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Heat regular-season schedule includes game in Mexico City, team’s second visit there in five years

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Heat Regular-Season Schedule Includes Game In Mexico City, Team’s Second Visit There In Five Years
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There will be a south-of-the-border element for the Miami Heat, the NBA confirmed Wednesday.

The Heat, are scheduled for a Dec. 17 game in Mexico City, one that will count against the San Antonio Spurs’ home schedule and be televised nationally on NBA TV.

It will be the Heat’s first regular-season game outside of the United States or Canada since defeating the Brooklyn Nets 101-89 on Dec. 9, 2017 in front of a listed 19,777 in Mexico City.

The game at Mexico City Arena is part of the Spurs’ expansion beyond their AT&T Center home, with the Spurs also to play two games this season in Austin, Texas, as well as one at the downtown Alamodome.

For the Heat, the game will come in place of their annually scheduled regular-season trip to San Antonio. Last season’s Heat visit to San Antonio had to be rescheduled due to the pandemic, when the Heat could not field the required eight players in uniform. The Heat swept last season’s two-game series from the Spurs.

During the Heat’s 2017 trip to Mexico City, then Heat-guard Dion Waiters said, “I just found out it was actually bigger than New York. That’s crazy.

“I’ll tell you one thing, the cars don’t stop. It’s worse than New York. It’s crazy.”

Of that 2017 game, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said at the time, “I was pleasantly surprised walking around and seeing NBA games on the TV everywhere we went, and the fans recognized us. It felt like we were in Miami.”

That 2017 game in Mexico City came three months after a 7.1 magnitude earthquake hit the city, requiring an NBA site inspection ahead of the meetings with the Nets.

It again will put the Heat at extreme elevation, Mexico City is 7,350 feet above sea level. The NBA’s highest elevation is Denver, at 5,280.

“It feels like we played two games,” then-Heat guard Goran Dragic said after that 2017 exhibition.

In 2013, a game between the Spurs and Minnesota Timberwolves in Mexico City had to be postponed due to smoke filling the arena from a generator malfunction.

Last month, in the Arboledas Park area of Mexico City, NBA Mexico designed local courts with a mural that included a section with a painting of Heat mascot Burnie.

The NBA is returning to international games this season and this preseason after a break due to the pandemic. The last regular-season NBA game in Mexico came in 2019, between the Spurs and Phoenix Suns.

The NBA already has announced preseason games on Oct. 6 and Oct. 8 between the Atlanta Hawks and Milwaukee Bucks in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.

The league also will stage a regular-season game between the Chicago Bulls and Detroit Pistons in Paris on Jan. 19.

The NBA’s first game outside of the United States or Canada was a 1984 exhibition between the Suns and New Jersey Nets. The first international regular-season game was in Tokyo in 1990, between the Suns and Utah Jazz.

Among other international venues for Heat games (all exhibitions) have been Nassau, Bahamas; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Tel Aviv; Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic; Paris, London; Beijing; Shanghai and Rio De Janeiro. The Heat do not have an international exhibition this year.

In a release issued Wednesday, ahead of the 3 p.m. release of the full 2022-23 NBA schedule, the NBA said:

“The National Basketball Association (NBA) and Zignia today announced that the five-time NBA champion San Antonio Spurs and the three-time NBA champion Miami Heat will play a regular-season game at the Arena CDMX in Mexico City on Saturday, Dec. 17, marking the first NBA Mexico City Game since 2019 and the league’s 31st game in Mexico overall, more than any country outside the U.S. and Canada. The NBA and Zignia will continue to collaborate on future NBA initiatives in Mexico over the next several years.”

Tickets for The NBA Mexico City Game 2022 will go on sale at a later date. Beginning today and through Saturday, Sept. 3, fans interested in attending the game can register their interest in tickets and receive access to an exclusive ticket pre-sale by visiting


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James Stavridis: Putin’s new cannon fodder won’t win the Ukraine war

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A Man Hugs His Mother Outside A Military Recruitment Center Iin Russia As Officers And Others Look On.
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Russian President Vladimir Putin tripled down on the war in Ukraine in a short but defiant televised speech last week. Politically, he announced that a series of referendums on joining Russia would be held in the conquered territories of eastern Ukraine. Militarily, he repeated previous not-so-veiled threats to use nuclear weapons, and announced a mobilization of 300,000 reservists to be thrown into his flailing “special military operation.”

All these choices smack of desperation and an attempt to thread a narrow needle: Putin wants Russians to believe that everything is going fine and that ultimately he will conquer Ukraine; but he also knows that with as many as 80,000 troops killed in action or wounded in just over six months of war, he simply must get more soldiers into the fight.

The referendums are largely meaningless, with preordained outcomes that no informed observer or the United Nations will take seriously. The nuclear threat is a repetition of Putin’s bluster from months ago. He is highly unlikely to use even a low-yield tactical nuclear weapon given the obvious threat of starting World War III and also the immense damage it would do in his efforts to keep Brazil, India, Nigeria, South Africa and other large nonaligned countries in neutrality.

But the mobilization of 300,000 troops is worth examining as a matter of military analysis. What does the decision to call in reserves say about the state of the war, and how should the West react?

When I was supreme allied commander of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, I participated in exercises with many reserve troops, including those of three non-NATO countries with exceptional systems: Finland, Israel and Switzerland. (Finland is currently in the midst of the NATO accession process.)

