football fans outside the Land of Lincoln have been slightly puzzled at the circus atmosphere that has followed Jay Cutler since he arrived in Chicago earlier this year. People that watched his somewhat ignominious divorce from the Broncos or his leading the team to an 8-8 record might have rightfully wondered what all the fuss was about. Sure, the guy has talent, but it’s just one player, right?
No. Well, yes, it is just one player. But to understand why Chicago fans have acted like Jay Cutler is the second coming of Joe Montana, despite the fact he hasn’t, y’know, won anything, you have to understand the depths Chicago has gone to avoid starting a competent quarterback.
Things are dire at quarterback for the Broncos. Oh, you probably already know this, seeing as how we wrote about it just yesterday. But for as disastrous as “Kyle Orton, starting quarterback with two healthy backups” sounds, the situation’s devolving into something far worse.
(”Hmmm, I can see the inside of my knuckle. Is that normal?”)
The problem with Orton is that he might not actually be healthy for Week 1. Oh, and the clear #2, Chris Simms, is also hurt for at least a month with a high ankle sprain. So now the starting quarterback for the Broncos is a late-round rookie. Check that; aside from a warm body they signed as an emergency rookie, he’s the only healthy quarterback.
Sure, Denver Bronco fans booed Jay Cutler with all their might last night when he returned to play against his old team for the first time, but the boos eventually faded to mild displeasure, and then the eventual realization by the home crowd that they are, in fact, really stuck with Kyle Orton. The Bears won the first half — when both guys played — 17-3, and won the game 27-17.
In other words, the Broncos are about to fade into oblivion, somewhere they really aren’t used to inhabiting. It just took last night’s game for it to finally sink in. Even the lady pictured above doesn’t really seem to have her heart in that sign. She’s quite clearly not lovin’ it. Chargers fans, meanwhile, are already clearing their weekends in January. They could probably take four games off this year and still win the AFC West.
Cutler, of course, played well last night for his new team despite all of the distractions and a concerted attempt by the Bronco defense to make things as tough as possible on him. Suddenly, the Bears are brimming with confidence heading into their opener at Green Bay, and thinking they might be able to duplicate their Super Bowl run a couple of years back — this time with a QB who isn’t allergic to footballs.
Orton, of course, didn’t even make it to halftime because he sliced his finger open on another player’s helmet. For what it’s worth, he actually played fairly well (12-for-16 for 96 yards). But this is a guy who the Bears really only grudgingly let be their starter because a better option wasn’t available. Are there even five other teams where he’d be the #1 guy?
FOX SPORTS’ Alex Marvez just comes right out and says the Broncos were fleeced in the trade, not only in the 50-cents-on-the-dollar they got in return, but because of the way coach Josh McDaniels and owner Pat Bowlen botched the whole situation from the start. Maybe Mike Shanahan had lost his way a little, but wouldn’t your average Bronco fan rather have him and Cutler than the McDaniel-Orton combo? Did it really have to come to this?
Well, at least you can look forward to some more scenes like this out at the local bars, Denver:
(Edgar Renteria: When your team just doesn’t care enough to find a better shortstop)
I knew, of course, that Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain would always give their team a chance to win. But I hadn’t counted on the sudden rejuvenation of Barry Zito. Since a meltdown against the Padres on July 18th that made me wonder if they’d find a way to get rid of him altogether, he’s posted a 1.92 ERA in his last nine starts. Throw in Jonathan Sanchez, whose ERA has been right around 3.00 since the beginning of July, and you’ve got the best starting pitching in baseball right now. Just think if they could hit!
Now, the Giants have to find a way to stay close over the next 10 days. The Rockies start a 10-game homestand on Tuesday and host the Mets, Diamondbacks, and Reds. San Francisco, on the other hand, travels to Philadelphia and Milwaukee before returning home to play the Padres.
(Yes, that is Zito not only tipping his cap, but also receiving applause)
Four decades later, it’s ironic that the building that was the bête noire of architectural preservationists has become the defining symbol of basketball preservationists — a receptacle for the sort of sentimentalism that fueled the opposition to its creation.
• 124th-ranked Heath Slocum drained a 20-footer to beat Tiger Woods, Padraig Harrington, and Ernie Els by a shot at the Barclays tournament in Jersey. Tiger missed a six-footer on the 18th that would’ve tied it. The real winner of the day, though, was former MLB hurler Heathcliff Slocumb, who I briefly thought about for the first time in 10 years.
(Think the Red Sox regret trading him for Varitek and Lowe?)
Jay Cutler knew that he’d have to return to Denver eventually, and that it probably wouldn’t be pretty. But the ritual burning and flushing of his old jersey? Somewhere, Cutler is looking at this photo, as a single tear rolls down his cheek. I hope you’re happy, Broncos fans.
