In June 2020, then-Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein discussed the need to improve diversity within the Cubs organization, pointing a finger at himself, noting how a chunk of his Cubs hires “have similar backgrounds as me and look a lot like me.” He continued: “That’s something I need to ask myself why. I need to question my own assumptions, my own attitudes. I need to find a way to be better.” A fair and honest assessment in that moment in time.
Epstein is now gone. Since his resignation, the Cubs have promoted from within (Jed Hoyer) to replace Epstein, and hired Vanderbilt educated Carter Hawkins to fill Hoyer’s role. And suddenly, the Cubs are – once again – fronted by a president and GM who have similar backgrounds and look like what the front office has looked like for some time. In other words, the Cubs did the thing Theo Epstein was warning about.
To be clear, Hawkins’ credentials look solid. And he could very well be a good hire. But to hear the Cubs talk the talk about inclusion and diversity, then not do anything publicly to fix it bugs me. My hope is that the franchise addresses these issues with hires elsewhere. Open doors for people. Look outside your inner circle. Reach out beyond your comfort zone. Be the better you say you want to be. Otherwise, words mean nothing.
• Sure, the Titans got the win on Monday Night Football. But it was the Bills who caught my eye. Particularly, on the offensive side of the ball. Buffalo circled the wagons to the tune of 417 yards of offense, 28 first downs, converting 53.8 percent of third downs, making 5 red-zone trips, and scoring 31 points. Again, the Bills lost after Josh Allen couldn’t convert a QB sneak into a first-down. But Offensive Coordinator Brian Daboll left a strong impression on me.
• And not just because he ran that play Philly stole from the 2016 Bears:
And that's The Buffalo Special.
— Buffalo Bills (@BuffaloBills) October 19, 2021
• After a clunker in Week 1, Brian Daboll’s offense has been putting on a show. The Bills rank first in percentage of drives that end with a score, 29th in drives that end in a turnover, second in points, sixth in yards, and 4th in first downs. This offense moves the chains, puts points on the board, and limits turnovers. Where the heck can I sign up for this?
• Sometimes, I wonder if – for the short term – the Bears are better off emulating the Titans. Run-first offenses are the exception (not the rule) these days, but it works in Tennessee. Allow Derrick Henry to set the tone, then work play action with Ryan Tannehill and A.J. Brown. Justin Fields has the athleticism to make magic happen as a passer. And the multi-headed ground attack featuring David Montgomery (when his knee heals), Damien Williams (when he is out of COVID protocol), and Khalil Herbert (the rookie on a roll) could make something work.
• Let the record show the Titans averaged 7.1 yards per offensive play, didn’t see their QB sacked once (hit just twice), and turned all three red-zone trips into touchdowns. Again … where can I sign up for this?
• On the other side of the ball, Khalil Mack and Robert Quinn are my favorite Chicago tag team since Bryzzo was broken up:
5️⃣2️⃣ x 9⃣4️⃣
The NFL’s leading sack duo. 😤 pic.twitter.com/vyeE78ow8s
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) October 19, 2021
• Through six games, Khalil Mack and Robert Quinn have combined for 11.5 sacks and 14 QB Hits. But once again, a lack of offensive support is wasting elite pass-rushing performance. Sigh.
• Tom Pelissero (NFL Network) tweets the Bears hosted long-snapper Mitch Fraboni for a tryout. Checking in on long snappers isn’t what I expected from Chicago’s football team. Is Patrick Scales OK? I didn’t see anything alarming about his snap count. Nor do I remember a moment in which he was unavailable in Sunday’s loss to the Packers. Hopefully, this isn’t an issue. The Bears’ place-kicking mechanism has been on point with Scales snapping, Patrick O’Donnell holding, and Cairo Santos booting ’em through the uprights. It would stink to mess any of it up in the middle of the year.
• I’m with Brandon here:
Something I always wonder is which NFL uniform is the best looking for elite linemen? I go back and forth on it all the time. There’s something special about the Bears classic home uniform. Also, any all black edition (Cardinals, Bengals, Ravens) are up there.
— Brandon Thorn (@BrandonThornNFL) October 19, 2021
• What in the wide world of college coaching is going on?
LSU AD Scott Woodward LOVES splashy hires and to swing for the fences. James Franklin? Jimbo has no buyout. Dabo's is only $3M. Or does LSU go after Mel Tucker, Napier, Lane or… Here's everything you need to know about the LSU coaching search: https://t.co/MWbjXtjdqc
— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) October 18, 2021
Head football coach of Washington State fired for refusing COVID-19 vaccine https://t.co/GEYheBbTo6
— WGN TV News (@WGNNews) October 19, 2021
• Can’t help but chuckle:
"All I gotta say to Aaron Rodgers is: give me a break."
— UNDISPUTED (@undisputed) October 18, 2021
• No one plays the heel card better than Aaron Rodgers and it sickens me to admit it:
When #Packers QB Aaron Rodgers was asked postgame about his “I still own you!” comments to the #Bears crowd, he said: “Sometimes you black out on the field… I looked up in the stands and all I saw was a woman giving me the double bird"
Well – there were many of them. pic.twitter.com/hFMD7cvhwO
— Kyle Malzhan (@KyleMalzhan) October 18, 2021
• Games, toys, Nerf, and more are your Epic Daily Deals today at Amazon. #ad
• The Bulls are back!
Officially Official: Here is Your 2021-22 Opening Night Chicago Bulls Roster!https://t.co/dQUzfEL4EY
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) October 18, 2021
• This stems from allegations that Evander Kane submitted a fake COVID-19 vaccination card:
NHL Suspends San Jose Sharks Forward Evander Kane 21-Games for COVID Protocol Violationshttps://t.co/TMNFKlIxhn
— Bleacher Nation Blackhawks (@BN_Blackhawks) October 19, 2021
• Welcome to Schwarbtober:
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) October 19, 2021