Finland and Israel are small nations with a history of being invaded by their immediate neighbors — Russia in the case of the former, and various Arab nations for the latter. Both have universal conscription (males for Finland, both sexes for Israel) that flows into a highly ordered, motivated and exceptionally well-equipped reserve force. I came away with deep respect for their capabilities.

Another country with incredibly ready reserves is neutral Switzerland. The military tradition there is deeply respected and woven into Swiss culture, from highly trained fighter pilots to troops mounted on racing bicycles. Every time I flew over Switzerland in NATO aircraft, I would look with admiration to the left and right at reserve fighter pilots in high-end jets escorting us over their country.

The Russian reserve system, by contrast, is not highly regarded by outside military analysts. It is based on the vestiges of universal conscription that were in place for decades, and the stories of raw draftees being beaten, abused and starved are legendary. (See, for example, “One Soldier’s War” by Arkady Babchenko for a snapshot inside the brutal system.) It is also shockingly corrupt. When soldiers get out of uniform — after brutal wars in Afghanistan, Chechnya and Syria — they want to get as far as they can from the army.

Once discharged, former soldiers are loosely tracked by the Russian state. In contrast to modern Western militaries, there appears to be very little systematic training, no organized equipment maintenance or operations, and no in-depth ties with standing units and missions. While there are a few reserve units in the model of U.S. system, they are small and inadequately supported by the larger armed forces.

Ominously for Russia, the mobilization order places the onus for recruitment on various governors of Russian regions, under a system of quotas levied by the defense ministry. This demonstrates that there is no broad, structured reserve to which the Russian military can turn. Additionally, the decree allows for further call-ups down the road, and offers bonuses to the reserves who come forward, much like the incentives offered to convicts in Russian prisons to go and fight.

It will be a Herculean administrative task to provide uniforms and training for 300,000 troops, find qualified leaders at the officer level, provide them with effective equipment, and get them integrated with communications and logistics. It will be months before a significant number can be brought to bear in combat. Then, almost certainly, they will become yet another wave of cannon fodder launched at Ukrainian positions.

The Ukrainians, knowing they may eventually be facing a much larger force, will prepare their own responses. They will be seeking (and probably receiving from the West) systems that can negate large numbers of foot soldiers: close-air attack planes, tanks and artillery, mounted machine guns, precision mortars and long-range surface-to-surface missiles.

The Russians being pulled off the street in this mobilization will face a highly motivated, extremely well-armed and very innovative foe in the Ukrainians. The War of Putin’s Ego continues, and many of these 300,000 poor souls are likely to pay the ultimate cost for his folly.

A Russian recruit hugs his mother at a military recruitment center in Volgograd, Russia, Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022. Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday ordered a partial mobilization of reservists to beef up his forces in Ukraine. (AP Photo, File)


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Ukraine vows to challenge Russia’s ‘void and worthless’ referendums

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Ukraine Vows To Challenge Russia'S 'Void And Worthless' Referendums
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Ukraine will never recognize ‘void and worthless’ Russian referendums in its occupied territories and will continue to fight to free them, Kyiv promised today.

Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson ‘remain Ukraine’s sovereign territories’, Kyiv’s foreign ministry says, despite sham votes staged by Russia at gunpoint that paved the way for Putin to attach them.

“Ukraine has every right to restore its territorial integrity through military and diplomatic means, and will continue to liberate” its territory, the ministry added – in defiance of Kremlin threats to use nuclear weapons.

Meanwhile, U.S. lawmakers have reportedly earmarked an additional $12 billion in military and economic aid to Ukraine, underscoring their commitment to supporting Kyiv for a long time despite Russia’s slashing.

Ukraine Has Vowed Never To Recognize Russian Referendums

Ukraine has vowed never to recognize ‘void and worthless’ Russian referendums or stop liberating its occupied territories (pictured, Russian troops outside a polling station)

President Zelensky Has Said There Will Be No Peace Talks With Russia As Putin Tries To Carve Up His Country Under The Guise Of Democracy

President Zelensky Has Said There Will Be No Peace Talks With Russia As Putin Tries To Carve Up His Country Under The Guise Of Democracy

President Zelensky has said there will be no peace talks with Russia as Putin tries to carve up his country under the guise of democracy

Russian officials in occupied parts of Ukraine announced yesterday that 90% of people had voted to be part of Russia – a result which was little in doubt as armed soldiers went door to door in the ballot boxes.

Kremlin puppets in occupied areas said they planned to seek permission to join Russia today, which Putin is expected to accept in a speech to parliament on Friday.

While devoid of legitimacy, the process will allow Putin to lie to his own people that Ukraine is now attacking Russia rather than the other way around – kicking off a dangerous new phase in the conflict.

President Zelensky, speaking at the UN last night, said there could be no peace talks with Putin while he worked to carve up Ukrainian territory.

“Russia’s recognition of these sham referendums as normal … will mean that there is nothing to discuss with this Russian president,” he said.

Separately, his foreign ministry criticized “armed aggression and powerless attempts to cling to the territories temporarily occupied” by the Kremlin.

“Forcing residents of these territories to fill out papers with the barrel of a gun is another Russian crime during its aggression against Ukraine,” he said.

“Such actions seriously violate the Constitution and laws of Ukraine, as well as the norms of international law and Russia’s international obligations. ‘

Russia Claimed Yesterday That More Than 90% Of The Inhabitants Of The Territories It Occupies Had Voted To Join The

Russia Claimed Yesterday That More Than 90% Of The Inhabitants Of The Territories It Occupies Had Voted To Join The

Russia claimed yesterday that more than 90% of the people in the territories it occupies had voted to join the ‘motherland’, although there is no doubt the poll was rigged

Moscow yesterday released the results of referendums its troops have held in occupied parts of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia over the past week – saying 90% of people voted to be part of Russia.

