Speed Read: Cutler Crappy As Packers Stuff Bears

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.

Jay Cutler

So, anyone missing Orton yet? In what is always a monumental game for the Bears, Jay Cutler was Brian Griese-esque as he threw four interceptions in a 21-15 loss to Green Bay at Lambeau Field. The CHICAGO TRIBUNE’s David Haugh says that Cutler wasn’t exactly keeping a cool head while everything crumbled around him:

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Bears Fans Have 23 Reasons To Love Jay Cutler

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?

Jay Cutler Blingee

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.

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Samantha Steele To Make KU Cakewalk Delicious

• Is there really any reason to watch the Fox College Sports broadcast of Kansas vs. Northern Colorado? Yes - and that reason is Samantha Steele.

Samantha Steele

• It’s bad enough Brett Favre can never decide when to end his career, but does he have to try to end other players’ careers with cheap blocks?

Pacman Jones could be taking off for the Great White North. Winnipeg strip clubs already prepared to “Make it snow!” (It’s too cold for rain.)

• Why did Rich Rodriguez tear up during his recent press conference? Maybe because he’s being sued in a real estate deal gone wrong.

• Golf in England deserves a two-stroke penalty for banning beautiful caddy babes from the courses.

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Broncos Might As Well Hold Open Tryouts At QB

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.

Kyle Orton finger
(”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.

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Cream Cheese Causes Coach To Cancel Twittering

• Who would have though cream cheese on bagels would be the downfall of George Mason coach Jim Larranaga’s Twittering career?

Jim Larranaga George Mason cream cheese bagel

(”Go away! You’ve caused me enough trouble!”)

• Broncos fans boo Jay Culter on his return to Denver. And the way Kyle Orton has been playing, expect a lot more booing from Mile High this year.

• But there’s plenty of cheering at NBC, where Sunday’s Broncos-Bears matchup netted the highest ratings for a preseason game in five years.

• Holy subterranean living! Indiana Pacers forward Danny Granger is building himself a batcave down in New Mexico.

• A Louisville-area high school football coach is facing homicide charges after one of his players collapsed & died during practice.

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Speed Read: Yes, Denver, You’re Stuck With Orton

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.

Jay Cutler sign sad Broncos fan

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.

Rex Grossman

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:

Kyle Orton and girl

Which AFC West team is more dysfunctional?

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Some idiot blogger totally wrote off the Giants last week after they lost an excruciating game to the Rockies that dropped them four games back in the wild card hunt. In fact, all of the talk was about how Colorado might even run down the Dodgers when all was said and done. And no, I wasn’t the only one sticking the fork in San Francisco.

What a difference a week makes. Edgar Renteria, perpetually just barely good enough to keep getting a job, hit a grand slam that lifted the Giants to a 9-5 win over the Rockies and a series sweep. The teams are now tied heading into baseball’s official stretch run.

Edgar Renteria

(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.

Barry Zito

(Yes, that is Zito not only tipping his cap, but also receiving applause)

• The US Open is starting today. An 18-year-old kid named Devin Britton won the NCAA championship this year, and his reward is a first-round match against Roger Federer. Let’s hope he handles the pressure better than Richie Tenenbaum did:

• TRUE HOOP has a great post about last week’s episode of “Mad Men,” which had a subplot dealing with the outrage about tearing down the old Penn Station to build Madison Square Garden in the 1960s, and how MSG is revered today as a sports venue:

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.

Heathcliff Slocumb

(Think the Red Sox regret trading him for Varitek and Lowe?)

• I’m not saying Daisuke Matsuzaka is finished, but a 49-pitch, five-run first inning in a AA game isn’t a good sign that things are back on track.

Tedy Bruschi is going to retire today, and then become the 18,214th talking head on NBC’s NFL coverage.

• The Pirates have now lost 21 straight games in Milwaukee.

• A 26-year-old female rugby player had her head run over by a two-ton grass roller set free by a bunch of teenage male rugby players while she was camping in a tent in Wales. Now she looks like, well, like she just played rugby:

Emma Winch, female rugby player

• Are the Cardinals really the team to be scared of in the NL? We all know that pitching rotations shorten in the playoffs, and the Cards are 29-4 since July 1st in games started by their big three of Adam Wainwright, Chris Carpenter, and Joel Pineiro.

• Want more evidence that the Mets are a little cash poor? They’re canceling their fall instructional league because it costs too much. The NY DAILY NEWS’ Adam Rubin says it costs about $300,000 to put on, which is about 1/40th of Oliver Perez‘ 2009 salary. Of course, the whole story is just Rubin angling for a job in the organization.

•  The LA TIMES’ Kurt Streeter is the latest to say what we’re all thinking. Gambling on football is rampant, so why isn’t our country making any money off of it?

• This is what the world has come to in 2009: There is now a “Twitter Warning” sign at the US Open cautioning players against revealing too much “inside info” in a tweet.

Andy Roddick tweets about Twitter warning at US Open

Welcome Back To Denver, Jay Cutler! (Flusshhhh!)

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…

Kyle Orton Makes Jay Cutler Look Like John Elway

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.

Kyle Orton Broncos

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.)

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The Denver Broncos Do Their Failing A Mile High

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.

Kyle Orton Broncos
(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.

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Speed Read: Should We Want A Freeway Series?

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.

Matt Kemp

Both teams looked the part of World Series contenders on Sunday. In Atlanta, the Dodgers used a three-run homer by Matt Kemp to 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.

Mike Napoli

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.

So in summary: just because Chan-Ho Park karate-kicked Tim Belcher 8,000 years ago, this isn’t a heated rivalry, and a Freeway Series won’t change that. Now a Lakers vs. Clippers Western Conference final…

Melky Cabrera

After having sex with a porn star, the closest most people get to a “cycle” is starting the next round of penicillin in hopes that their genitals go back to normal. But apparently Melky Cabrera defied the odds and got a decidedly more wholesome cycle, in this case becoming the first Yankee in 14 years to hit for the cycle in their 8-5 win over the Chicago White Sox. (Although I can’t comment one way or the other about his need for penicillin, but if he did sleep with former California gubernatorial candidate/drunk/professional sex object Mary Carey, it’s a small miracle if he didn’t catch something.)

Finally, an update on a couple of noted sports underachievers: Michael Phelps only managed to win five gold medals at the World Championships, adding his final one on Sunday by anchoring the Americans’ record-setting 400-meter medley relay team; and Tiger Woods won just his fourth tournament of the season by winning (probably last-ever playing of) the Buick Open by three shots. If only those two could maximize their potential, they might really make something of themselves.

  • Does anyone understand why the Chiefs’ mascot is a wolf? And one that has trouble clearing small fences, as photos tracked down by ARROWHEAD PRIDE from training camp seem to indicate.
  • FANTASY FORECAST breaks down eight different types of people found at every fantasy football league draft. Although I think they left off Guy Who Gets So Drunk He’s Picking “Poopy Fartpants” by Round 6.
  • 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 Cutler completed 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.
  • PRO FOOTBALL TALK says Bengals QB Carson Palmer has missed the last two days of practice with flu-like symptoms. Let’s hope he didn’t catch swine flu from eating any undercooked wieners
  • 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.
  • Samantha Thavasa

  • We told you last week about Andy Reid’s hellish training camps and love of full-contact drills. Turns out there’s a down side to that: two Eagles players left last night’s practice with injuries.
  • 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.
  • Finally, BALL DON’T LIE has video of the cheap shot that Italy’s Stefano Mancinelli delivered to the back of Aaron Doornekamp’s head during a “friendly” international basketball game against Canada:

Which baseball intra-area rivalry is the real deal?

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