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QB rewind for Week 2: How can Justin Fields and the Chicago Bears unlock their offense?

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Qb Rewind For Week 2: How Can Justin Fields And The Chicago Bears Unlock Their Offense?
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The pass was delivered with recognizable purpose and precision. Shotgun snap, quick play fake, then a short shuffle left and a decisive release.

With his top receiver making a crisp break on a slant route, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers threw a fastball into Lambeau Field’s north end zone Sunday night. Allen Lazard, with inside leverage on Chicago Bears rookie cornerback Kyler Gordon, snatched it with relative ease.

Five-yard touchdown.

Celebratory fireworks exploded in the fall sky. Then a small end-zone soiree broke out. Surrounded by teammates, Lazard used the football as a kettle and began pouring a few cups of a mystery drink.

Offensive linemen Yosh Nijman and Jon Runyan Jr. took fake swigs from their imaginary cups, became woozy, then pretended to pass out in the end zone. Same for receivers Randall Cobb and Sammy Watkins.

“Just drinking some tea,” Cobb told reporters after the game.

It was a tongue-in-cheek nod to Rodgers’ summer revelation that he experienced an awakening during an ayahuasca tea high in 2020 in Peru, with the psychoactive drink taking him on a spiritual journey he believes helped him win NFL MVP honors the last two seasons.

With an increased focus on unconditional self-love and, as always, a concentration on beating the Bears, Rodgers often sees things other quarterbacks can’t, creating offensive enlightenment with his playmaking flair. Sunday’s touchdown pass to Lazard was a prime example of a quarterback locked in and in total control.

That was the night in a nutshell during the Packers’ 27-10 victory. Rodgers, while far from as spectacular as Bears fans are used to seeing, was solid and made a handful of big-time throws, including that first-half scoring dart.

The Bears, meanwhile, passed for 48 yards while completing just seven passes the entire night. They had twice as many punts (four) as completions of at least 10 yards, and they left Wisconsin with disappointment.

Perhaps in need of some ayahuasca tea — either to envision what high-level offense in 2022 is supposed to look like or to provide attentiveness and morale through their current unease — the Bears now must work toward their own transformative awakening in the final full week of September.

With that in mind, here’s your comprehensive Week 2 QB rewind.

Defining moment

It would be easy to gravitate toward the Bears’ failed fourth-and-goal run from inside the 1-yard line as the play that characterized the night. Without question, that was a big moment as officials ruled that Justin Fields was stopped a few inches short of the goal line and a replay review upheld that call.

An argument could be made that Fields pushed across the plane of the goal line to score, which would have brought the Bears within 24-16 with 8:07 remaining.

Fields was convinced he scored. So, too, was running back David Montgomery.

“I saw a touchdown,” Montgomery said. “I was right next to the ball.”

Even Packers coach Matt LaFleur was urging defensive coordinator Joe Barry to ready a call for a possible Bears two-point try.

“I thought it was pretty inconclusive,” LaFleur said. “Whichever way it would have gone (with the on-field ruling), it probably would have held.”

Fields felt the Bears could have stolen the momentum had they gotten a favorable call there.

“That changes everything,” he said.

We’ll have a bit more on that sequence, specifically the shotgun QB run Bears offensive coordinator Luke Getsy dialed up for that moment.

But perhaps the more telling moment on a night full of sloppiness was Fields’ illegal forward pass in the second quarter. A 31-yard third-down completion to Equanimeous St. Brown was taken off the board because Fields was already a good 2 yards beyond the line of scrimmage when he threw.

Was that an unfortunate mistake? Absolutely. During a disastrous second quarter in which the offense netted only 3 yards and never picked up a first down, the Bears needed some kind of spark. But their young quarterback couldn’t provide one.

On that sequence, it appeared Fields had a chance to run for the first down as he took off from the pocket. Instead, the Bears took a 5-yard penalty and a loss of down and summoned rookie punter Trent Gill.

“I was just like, ‘Dang!’” Fields said. “I have to get the ball out earlier. Or just run it.”

Correctable mistake? Gosh, you sure hope so. But that play’s breakdown and Fields’ brain fart also typified the night, with the offense out of sync and lacking proper awareness for much of the game.

With a six-man protection against a four-man rush, the Bears should have been able to give Fields enough time to throw. But Packers defensive lineman Kenny Clark slipped around guard Lucas Patrick on a stunt and disrupted Fields at the top of his drop.