Videos of armed Kremlin soldiers going door to door with ballot boxes left little doubt about the validity of the votes, but it nevertheless marks an important moment as it gives Putin a pretext to claim them as part of Russia .

The despot is expected to do so on Friday when he addresses both houses of parliament, allowing him to lie to his own people that Ukraine is now attacking Russia – rather than the other way around.

This then increases the suite of options he must answer, including the use of nuclear weapons.

Putin threatened to deploy his nuclear arsenal last week, and his allies – including ex-president Dmitry Medvedev – have repeated it many times since.

Russia staged the referendums following a Ukrainian counterattack east of Kharkiv that put Putin firmly on the back foot and victory within reach.

The Kremlin now appears to be trying to regain momentum with a heady mix of threats and escalation.

Putin Is Expected To Annex Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia And Kherson Regions To Russia In A Speech To Parliament On Friday (File Image)

Putin Is Expected To Annex Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia And Kherson Regions To Russia In A Speech To Parliament On Friday (File Image)

Putin is expected to annex Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions to Russia in a speech to parliament on Friday (file image)

Annexing The Territory Would Allow Putin To Claim That Ukraine Is Attacking Russia Rather Than The Other Way Around, Paving The Way For The War To Escalate (File Image, A Russian Soldier In Ukraine)

Annexing The Territory Would Allow Putin To Claim That Ukraine Is Attacking Russia Rather Than The Other Way Around, Paving The Way For The War To Escalate (File Image, A Russian Soldier In Ukraine)

Annexing the territory would allow Putin to claim that Ukraine is attacking Russia rather than the other way around, paving the way for the war to escalate (File image, a Russian soldier in Ukraine)

Besides referenda and nuclear saber-cutting, Putin also ordered the partial mobilization of the Russian population with the aim of sending 300,000 new troops to the front lines.

This sparked huge domestic unrest with protests breaking out in several cities and seeing thousands of people fleeing the country to avoid the project.

Meanwhile, videos revealed conscripts were given little training or equipment before being thrown to the front lines, with experts saying they are unlikely to turn the tide of the war.

But, rather than outright winning, Putin appears to be trying to increase the cost of his defeat so that the West stops trying.

In this context, two explosions yesterday seriously damaged the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines which pass under the Baltic Sea – Moscow being the main suspect.

However, Western leaders have so far refrained from blaming Russia directly as the attack caught them off guard and evidence is still being collected.

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After 2 years of loss on and off the field, Eddie Jackson is playing with a rejuvenated spirit for the Chicago Bears — and the same bold confidence

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After 2 Years Of Loss On And Off The Field, Eddie Jackson Is Playing With A Rejuvenated Spirit For The Chicago Bears — And The Same Bold Confidence
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In the backyard of a newly built townhouse in East Garfield Park on Sept. 13, a group of junior high and high school kids from Marillac St. Vincent Family Services peppered Eddie Jackson with questions.

The Chicago Bears safety handled it with the swagger of someone returning a pick-six.

Jackson got into the real topics at the event promoting the construction of the Harrison Row Townhomes, an affordable single-family housing complex sold through the Chicago Housing Trust. Why financial literacy is important for the kids. Why dreams beyond becoming football players or entertainers should be celebrated. Why he’s making investments for his future beyond the NFL.

But there was a lot of bold football talk too.

Can you train me?

“Yeah, I got you. I got you,” Jackson answered. “I’ve got to check what your schedule looks like though.”

What’s your Madden score?

“What you think it should be, 99? That’s what I’m saying. Yeah, 99.”

Do you think you’d be better if you stayed at wide receiver?

“I won’t say I’d be better, but I’d be one of the top dogs for sure.”

Do you think the Bears are going to win the championship this year?

“Yeah, of course, but I think that every year.”

Who’s the most competitive person you’ve played?

“I’d say Aaron Rodgers. We see him Sunday. We’ve got something for him though.”

Just two days earlier, Jackson broke a 32-month stretch without an interception when he dived in front of a pass from San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance. The feeling, Jackson said, was not so much relief or vindication but more one of being “rejuvenated.”

It’s an interesting choice of words because in the Bears youth movement under general manager Ryan Poles and coach Matt Eberflus, Jackson, in his sixth season, is suddenly one of the more senior members of the team. The defensive veterans who led during Jackson’s exuberant first few seasons — including Akiem Hicks, Khalil Mack and Danny Trevathan — are all gone, and he feels more of a responsibility to guide.

At the same time, Jackson feels new energy under the changed coaching staff and roster. And the “fresh start” coaches touted for him in the spring has led to two interceptions in the first three games of 2022. The team vibe is one Jackson hopes pushes him back to the playmaking prowess that resulted in 10 interceptions and five touchdowns in his first three seasons.

Not that he ever thought it was gone, even after a couple of years of loss on and off the field.

“I always knew what type of player I am,” Jackson told the Tribune. “My coaches, players, teammates, everyone knows. It never was a thing where my head was held low.”

‘It was just so much’

The Houston Texans were at the Bears 7-yard line and threatening to take the lead in the first quarter Sunday at Soldier Field when cornerback Kindle Vildor saw Brandin Cooks run a route the Bears prepared for in the red zone all week. Vildor jumped in front of quarterback Davis Mills’ pass, popping the football into the air.

