My Thoughts On Derrick Rose And The Bulls

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When I got the alert from ESPN yesterday that Derrick Rose would be out for the season, it felt like I had just been stabbed in the abdomen. We, Chicago Bulls fans, had waited a whole year for him to come back, and now we were gonna have to wait another one. After a terrible 1-4 start, the Bulls had seemingly righted the ship and had recently won 5 straight games. Reason for optimism that they did indeed have the makings of a championship team returned, especially after that Indiana Pacers victory.

I checked the upcoming schedule for the west coast road trip and noticed that they were about to play 4 games in 5 nights. This didn’t feel right to me. I love to see the Bulls play, but after going 3 days sometimes without having a game, this scheduling, two back-to-backs with only one day in between, wasn’t at all good. In the second game of that first back to back, against Portland, that’s when the unthinkable happened. Bulls fans, I for one, had supreme confidence that Derrick Rose’s surgically repaired left knee was as strong as ever. Even when he missed a game in the preseason, I wasn’t concerned. But as he went to make a back cut, on a pass that probably never should have been thrown, other than a lob to the basket, it was his right knee that buckled, when he tried to come back for the ball. Me being the eternal optimist that I am, thought and hoped that it was just a sprain, and that he would be alright. But as everyone on social media was assessing, joking and making comments on the nature of the injury, on the replay I noticed that his leg did what RG3s did, and I knew that couldn’t be a good thing.

During the time spent between Friday night and Saturday morning, waiting for the diagnosis on the Derrick Rose injury, I, and surely all Bulls fans must’ve felt like family members in a waiting room. It was a relief to know that he hadn’t torn his other ACL. It was a torn medial menisucs in his right knee, to which there were two options. Cut it, or a portion of it off and he could be back in a matter of weeks. Or, have the meniscus reattached and he would be out 4-6 months, basically the remainder of the season. My immediate thinking was I wanted to see him return this year. I missed seeing him play, it was starting to become exciting again. With the Bulls playing so well recently, I felt like with him, we could still make a good run of it this year. So long as he didn’t commit a “Brandon Roy”, and try to come back 8 days after surgery, which I knew he wouldn’t, I felt it would be ok. But when I read about Dwayne Wade’s comments on players who have had the first procedure (shorter recovery time) and how it causes more problems later in their career, I knew that I would have to be patient and find something else to enjoy and wait until next year.

Now let’s get down to what the Bulls organization needs do while we wait for Derrick Rose to return again. The first time, last year it was easy. Play as you normally would, everyone improving their game, and the team is that much better when he returns. And it was a good plan and it worked up until he got hurt again. The Bulls were going to let Luol Deng play out this last year of his contract, and probably were not going to re-sign him next summer, letting him become a free-agent. Now, with Derrick Rose out for the year, the Bulls should trade Deng asap to a team that may have a lottery pick in the 2014 draft, if they will part with it. The 2014 draft has been deemed Tankapalooza with the first 4 prospects labeled as “can’t miss!” The 2014 draft class is very deep, and just to get someone’s number one pick, so long as it isn’t at the end of the first round would be good. The Bulls just may get into the draft lottery on their own. In case you haven’t noticed, which it would be hard not to, but it is simply not in head coach Tom Thibodeau’s DNA to tank or even concede one victory, let alone a whole season. But if last night’s loss, against the previously 1-14 Utah Jazz, is any indication, the Bulls may not have to pretend like they are tanking. And next summer, regardless of what we do in the draft, sign a sharp-shooting two-guard, someone that can hit the three on a consistent basis. If at all possible, getting Omer Asik back from Houston would be good. It’s not working out for him there anyway.┬áMaybe if we could trade Carlos Boozer this year, that would free up money to reacquire Asik. The Bulls also have Charlotte’s draft pick, which is lottery protected until 2016. But it looks like they may have use of it this year as the Bobcats are getting better. And Nikola Mirotic, whom the Bulls drafted in 2011, and considered to be the best player in Europe, is expected to join the team in 2014. So the Bulls, while having a few decisions to make, are gonna be ok.

