Chalk Talk: Bears, Bulls and the Jan

We’re only three days into 2012 and already things are firing up in Chicago. Here’s the latest material in a new version of Chalk Talk.

Tuesday spurred a new direction for the Bears as the team parted ways with general manager Jerry Angelo and offensive coordinator Mike Martz.

Bears president Ted Phillips fired Angelo after 11 seasons as GM. Martz straight up resigned from his position as the Chicago Tribune cited “philosophical differences” between he and head coach Lovie Smith.

The Angelo move was rather sudden and stunning, but this could have predicted based on how the team finished the 2011 season.

The Bears began the year red-hot going 7-3 in their first 10 games but after Jay Cutler’s season-ending thumb injury, the team went just 1-5 in their last six games and missed the playoffs with an 8-8 record.

With holes in the Bears secondary, offensive line, receiving corps and Angelo’s lack of savvy in the draft, the writing was on the wall and Ted Phillips thought it was the right time to part ways —  in which case, Phillips was right.

Can you ask yourself beside Gabe Carimi, where have our first draft picks gone? And what was Angelo thinking with Roy Williams, Marion Barber and Sam Hurd, among other things???

As for Martz —  you could see his time was coming to an end as his ego and play calling was creating more friction than ever on the offensive side of things.

Gee, I wish I had tape of Cutler yelling at Martz for an example… or may be, I do:

Evidently, Christmas came late for Bears fans (and Jay Cutler) and the franchise will venture into a new era at Halas Hall.  Are they all of a sudden copying a method from the Cubs and Theo? We shall see.

But it also appears the new era will feature head coach Lovie Smith, who was survived the fray.

Smith was hired by Angelo in 2003 and has two years remaining on his contract. As much as some are crying for his exit, unless Lovie decides to step down or the new general manager Phillips appoints feels Lovie shouldn’t be apart of the team going forward, the Bears will need to play an even worse 2012 season to see Lovie go.

And that’s a little hard think since most of the players are in Lovie’s corner.

Smith wasn’t the only coach that saw an improvement in job security…

San Diego retained head coach Norv Turner but the biggest un-move of the day was Philadelphia keeping Andy Reid.

San Diego and Philadelphia had to be two of the most disappointing teams in the NFL this season and it looked like both Turner and Reid would get axed because of it.

The Eagles hailed themselves as the “Dream Team” after their offseason signing spree but started off 3-6, while the Chargers, mostly Philip Rivers, expected a Super Bowl but lost six-straight after starting 4-1.

Both teams missed the playoffs, but both coaches will still be working next season.

By the way, if the Colts don’t draft Andrew Luck, they can have fun being 3-13 every season.

Only the Bulls…

The Bulls were down as many as 19 in the second half but Derrick Rose scored 17 of his 30 points in the fourth quarter to help the Bulls overcome Atlanta, 76-74, at the United Center Tuesday night.

Luol Deng scored the game winner as he grabbed a back door pass from Joakim Noah with 3.7 seconds left and the Bulls escaped defeat on Joe Johnson’s airball at the buzzer.

Atlanta led for all but 57.8 seconds when Rose gave the Bulls their first lead. When Jeff Teague missed two free throws late in the fourth with 17.5 seconds remaining, Rose capitalized with a layup with just 9.9 seconds left on the clock, giving the Bulls a 74-73 lead.

Rose nailed three 3-pointers in the fourth and simply took over in the fourth to give the Bulls their fourth-straight win and a 5-1 start, the team’s best since the 1996-1997 season, which M.J. and company went 12-0.

How sick is Rose, Chicago?

Michigan defeated Virginia Tech in overtime, 23-20, to snatch the Sugar Bowl. But possibly what put the whole bowl into perspective was the quote from Wolverines kicker Brendan Gibbons after the game.

A reporter asked Gibbons — who kicked the game-winner — what went through his mind during the timeout before the kick.

“Brunette girls,” Gibbons said. “Every time we were struggling in kicking, coach always tells me, ‘think about girls at the beach’ or brunette girls,’ so that’s what we did. We made the kick.”

Point to the brunettes, who helped Michigan win the Sugar Bowl, apparently.

Hey, I like the brunettes, too. Especially this one in particular.

Blackhawk down 

Daniel Carcillo’s five-minute boarding penalty in the Hawks 4-3 loss to Edmonton at the United Center Monday night did more damage than what the Blackahawks’ winger probably wanted.

Not only did it lead to two goals that ultimately won it for the Oilers, the hit on Tom Gilbert suspended Carcillo indefinitely.

And how about insult to injury? The penalty actually led to an injury for Carcillo, who needed help off the ice after the play.

On replay, the hit doesn’t look as bad as you might think. But since Carcillo is a repeat offender, his leash doesn’t go too far on hits, especially one where someone gets flung into the boards, nearly almost head first. You can say that this was a hit Carcillo had no intent on making dirty, that’s for sure.

Now if only the Hawks can fix their power play woes…

Quick shoutout to the Jan Man, El Matador! 

One of my mainest men, Craig Janowiak, embarked on a trip overseas to Spain on Tuesday. In fact, as I’m typing this at close to 1:30 a.m. Chicago time, the Jan Man should be getting off a plane and entering uncharted territory until late April.

Good luck my man! Hermano, lo mejor de los tiempos en España. Sé que va a ser un granexperiencia y la tome por lo que vale la pena. Disfrutar de las vistas, que el suyolugar, no coma demasiados dulces español – haha – y cuando regrese, los Bulls, Derrick Rose y los playoffs se espera ser. Partido a mi hermano y lo mejor de la suerte! Banana!

Let the month of JAN-uary, begin!

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