Jackson was right there to grab the ball in the end zone. He also forced a fumble one drive earlier, though the Texans recovered it. He briefly left the game to go into the medical tent but returned to play a short time later.

“It’s just flying around,” Jackson said after the Week 3 win. “That’s what happens when you hustle and play with intensity. Good things start to happen.”

For a while, not a lot was going right for Jackson. It was more than just going two seasons without an interception or missing tackles or having officials call back touchdowns because of penalties, though those things compounded other struggles.

Over the last two years, Jackson’s girlfriend, Alison Gore, suffered a miscarriage of their first child and then lost another baby at 6 months. In between those losses, Jackson’s longtime best friend, Romario Olivier — a down-to-earth, lovable guy with whom Jackson shared secrets and advice since they were kids — died from what Jackson said was an accidental self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Jackson’s first instinct was to bury the emotions and smile. He wanted to be strong for Gore. He didn’t want people to think he was looking for pity — a “poor me,” he called it. He thought people expected him to act a certain way, that he had a responsibility to keep everyone else’s spirits up.

“Just coming in here (at Halas Hall), you’ve got guys that are looking to you,” Jackson said. “A lot of stuff was going off of my emotions, so if I come here down, everybody was like, ‘Yo, Eddie!’ So I just tried to keep a smile on my face, just come in here like, ‘All right, I’m going to hit the building. Let me just put it behind me.’

“It was just so much. And I felt like, ‘Man, ain’t nothing going good for me.’ … It was like, ‘Why me?’ You’re questioning God and stuff like that. But now I’m at peace with it. I put everything in God’s hands and I go from there.”

Jackson said he and Gore, whom he met on his first day on campus at Alabama, relied on close friends, family and God. He didn’t share their losses with many people, but it poured out of him in an interview with Bears play-by-play announcer Jeff Joniak that was released in Week 2, a revelation that touched Bears fans who have followed Jackson’s ups and downs.

“People look at us like superheroes, and I get it,” Jackson said last week. “I understand the type of profession we’re in. We’re human at the end of the day. We go through stuff. We leave here, take these shoulder pads off, we walk into the house and have the same problems with family and friends (that everyone does).”

Jackson has used the phrase “at peace” for how he feels off the field and on it too.

He was open at training camp about his play the last couple of years as the Bears defense stumbled after a stellar 2018 season in former defensive coordinator Vic Fangio’s final year. Jackson, who signed a four-year, $58.4 million extension in January 2020, said he was complacent, that he didn’t live up to the standards he set for himself.

But Jackson seems to have a genuine belief in a turnaround, faith that the energy this coaching staff brings and the way it pushes players could change things at Halas Hall.

“The mindset we have, it’s like they’re holding all of us to the same level of accountability,” Jackson said. “They’re not letting anyone slack. We’re not taking anything that’s less than what we know we have. We set the ceiling and the standards very, very high, and we feel like we’re actually going to achieve those. And it doesn’t seem like it’s not possible.”

The spark from Jackson, who was an honorary team captain for the Texans game, certainly has been notable. And part of that comes from knowing he has a young group of players, including second-round pick Jaquan Brisker, watching how he handles himself.

‘Knowledge and experience to share’

JaMarquis Allen, a senior at Providence-St. Mel, walked out of the townhome’s yard clutching a signed football, gloves and photo and declaring his interactions with Jackson “very motivational.” Jackson spent about 30 minutes signing autographs and taking selfies with the Marillac St. Vincent kids, giving extra gear to Allen’s team, which was the first to complete a $10,000 budget at a financial literacy class a night earlier.

Allen was one of about two dozen kids who listened to Jackson talk about investing in Kinexx Modular Construction, a company with several athlete investors that reduces construction costs by assembling modular homes in its factory before putting them together on site. Kinexx was a partner of Structured Development, along with Fain’s Development, for the Harrison Row project, which will have 40 affordable homes.

Jackson’s involvement was twofold. One incentive was that Jackson, who will turn 29 in December and was accompanied to the event by his parents and Gore, wants to make investments that will help his future after football.

“A lot of people don’t know, but the average span is two, three years in the NFL and then you go bankrupt two, three years after the NFL,” Jackson told the kids during the Q&A session. “So this is a huge thing for me to create some generational wealth and create some financial stability for myself as well as my family.”

He also wanted to give back in Chicago, help with the affordable housing crisis and educate the kids.

Jackson said he didn’t really gain financial literacy until he bought his first house and thought it was important kids have schooling in it early. He started a scholarship fund with that purpose in honor of Olivier, whom Jackson considered a model of entrepreneurship after his friend started his own tow truck company.

“Everyone feels like you have to be an athlete or entertainer or something to make it out, when there’s really a million different ways,” Jackson told the kids. “And that kind of starts right now, having this information you guys are learning, being able to come out here and see what’s going on in the community and how you can impact it when you get older to help change things.”

It’s a message Jackson takes to heart too.

“I always pray not just to thank God for my blessings but to ask him for me to become one to others,” he said.

Around Halas Hall, that philosophy could help him as he learns how to be the veteran. Bears safeties coach Andre Curtis said Jackson has a quiet leadership to him — he maybe doesn’t give rousing speeches, but people gravitate to him. That includes Brisker.

When Jackson first told Brisker to let him know if he needed anything after the Bears drafted the Penn State safety, Brisker asked to watch film with him that day. That’s how Brisker found himself at the gate to Jackson’s house in awe.

“When I first walked in there, I’m like, ‘Wow,’” Brisker said during training camp. “I had to tell him, coming from where I’m coming from, we don’t see things like that. So that was very big for me. So, like, I know I’m in the NFL.”

