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Everything but the kitchen sink

This week was a great week for football. The Bears pulled off another big win to move to the top of the NFC North. My fantasy team took another big hit to crush my dreams of winning a fantasy league, ever. The Redbirds saw their home-opener against Abilene Christian at the all-new Hancock Stadium result in a victory. This time of year there is so much to talk about, I couldn’t just pick one topic. So why not touch on them all?

Photo courtesy of www.pantagraph.com

Photo courtesy of www.pantagraph.com

Trestman brings out Bears’ backbone
Everything the Bears needed to get out of Marc Trestman that they weren’t getting out of Lovie Smith came to the forefront in these last couple of weeks. The offense is spreading the ball around, and capitalizing under pressure. Jay Cutler is avoiding heat in the pocket by getting rid of the ball quickly, and he’s completing passes big and small.  While we can’t expect to see a drastically different offense with less than a quarter of the season in the books, there is a bit more diversity in the play-calling and it’s producing the results that Chicago fans are looking for.

Most importantly, Trestman has brought an unmatched tenacity to the team — which is exactly what we’ve been looking for. In fourth-and-short situations when Lovie would’ve just kicked the field goal or punted it away, the new coach is going for it. He threw two challenge flags last Sunday (one of which went in his favor), when Smith would’ve just stared blankly while the teams set up for the next play. This is going to be what makes the difference for the Bears this season and into the future: having the nerve to step up and take chances, rather than sticking to the milquetoast, the mundane, the same ol’ same ol’.

Fantasy Football: Easy to over-think
This past week for my Fantasy team was a complete bummer.  After wrestling with myself over what to do with a few lousy picks, I switched things up a bit.  I dropped an injured player and picked up a new running back, who has thus far proved to be much better for my second slot than Eddie Lacy. After taking a look at the stats for the first couple of weeks, I set my starting lineup and crossed my fingers. And boy, I really outdid myself this time.

Instead of improving my team, I wound up over-thinking things.  I benched a bunch of studs for a bunch of stinkers. Seattle’s Sidney Rice, for example, got me a total of four points over the first two weeks combined. This week, he got 19, after five receptions for 79 yards and two touchdowns. Then there’s RG3, who has been pretty shaky over these first couple of weeks. I decided to bench him for my back up, Matt Schaub, who was predicted to be good for 17 points. Instead, Schaub garnered five points while Griffin managed 12. Frankly, if it weren’t for the Bears defense rounding up 21 points this week, I would’ve lost by the worst margin I ever have.  I still got creamed: 68-111.

Hancock stadium is a hit
The newly renovated Hancock Stadium’s first weekend this past Saturday was a marked success.  In front of 11,029 screaming fans, the Redbirds blew by Abilene Christian in a 31-17 win.  Redshirt freshman quarterback Blake Winkler dominated in his first career start leading the team to season-highs in points and first downs, throwing 18-for-25 for 201 yards.  Several big kickoff returns and an impressive defensive showing carried Winkler’s efforts to the win.

Fans of all ages, but especially the student section, seem thrilled at what has been made of Hancock Stadium — and rightfully so. The new facility is absolutely awesome, and the design had us in mind. The seats are more comfortable. The views are fantastic. Having brand new everything is one of those feelings that really escapes description.

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