It’s Jay Day everyone! The Bears at Broncos begins in two hours, as the prodigal son returns to Invesco Field, just as predicted in Old Testament. But this photo poses many questions. For example: Read more…
Hey, Broncos fans. Remember back when Jay Cutler was an unhappy Bronco, trying to force a trade out of town? Remember that, and how most fans and media in the Denver area acted like a bunch of jilted high school boyfriends when he asked for a trade? Oh, yes, Denver fans. You claimed you never liked the guy anyway, and he was a big baby jerkface, and you’d be better off without such a non-team player. Yeah, those days were fun, right? Right up to the point when you wound up with Kyle Orton. Oops.
Fast forward a few months. Cutler is turning heads all around Chicago with his brash style, confident demeanor, and football abilities. He’s the talk of the town today after blowing the Giants out of the water in yesterday’s preseason game, and has Bears fans excited about contending for a division championship and maybe even more. Denver, meanwhile, is being treated to…well, Kyle Orton, who does Kyle Orton things in his own Kyle Orton way.
(Warning: Video after the jump is not for the weak of stomach - for Broncos fans, anyway.)
Recall, if you will, that the major off-season move in the NFL was undoubtedly the Bears sending Kyle Orton and a truckload of picks to Denver for “disgrunted” Jay Cutler. The general consensus was that it was a fine move by Chicago, but that they overpaid - badly - for Cutler.
(Orton, during a rare moment of not giving the ball to the Niners. It would soon pass.)
But less was made of the effect the move made on Denver, who was basically compensated three high picks for having to substitute Orton in for Cutler. How’s that going to work for the Broncos? Well, if last night’s game is any indication, it’s going to be a long season.
I guess with all the trade deadline rumors about deals that did or didn’t happen, it’s kind of easy to overlook the most important thing in baseball: the standings. Because the story no one seems to be talking about is the fact that the best records in each league belong to teams in Southern California, setting up a real possibility of the first-ever Freeway Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the…let’s just call them the Angels.
Both teams looked the part of World Series contenders on Sunday. In Atlanta, the Dodgers used a three-run homer by Matt Kempto pound the Braves 9-1; meanwhile, the Angels hammered the Twins 13-4 to complete a three-game road sweep where they scored 35 runs. And while not everything is 100 percent for either team (Chad Billingsley left his start early with cramps during the Dodgers’ win, while Vladimir Guerrero suddenly turned 150 years old this season for the Angels), there’s at least a strong possibility of an all-LA (kinda, sorta) World Series.
And as a baseball fan living in Los Angeles, here’s my feeling on this: I hope to God this doesn’t happen. The first reason is selfish: I have to drive past Dodger Stadium every day for work - it’s almost impossible for a Tuesday night game against Florida, so I can’t imagine what a World Series game against the Angels would be like. A 30-minute commute turning into a two-hour nightmare? No thanks.
But more importantly, I’d have to hear weeks of coverage about the series as if it’s a real, heated rivalry. Which would make my head explode, because it just isn’t. This isn’t Red Sox vs. Yankees, with real, palpable hatred. Or even Yankees vs. Mets or Cubs vs. White Sox, both of which are city rivalries with loads of class, race and societal baggage (in that who you root for speaks volumes about who you are and where you came from).
Dodgers vs. Angels has none of this. People root for one or the other based on which ballpark was closer to them growing up. (Fortunately, the area that is equidistant from Dodger Stadium and Angel Stadium is the mini-mall and warehouse-filled patch of nothingness called Norwalk.) If Dodger fans think about the Angels at all, it’s with a dismissive chuckle. Meanwhile, Angels fans will quickly point out who has the last World Series title while secretly grimacing at the whole “Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim” fiasco.
If you’re a big NFL fan near Troy, NY tonight, you might want to check out some minor-league baseball as the Tri-Cities ValleyCats take on the Oneonta Tigers. Why? Because SI’s Peter King is going to be throwing out the first pitch and hanging out with fans to talk about the upcoming season, along with a host of NFL experts including NFL.COM’s Adam Schefter, Sporting News’ Albert Breer, NY Giants radio voice Bob Papa and Redskins lineman Ross Tucker.
The CHICAGO TRIBUNE breathlessly reports that Jay Cutlercompleted his first 12 passes during 7-on-7 drills at camp yesterday. Although to be fair, Kyle Orton and Rex Grossman probably couldn’t complete 12 passes back and forth to each other.
Formula One driver Jensen Button spent part of his break from racing competing in the London Triathlon, where he set a personal best. I would have spent the time watching his girlfriend Jessica Michibata giving her personal best while modeling bikinis on a beach in Japan.
Letdown City: the rally car racing final at the X Games gets stopped halfway through when Travis Pastrana wrecks his car, handing the win to former Indy 500 winner Kenny Brack. To celebrate, Brack knocked back a tall glass of ice cold Red Bull and milk.
I guess you could say that the Red Sox’s trade for Victor Martinez has paid some early dividends: he went 5-for-6 in Boston’s 18-10 win over Baltimore. Too bad Clay Buchholz is still not very good at pitching to big league hitters.