When you are witnessing something happening in sports, social media is a place where you can get up to the minute information and many different prospectives. Unfortunately some people use it as a time to make jokes about a player’s injury. How sick! But it’s an open forum and it’s raw. Trying to sum up and express my feeling, here’s a tweet I sent out that night: “Rose just puts his knees through unneeded duress. I understand u can do the incredible. But 2 think u can do it on evry play, is unrealistic”. I believe that a turning point, for the worst, in that game against Portland, was when Derrick was coming down on a fast break. There were two TrailBlazers back, but he had Joakim on the other side ahead of both of them. Easy play right, lob? Nope. Derrick just barreled into the two players, and got fouled. Something that we’ve seen a lot of in this short season. Sure he had noticeably cut back on it, and that’s why the Bulls were able to go on that 5-game winning streak. But still it was what he tried to do, this time once too often for me and it wasn’t even needed. Anyway, you know what they say, everything happens for a reason. Derrick was playing the game at break neck speeds and very recklessly. I can’t think of another player that did that all the time. It’s impossible and his body just gave way. I heard someone say that coming back from his first surgery, Derrick would probably have to change his game like Chris Paul did following his knee surgery. But he hadn’t. He seemed determined to show that he was not only the same Derrick Rose, but that he was better. And with the way he consistently drove into competitors, he seemed to be competing with and trying to show that he could do the same things that a certain 6’8″ 260lb player could do. First off Derrick, you got to crawl before you can walk. Coming back from a major injury, no one is expecting you to do the things you did prior to the injury right away. And secondly, don’t try to be, or be better than someone else. Be the best you that you can be! And if that’s not enough, then so be it. True Bulls fans, will always think it’s enough. We know how much love you have for Chicago. And let your teammates help. That’s what they are there for. I enjoy a great assist, just as much as I enjoy a slam dunk. Good things come to those who wait. And I for one, am willing to wait. However the Bears loss Sunday didn’t make me feel too good about the immediate Chicago sports scene. Oh well, there is the Cubs Convention coming up. Godspeed Derrick. godspeed.

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WHAT TO DO WITH JAY CUTLER?

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After he lead the Bears to a 27-20 victory Monday night over the Green Bay Packers, albeit an Aaron Rodgers-less Green Bay Packers, Josh McCown leaves the Bears with a big question, what to do with Jay Cutler who will be a free-agent at the end of the season? In a little less than two games, McCown has completed 36 of his 61 pass attempts, throwing for 476 yards and three touchdowns, and more importantly, no interceptions. And these are not dink-and-dunk type passes. Averaging 13 yards per pass, Bears head coach Marc Tressman has not had to alter the Bears offense one bit for Josh McCown. And while they didn’t win the game against Washington in week 7, the game where Jay Cutler was injured in the second quarter, it was not the fault of the offense. It was more on a defense who couldn’t stop the Redskins at all, and especially, when the game was on the line, on their final drive and the Bears lost 45-41.

So that brings us to the question, with the emergence of Josh McCown at quarterback, should the Bears resign Jay Cutler to a long-term contract in the offseason? I have always defended Jay Cutler. Saying just when he finally gets a good coordinator in Mike Martz, and they ironed out their differences and were able to work together effectively for a little over one season, he gets injured at the end of 2011. And last year Lovie got rid of Martz. So Cutler has never really had a chance, with a good offensive coordinator in place, or he’s healthy, to show what he can do. We’ve been teased enough, with flashes here and there, to know what he is capable of. I will admit, this question didn’t cross my mind, until I saw this tweet last night by @RealSkipBayless “As big a fan as I am of Cutler’s, have to believe some Bears fans wondering if Trestman should stick with McCown.” I replied, no. But later, as I watched the highlights of the game, and McCown’s performance, I really got to thinking about it.

The Bears could use the money they would save by not resigning Cutler, on some of the good defensive free-agents that are gonna be available. In particular, Seattle’s Strong Safety Kam Chancellor. Currently our last line of defense is Chris Conte. Who has gotten boiled over so many times, each time a running back is bearing down on him, it looks like his life is flashing before his eyes. And I would like to think, that with the $15million/per the Bears would save by not resigning Cutler, they could also sign another impact defensive player, maybe a defensive lineman or another safety. I have dubbed Major Wright, major wrong. My friends on Facebook can attest to this! To win a Superbowl, all you need is a sturdy offense (like the one the Bears had Monday night), and a good defense. It’s still a sore spot for many a Bears fan, knowing that the Bears, with it’s great defense, probably could have won that Superbowl in 2007, if Lovie had just stuck with Kyle Orton as our quarterback.

What will be the convincing factor for me, is Josh McCown’s performance this Sunday against Detroit. If he does good, and the Bears win, well then that will cinch it for me, that he is our future. Sorry Jay, sometimes things just don’t work out. I hope no hard feeling. The problem will lie in, how will the coaching staff handle it when Jay Cutler is fully healthy and ready to play. Will they pull a “Jim Harbaugh” and just bench Jay and go with Josh McCown so long as the getting is good? Or will they hand the reigns back over to Jay when he is healthy. All this will be a mute point if McCown lays an egg this Sunday against Detroit, who has a much fiercer pass rush than Green Bay. But if he does good, Marc Tressman has a tough decision to make. Winning in sports is not easy. Sometimes you have to make tough personnel decisions. Chicago fans are familiar with this trade, Charles Oakley for Bill Cartwright, and the three championships that it brought. Anyway, I can’t wait until Sunday. All I want is for the Bears to win, and if our defense can get better, while our offense remains sturdy, so be it.

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