Fields alertly climbed the pocket to escape but may have been too eager to run. Until, of course, he became overexcited and threw.

While there was disruption from Clark, the front of the pocket was still clean, offering Fields an opportunity to climb, reset and throw. Bears coach Matt Eberflus acknowledged as much Monday.

“Yeah,” he said. “I think he feels that too. For sure.”

This is part of the Bears’ ongoing mission to sharpen Fields’ pocket poise and feel, to teach him to carve up defenses from within the pocket even on plays that aren’t blocked perfectly or run with ideal precision. That’s a skill and a sense Fields has to continue honing to be taken seriously as a potential NFL standout.

Eberflus’ H.I.T.S. principle calls for situational smarts as one of its key tenets. In that particular instance, Fields made a big-stage gaffe that only will elevate the outside criticism and worry about his readiness to break through.

Including that miscue, the Bears went 1-for-7 on third down against the Packers, and their .286 percentage in that category through two weeks ranks in the bottom 10 of the league. For now, that’s a warning sign and a cue to Bears coaches that their work in improving Fields’ pocket awareness has only just begun.

Uh-oh

On the Bears’ second snap of the second quarter, Fields threw a quick screen left to his favorite receiver, Darnell Mooney, who had motioned from right to left in front of Fields before the snap and then looped back behind him.

Packers cornerback Rasual Douglas, however, read the play well and slipped inside tight end Cole Kmet’s block attempt, pulling Mooney down for a loss of 4 yards.

Kmet took a beating on social media for not blocking Douglas. But the play’s rhythm and precision also were discombobulated with Mooney catching Fields’ short pass inside the numbers, a yard or two too far to the inside of the field. That allowed Douglas to shoot his shot and prevent Mooney from getting outside for a possible chunk gain.

That was Mooney’s only touch all game. He was targeted one other time — on a fourth-quarter deep shot that sailed 3 yards too far. Mooney found himself one on one against cornerback Eric Stokes and ran a nice deep route, turning Stokes around with his break inside. But Fields, on a play-action rollout to the right, misfired and never gave his receiver a chance to make a play.

Through two games, Mooney has two catches for 4 yards, the poster child for how stagnant and ineffective the passing attack has been.

That will be a major story in Week 3 as the Bears try to pick themselves up for Sunday’s visit from the Houston Texans.

Mooney came into the season expected to make a major jump — or at least match the 81 catches and 1,055 yards he had in his second season in 2021. He is the Bears’ clear-cut No. 1 receiver. Fields has been singing his praises since the spring. Even general manager Ryan Poles singled him out right before the season as an ascending young playmaker.

“Mooney is balling right now,” Poles said earlier this month. “I’m excited about him. That’s going to help Justin.”

Instead, the Bears’ struggles in getting their passing game unlocked have left Mooney in a slump and triggered an urgent quest for solutions.

Eberflus hinted Monday that the Bears need to become more assertive in sending the ball Mooney’s way.

“Let’s feed the guys who have skill, who can take a short throw and turn it into a big gain or who can go downtown,” he said. “And we have a good deep-ball thrower (in Fields), so we should utilize that too. We’re going to look at all aspects of that.”

That process already has begun.

On the bright side

No one on the field played with more passion and intensity than Bears running back David Montgomery, who turned 15 rushes into 122 yards, a determined bounce-back after he was limited to 26 yards on 17 carries in the season opener.

It was Montgomery’s eighth career 100-yard rushing output and included six runs for at least 10 yards. The longest was a 28-yard burst in the fourth quarter on which Montgomery followed a lead block from fullback Khari Blasingame, dodged a tackle attempt by safety Adrian Amos in the hole, bounced off linebacker De’Vondre Campbell and cut back past safety Darnell Savage into the open field. It was a masterpiece run on a big night.

Fellow running back Khalil Herbert added 38 rushing yards on four attempts, adding to the Bears average of 6.7 yards per rush.

“Luke said before the game that we were going to run it down their throat,” Fields said. “With D-Mo, I don’t know what he ate today, but he was running the ball crazy.”

In theory, that kind of ground-and-pound commitment should be a quarterback’s best friend, keeping defenses honest and presumably opening play-action opportunities.

On the Bears’ longest drive — the one that ended with Fields stuffed at the goal line on fourth down — the Bears ran the ball 11 times in 13 plays.