Brisker and Jackson watched film together on their tablets, the start of weeks of film sessions and meals together. Brisker said all of the Bears safeties help him, but he was at Jackson’s house so much that “I was like, I’ve got to chill a little bit, give him some room.”

“They’ve got a genuine friendship,” Curtis said. “They spend a lot of time together studying tape, even on days off. Eddie is a private person, but he has a huge heart for helping other people and he has knowledge and experience to share with a young player, and I think that’s pretty cool.”

Jackson at one point called Brisker “Little Brother” and said that while Brisker is more settled into his own place now, he still is welcome to come over, including for a haircut in Jackson’s in-house barbershop last week. Jackson believes the infusion of youth in the secondary, which also includes draft picks Kyler Gordon and Elijah Hicks, is helping him, too, in both his preparation and his play.

“Just being one of the oldest guys in the room, all of the young guys coming in, they’re looking at you, what you do, how you work, how you are off the field, how you are during meetings,” Jackson said. “You’ve got to carry yourself a certain way.

“Just being able to play with them, just the energy they bring as young players, it’s fun. They’re electric. Everyone saw what they were capable of doing (against the 49ers), just the plays we are capable of making as a unit.

“We want to change the whole identity of this thing. Me and Quan always talk, we want to do the best it’s ever been done as a safety duo. So that’s the mindset.”

It’s the type of bold statement Jackson occasionally makes, but Curtis said Jackson and Brisker have been backing it up with the right approach.

“They’re not lacking in confidence, which is a good thing,” Curtis said. “Both of them have a humility about themselves and they’re approachable and you can coach them and you can coach them hard, and they’ll listen because they want to be really good. And that’s what they’re trying to work to do.”

So far this season, the work — and the energy and peace of mind — is paying off as Jackson is making the type of impact plays that highlighted his early Bears career.

“There may be some other people that say, ‘Well, it’s been this many ballgames, this many years since he’s had an interception,’ but Eddie does not lack for confidence,” defensive coordinator Alan Williams said. “So I don’t know if you would say that boosted his confidence.

“When you work like Eddie works and you’re smart like Eddie, the football intelligence, the confidence doesn’t wane.”


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Toe-ny Taters: The unusual secret to Orioles outfielder Anthony Santander harnessing his home run power

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Toe-Ny Taters: The Unusual Secret To Orioles Outfielder Anthony Santander Harnessing His Home Run Power
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To better explain it, Anthony Santander got into a batting stance in the visitor’s dugout at Fenway Park. He was barefoot, as the Orioles outfielder prefers to be when not on the diamond. He bent his knees slightly, raised his arms to hold an imaginary bat. And then he flexed his toes.

He spread them as much as he could, then repeated his favorite words twice: “Push it apart. Push it apart.”

That phrase constantly runs through Santander’s mind when he’s at the plate, and the results have led to the best season of his professional career. Santander blasted his 30th and 31st home runs Monday against the Boston Red Sox, then returned Tuesday to hit Nos. 32 and 33. With those long balls, Santander joined Ken Singleton and Eddie Murray as the only switch hitters in Orioles history to launch 30 or more long balls in a season.

His power has improved, as has his durability. The secret to it all?

His toes.

Or at least, that’s where it all begins, with an altered offseason workout regimen that started from the bottom — literally — and has helped him create a launching pad of sorts for a breakout campaign.

“It’s like when you’re making a building,” Santander explained through team interpreter Brandon Quinones. “You can’t start from the top down. You start from the bottom up to make sure the foundation is good so the rest can be stabilized and upright.”

The focus began at the end of last season, when Santander decided he wanted to reevaluate his approach and improve physically. He began to eat differently, focused on increasing his rest in the offseason and searched for a new trainer.

Santander met Troy Jones in Miami, the Director of Performance Science and Education at the House of Athlete. And the two began one-on-one training exercises that initially confused Santander. Earlier in his career, he focused more on bench pressing or squatting. But when Jones emphasized strengthening Santander’s toes?

“It was a bit difficult and different,” Santander said. “But once he explained all that, that’s one of the reasons I chose him, because of all those little details that went into the workouts. I like his philosophy because it’s everything put into one. It’s not just benching or focusing on one thing, it’s everything combined together: flexibility, mobility, stretching. All of that put together really comes together nice.”

So in the offseason, Santander ran barefoot on Miami beaches.When he worked out, he was shoeless as well. And when he walks around the clubhouse, he’s often without shoes, too. As Santander understands, he works out different muscles, strengthening his base.

Occasionally, as he walks around the clubhouse, Santander wears a piece of purple plastic between his toes to separate each one.

Santander put his feet up on a chair to give a better view. The toes on his left foot are spaced out, but the little toe on his right foot still hugs its partner. He wants them more separated to create more grip when he bats or throws. Then once again, he got into his batting stance, ready to show what’s hidden behind cleats during the game.

“It’s like this, I have to make sure I use my,” Santander said in English, pointing to his toes. “I can feel it under my cleat, so I can create tension on the bat.”

As Santander flexes his toes, his leg muscles tense. That allows for more torque in his rotation, and it has allowed him to lead all major league switch hitters in homers. His 88 RBIs this season are a career high, too. Manager Brandon Hyde said Santander has developed more consistency, and the outfielder credits his toes for that as well.

Santander has battled several injuries during his career. His 2020 season ended with an oblique injury, and his 2021 season was marred by a sprained left ankle and right knee. Santander has hardly missed any action in 2022, however.

