2014 brings a new year. Hopefully it will bring some resolutions for some of the local teams.
Here are my 10 hopes for 2014.
A respectable Bears defense
I am all for the Bears recent identity change. The NFL is an offensive league, a passing league. The Bears are really good on one side of the ball and pretty awful on the other, just like it had been.
The script just happened to be flipped dramatically and rather quickly. I expected drop off defensively, but what happened with Mel Tucker’s gang was quite offensive.
Imagine what the Bears high-powered offense (can't believe I can write that) could do with a respectable (mid-ranked) defense. The draft and free agency should be directed heavily towards a fix.
I have enjoyed the Chicago sports radio airways being filled with fans supporting a guy for QB, yet not actually knowing his name. I did get my fill this year, however. Here is to Phil Emery and Marc Trestman committing to a direction soon with the most important position on the field. Either lock Jay Cutler up long term or move on to a younger option from the draft.
Break up the Bulls
Regardless of Derrick Rose’s health, I want to see this stale roster shaken up. The window has slammed shut on this gang. Trade Luol Deng if you can get decent value. He isn’t going to come back on a bargain rate (the only way I’d have him back).
This fall is likely when the euro stretch-four finally comes over stateside and replaces Carlos Boozer, who the Bulls would then likely use the amnesty clause on. Rose needs some help scoring the ball and apparently this kid can score.
Derrick Rose PR
Derrick Rose may have gotten some good guidance from his big brother Reggie growing up, but he nor his camp has done him many favors of late in the PR game. Whether it is Reggie or Derrick himself saying something silly in the media, it really should stop.
Rose’s camp should hire an actual skilled PR person. Rose has taken an unnecessary hit on his Q rating lately. He has enough to worry about on the court, like staying on it.
Less utility infielders
It is time for the Cubs to start giving way to the future. A rebuilding process is something most smart Cubs fans always wanted. Yet, I think a youth movement was more what they had in mind. I think we have seen enough of the likes of Luis Valbuena, Donnie Murphy, and Cody Ransom.
Hopefully we can see a bit of Mike Olt and possibly even a dip into the system, as I mention in the next paragraph.
Javier Baez/ Kris Bryant
I know the Cubs aren’t going to rush either of these crown jewels. However, let's face it, both players are coming fast and it’s going to be hard to hold them back much longer. Rick Renteria was hired for his developmental skills. Let him work his magic on these two in the late summer. It could electrify the fan base.
Wrigley rehab/TV deal
The Cubs keep telling you they need these two potential cash cows to compete. True or not, let us mercifully get some resolution from the rooftop/Ricketts saga. Let someone throw some big dollars at the Cubs TV rights. It’s time to free Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer from their mid market chains.
I was totally behind the Bears turning the page on Brian Urlacher, the timing was right it seemed.
Lance Briggs and Charles Tillman were supposed to take over the leadership reigns. It didn’t happen. It was mostly due to both vets being out with injuries for the better part of the year. Yet, they also both seemed to needlessly and openly pine for the fired Lovie Smith at times.
Briggs really came up short in the leadership department after tough losses to the Eagles and Packers by not showing up in front of the media, and apparently brooding. Briggs also alarmingly stood with hands on hips as Randall Cobb ran in the now infamous unrecovered fumble for a touchdown.
Just maybe Urlacher could have helped Chris Conte get into the right call on that 4th and 8? Either way, the defense needs a new face and voice.
More Rick Hahn
I have also always wanted a new face of the White Sox. Kenny Williams and Ozzie Guillen wore us out with their Bravo channel drama and the unnecessary inferiority complex they displayed towards the north side of town. It was never very becoming.
Hahn grew up a Cubs fan, you know he isn’t going to go anti-Cubs. Hahn flies under the radar and seems to have a youth driven vision that he has been unfolding since last summer. The kind of roster reshaping he is doing wouldn’t likely have happened under the one-mode Williams.
Whether kids like Adam Eaton or Jose Abreu pay off or not, I like Hahn and hope he is able to see his plan through.
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