“That’s one of the biggest reasons I’ve had success this year,” Santander said. “Pairing that with the talent I have myself, it’s combined to allow me to have such a great season.”

So each time Santander reaches the plate, there’s more running through his head than just his opposition’s arsenal and attack plan. “Push it apart,” he’ll repeat. And when he connects and sees the ball launch off his bat, Santander can credit his toes — the small detail that has unlocked a breakout season.

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Red Sox end losing streak with 13-9 win over Orioles

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Red Sox End Losing Streak With 13-9 Win Over Orioles
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Triston Casas had three hits, including a home run, in the high-scoring affair.

Boston’s Triston Casas, right, celebrates his two-run home run that also led JD Martinez, left, in the second inning against the Baltimore Orioles, Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2022, in Boston. AP Photo/Michael Dwyer

BOSTON (AP) — Baltimore lost four home runs, including two more by Anthony Santander, in a 13-9 loss to Triston Casas and the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday night, slashing the Orioles’ chances of earning an AL wild card.

Adley Rutschman and Ramón Urías also went deep, but Baltimore (80-74) lost for the third time in four games. The Orioles remained 3 1/2 behind Seattle for the AL third wild card after the Mariners lost 5-0 to the Rangers.

“It’s about continuing to make adjustments on both sides of the ball,” Santander said through an interpreter. “We know time is running out, but there is still time to do what we need to do.”

Casas hit a two-run homer for Boston, which had dropped six in a row. Tommy Pham had three RBIs and Rafael Devers hit a two-run single.

The Red Sox scored six runs in the third and another five in the fourth, capitalizing on a string of blunders by the Orioles.

Two Boston runs were scored on base-loaded steps by Connor Wong and Xander Bogaerts, and another came home when Rob Refsnyder was hit by a pitch with the bases blocked. Second baseman Rougned Odor made two errors in the fourth, just after the Orioles scored five runs in the top half to tie it at 8.

The Orioles’ first six hits were all for extra bases. Rutschman and Santander hit back-to-back homers in the third, and Santander connected for a two-run shot in the fourth.

Santander went wide on both sides of the plate for the second straight night after hitting two of Baltimore’s five home runs in Monday’s 14-8 win at Fenway Park. The slugger has homered six in his last four games and a career-high 33 this season.

“The personal stuff is great. I’m happy that I was able to pull off and land those big hits to put the team in front,” Santander said. “Unfortunately we couldn’t get the result we wanted tonight. , but tomorrow is a new day. We will come back and work hard and try to compete and get a win tomorrow.

Matt Strahm (4-4) picked up the win after replacing Michael Wacha with one out in the fourth. Joey Krehbiel (5-5), one of seven pitchers used by the Orioles, suffered the loss.


Santander has hit four times this season on both sides of home plate, tying Ken Caminiti’s league record set with San Diego in 1996.

Santander doubled high from the wall in the middle in the first, just yards from another homer.


It was an early night for both starters.

Baltimore’s Kyle Bradish lasted just 2 1/3 innings, allowing seven runs and four hits. He walked four and took out three.

“He just didn’t have the command he had in the second half,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. “A lot of deep counts, a lot of fouls and a lot of misses, and a lot of limit pitches didn’t work, but he didn’t have the normal command he had his last two starts.”

Michael Wacha pitched 3 1/3 innings for Boston, getting six runs and eight hits.


Orioles: Urías was back in the lineup after missing the previous two games with neck and shoulder spasms. Urías tripled in the second, started the third with a home run and scored a single in the fifth before leaving in the seventh with a sore right knee.

Red Sox: 1B Eric Hosmer (lower back inflammation) is expected to bat practice before Wednesday’s game and could return to the lineup in the coming days.


The Orioles RHP Dean Kremer (8-5, 3.07 ERA) face the Red Sox LHP Rich Hill (7-7, 4.65 ERA) Wednesday night in the third of four games in the series.

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Chicago Bears Q&A: Is there any precedent for Justin Fields becoming a difference maker? Can Velus Jones be the passing game’s ‘missing component’?

Avatar Of Rajesh Khanna



Chicago Bears Q&Amp;A: Is There Any Precedent For Justin Fields Becoming A Difference Maker? Can Velus Jones Be The Passing Game’s ‘Missing Component’?
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The Chicago Bears take a 2-1 record, a suddenly dominant running game and a still-struggling passing game into East Rutherford, N.J., on Sunday to face the New York Giants.

The Tribune’s Brad Biggs opens his weekly Bears mailbag to address whether quarterback Justin Fields can rebound from a rough start to his career.

Like their failed predecessors, Justin Fields and the Bears coaching staff say all the right things, such as “we have to get better.” Unfortunately, actions speak louder than words. We now have a growing sample size (13 games) that consistently reveals Fields holds the ball too long and fails to see the entire field. There is little evidence he will get better. I sincerely believe the Bears will be looking for another QB next season via draft, trade or free agency — an all-too-familiar scenario for Bears fans. I am at a loss to identify a single QB who had such a poor career start and then became a difference maker. Thoughts? — Jim A., Plymouth, Minn.

The Bears are in an uncomfortable position when it comes to their passing game. They have been dominant running the football, helped by Fields’ ability, but haven’t parlayed any of the success on the ground into profits in the passing game. A lot of folks are talking about how successful running should create play-action passing opportunities. More importantly in my opinion, when opponents fill the box with eight defenders, it should create advantageous single-coverage situations on the outside that Fields should be able to win against. It hasn’t happened.

The sample size remains small, but the Bears have some jarring statistics. They are averaging 78.3 net passing yards, last in the NFL. The 31st-ranked Carolina Panthers average 161.3. The Bears’ 8.9% interception rate is more than double that of 29 teams. The only others are the New England Patriots (5.2%) and Los Angeles Rams (4.9%). The Bears’ 22.8% sack rate per pass attempt is more than double that of 28 teams. Next on the list are the New York Giants (14.1%), Cincinnati Bengals (12%) and Washington Commanders (11.5%).

That is on Fields, the offensive line and the skill-position targets, but it would be a mistake to blame protection for all 10 sacks. In fact, Fields is responsible for close to half of those, and there are plays in which the protection breaks down after he had the opportunity to target open receivers.

There’s no reason for the Bears to change course at this point. The organization — though not the new regime — has a ton invested in Fields, and if he does pan out, it would speed up the timetable for a rebuild. If the Bears can continue to generate takeaways, play better run defense and keep running the football well while playing solid special teams, they can win their share of games if the quarterback doesn’t lose games. That’s how a lot of the Lovie Smith era went, right?

Josh Allen had a rocky start to his career with the Buffalo Bills. I don’t know any scouts who felt good about the start of Jalen Hurts’ career with the Philadelphia Eagles, and he has been dynamic through three weeks this season.

Coach Matt Eberflus talked Monday about two things for Fields — cleaning up his footwork and not putting the ball in harm’s way, to which Eberflus attributed the second interception in Sunday’s victory over the Houston Texans. The Bears have been drilling Fields on footwork since the start of the offseason program. It’s one thing to have better footwork in individual drills and practice and another to have it when defenders are across from you in a game.

As far as keeping the ball out of harm’s way, that is important, but the Bears also have to get Fields to cut the ball loose when his receivers are coming open. He has missed seeing receivers get open or has been hesitant to rip it, and that’s a concern.

There are 14 games remaining and a lot of time for Fields to get valuable experience and improve. We need to see a lot more of the season play out before we start plotting what moves the Bears will need to make in a big 2023 offseason.

The Bears are to be commended for letting Eddie Jackson play his brand of football, which is to be a ballhawk. He is getting back to the old version of himself. However, he has to be one of the weakest tacklers in the league. Are the coaches trying to get him to wrap people up? Upon contact, all he does is try to swat the ball out or knock ball carriers down with a body check. He is, after all, the last line of defense and should be more physical. Thoughts? — Chris R., Midlothian

My first reaction is Jackson, through three games anyway, is looking like the difference maker in the secondary he was in 2018 and 2019. I don’t think he was an elite tackler then and he certainly isn’t now, but you’re asking for a lot if you want a safety who can be a center fielder and a rugged box defender. The Bears seem to be playing to Jackson’s strengths, and you might have seen that Matt Eberflus said Jackson was one of the few defenders who tackled well in the Week 2 loss in Green Bay.

Honestly, you’re probably nitpicking a little bit. If you want a big-time box defender at that position, you’re probably going to sacrifice when it comes to range and instincts in the passing game. If Jackson gets six interceptions or so this season, the Bears probably are willing to live with a couple of missed tackles here and there. He has looked more willing in that area this season than he was a year ago.

Through the same number of starts, who had the better stats, Mitch Trubisky or Justin Fields? Do you think Fields is just going through normal NFL QB growing pains? — @dav264

I’m not sure what normal quarterback growing pains are because every situation is unique. What is normal is the vast majority of quarterbacks have some rough spots early in their careers, and certainly Fields is struggling right now. Trubisky is having a rough go of it in Pittsburgh too.

Trubisky’s statistics through his first 13 starts (12 under John Fox’s staff and one under Matt Nagy’s staff) were slightly better than what Fields has done.

  • Trubisky: 219 of 365 (60.0%), 2,364 yards, 7 TDs, 7 INTs, 35 sacks, 77.5 passer rating
  • Fields: 182 of 315 (57.8%), 2,167 yards, 9 TDs, 14 INTs, 46 sacks, 69.9 passer rating

What is confounding is Fields is struggling more this season than he did as a rookie. A full season in offensive coordinator Luke Getsy’s system will give us a much more complete picture of what the future could look like for Fields.

Can any Bears fan actually feel good about that win? I mean other than the Texans, who do they beat playing like that? Maybe the Jets? — @agpennypacker8

Never apologize for a victory in the NFL. They are too hard to come by, and recent Bears history ought to remind you of that. The Bears can’t do anything about their schedule, and they did just enough by dominating the Texans with the running game and getting two timely takeaways.

The Texans and Las Vegas Raiders are the only 0-3 teams in the league, but the Bears have six more games on the schedule against teams that are currently 1-2: the Washington Commanders, Detroit Lions (two games), Atlanta Falcons, New England Patriots and New York Jets. They have a winnable game on the road this week against the 2-1 New York Giants and could have a solid record as they reach the end of October. Let’s not worry about the opponent as much as seeing the Bears show improvement.

How will the (hypothetical) return of Velus Jones and N’Keal Harry potentially bolster the offense? Jones being 25 and missing this much time is concerning, but if he’s who Bears management thinks he is, could he be the missing component? — @johnny2racks1

As discombobulated as the Bears passing game is, I’m not sure the next coming of Ja’Marr Chase would be the missing link. Not right now anyway. Some folks seem obsessed with Jones’ age as a rookie and I’m not sure why. If you’re worried about what the receiver position might look like in 2027, I get it. But we’re talking about 2022, and his age has nothing to do with this season or next year.

Jones was a limited participant in practice last week as he works his way back from a hamstring injury that sidelined him on and off for a good portion of training camp and the preseason. Considering how much time on the grass he has missed, to borrow a phrase from Matt Eberflus, it’s probably unrealistic to think he’ll play a major role in the passing game even with Byron Pringle (calf) on injured reserve. That doesn’t mean Jones can’t provide a boost as he finds his way.

I’m not sure when Harry will be in line to return from the high ankle sprain that landed him on injured reserve. Four weeks is about the bare minimum that skill-position players miss with that injury, and he could be several weeks away.

What should the top priority be? Wins this year or developing the team/culture for the future? — @dmaz2488

I’m a firm believer that your culture is about as good as your record. You know which teams consistently talk about their culture and how it’s getting better? Teams that are trying to dig themselves out of big holes. What do people talk about with the excellent teams that are consistently in the postseason picture? They analyze the strength of the roster and how good the players are.

Nothing develops players and a roster better than winning. It raises the level of buy-in. It’s a heck of a lot easier to coach corrections in a week coming off a victory than coming off a loss. Everything in the building is better when a team is winning. If the Bears are able to achieve modest success this season, it would be with young players who are improving and making a difference. Why wouldn’t you want to see the Bears win this season?

I’m not sure the Bears can improve by prioritizing development while making winning a secondary goal. I never will understand that line of thinking and I will take it one step further: If the players in the locker room don’t sense that the coaches are doing everything in their power to put them in a position to win every week, those coaches are going to lose the locker room in a hurry. Players put in work to win games. No other messaging will connect with them.

Are you worried the front office made a mistake by not signing Roquan Smith to a contract extension during the offseason? The price has definitely gone up. — @just_acy

Well, we’re speculating on what Smith’s “price” was in negotiations that broke down in August, and we’re not certain where the Bears offer was. The first thing I want to know is if you think the price went down after the Week 2 loss in Green Bay. He didn’t play particularly well in that game. GM Ryan Poles and his staff will evaluate Smith over the full season, not on a few games here and a few games there. He has a chance to be very good in this scheme, especially if the Bears can remain healthy on defense.

The big factor you’re not considering is the franchise tag, which the team can use in negotiations. Leverage is everything when it comes to contract talks. Smith can improve his leverage with more signature games like his 16-tackle performance against the Texans that also included an interception that set up the winning field goal. The Bears also have Smith at a bargain price this season, paying him a little more than $9.7 million, and that can’t be overlooked. Let’s see where the leverage is after the season.

If you were Luke Getsy, what would you be focusing on for Justin Fields while preparing for the Giants this week? — @chicagonic

Running the football. The Giants have allowed 100-yard games to Tony Pollard of the Dallas Cowboys and Christian McCaffrey of the Carolina Panthers in the last two weeks. You have to go back to the end of 2005 to find the last time running backs topped 100 yards against the Giants in three consecutive weeks: Clinton Portis, Larry Johnson and Ryan Moats. The Giants rank 25th in run defense, allowing 138.3 yards per game, and are 28th in allowing 5.25 yards per attempt. That looks like a formula for success for the Bears whether David Montgomery (ankle) is available or not.

It will be a challenging week for Fields because the Giants do a lot of different stuff on defense under first-year coordinator Wink Martindale. They will show a lot of late rotation in the secondary and probably will bring some unscouted looks in terms of pressure and overloads. That being said, the Giants have only three sacks through three games and don’t have an interception. Quarterbacks have a 93.8 passer rating against them.

Getsy needs to craft a plan for Fields that can help him find some rhythm throwing the ball as the Giants will have to be concerned with the running game. That means clear and defined reads from the pocket and off play action. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Bears hope to hand off the ball 35 to 40 times in this game.

In the Texans game, with over 30 seconds left in the first half and all three timeouts, the Bears chose to run out the clock. They were trailing 14-13 at that point and they were first-and-10 at their own 23. Why wouldn’t they try to take a couple shots to get into field-goal range? — @ajlight315

Fair question. The obvious answer is they don’t have a lot of faith in their passing game and didn’t want to risk a turnover on their side of the field, which would have given the Texans an opportunity to tack on a field goal before halftime.

Matt Eberflus was asked about this after the game and explained that if he had it to do over again, he would have used a timeout to switch from 13 personnel (one running back, one wide receiver, three tight ends) to 11 personnel (one running back, three wide receivers, one tight end) after Khalil Herbert’s 9-yard run gave them a first down at the 28-yard line.

“Here is where we’ve got to be better because we were in 13 personnel going on third-and-1 and we saw that they subbed,” Eberflus said. “Once I saw them sub there, I should have called timeout at 35 seconds and we would have been fine. I have to be better in that situation right there going from 13 personnel back to 11 once we got the first (down).”

Fields was 4 of 11 for 45 passing yards in the first half and needed to gain roughly 35 yards for the Bears to attempt a long field goal in breezy conditions. I wasn’t all that surprised they chose to let the clock run.

Did I see Jack Sanborn in there first and then Joe Thomas took his spot? — @seabasssay

No. Thomas, who was promoted from the practice squad, was the replacement for Matt Adams (hamstring) at strong-side linebacker. Thomas had a good game with five tackles in 26 snaps, and the coaching staff turned to him because of his experience and range. Sanborn got one snap on defense at the goal line. I would expect Thomas to remain in the defensive game plan at least until Adams is healthy — and he could supplant Adams.


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