Until the final play of that series, you couldn’t argue much with the results. But even Eberflus has implied he would like to see much more pop from the passing attack.

“I just think you need balance,” he said.

Odds and ends

  • Eberflus was asked Monday where he sensed the Bears could have been more effective on their failed fourth-and-goal quarterback power run. “It’s just push,” he said. “Getting guys lower. Getting pad level down. It’s getting movement at the point of attack. But we like the play. … We just (needed) a little more push.” Perhaps as significant to the Bears’ correction efforts was the preceding play, a 5-yard Fields run that initially was ruled a 6-yard touchdown as Fields lunged for the pylon with the ball in his left hand. The ball hit the pylon and popped out, quickly scooped up by Savage. Replay reviews showed Fields’ knees were down with the ball about 8 to 10 inches outside the goal line. But in a blur, that play was a couple of inches from being either a Bears touchdown or a Packers takeaway. So as Eberflus continues to stress situational awareness, Fields’ gamble there is at least worth talking through at Halas Hall. “That’s always a risky proposition,” Eberflus said. “That was a third down. We always say, ‘Hey, if you’re going to go for the score, go for the score.’ But we’ve all seen the ones at the pylon that go off the wrong way and all of a sudden it’s the other team’s ball. So it’s a tricky element there.”
  • Mooney isn’t the only Bears playmaker feeling frustration after two games. Tight end Cole Kmet still is looking for his first catch and has been targeted only twice. The pass thrown to him Sunday came on a first-down out route, delivered on the numbers by Fields. Kmet, though, seemed to fight the ball too much and dropped it, leaving the Bears in second-and-long during their messy second quarter. When Eberflus stressed Monday the need for the Bears offense to “highlight our skill,” he was referring specifically to becoming more proactive in getting Kmet more involved. This week will test the Bears in that regard.
  • The Bears’ longest gain came on a gadget play, a first-quarter flea-flicker that freed St. Brown for a 30-yard reception. Mooney was Fields’ first read after the quarterback got the return pitch from Montgomery in the backfield. But Fields never really saw Mooney, who had a delayed release from the slot to the right, then burst behind Douglas up the seam. With clearer vision and perhaps a half-second more patience, Fields might have hit the home run. Instead, he progressed to St. Brown along the left sideline for a sure completion and a first down. The receiver added 14 yards after the catch, a big gain that aided the Bears’ touchdown march on their opening drive. That play came immediately after the Bears used a timeout when they couldn’t get a play call communicated properly on time. The quick change to a new concept on the sideline netted a big gain.
  • The Bears now have 153 passing yards for the season. Weather was a factor in Week 1 against the 49ers, with an unrelenting rain affecting the Soldier Field playing surface and limiting Fields’ ability to grip or throw the ball with any consistency. But on Sunday night, the conditions were gorgeous in Green Bay with a kickoff temperature of 73 degrees and a gentle breeze. Still, the Bears haven’t been able to get their passing game unlocked, with outsiders wondering if there is a lack of trust in that department. If so, how much of the Bears’ distrust of their passing game should be attributed to Fields’ deficiencies or the lack of reliable protection or the deficit in big-play talent in the receiving corps? It will be worth watching when the Bears unveil their game plan to face the Texans on Sunday at Soldier Field.
  • The Bears’ first-half offense through two weeks has been abysmal. The inventory: 11 possessions, 47 plays, 152 total yards, nine first downs, seven points. Fields’ first-half passing stats through two games: 8-for-15, 64 yards, no TDs, one interception, 36.5 passer rating.

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Olympian Kendall Coyne Schofield gives back to hometown Palos Heights with playground project – NBC Chicago

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Olympian Kendall Coyne Schofield Gives Back To Hometown Palos Heights With Playground Project - Nbc Chicago
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Olympic gold medalist Kendall Coyne Schofield and her husband, Bears offensive lineman Michael Schofield, are giving back to future generations with a new project – an inclusive park in the southern suburbs.

Thanks to a generous contribution from the couple’s Schofield Family Foundation, the Kendall Coyne Dream Big Park recently opened in the same Palos Heights neighborhood where Kendall grew up.

“They have the opportunity to be active, to have fun and, of course, the name of this park, to dream big,” Kendall said, explaining what the park has to offer kids. “The moment they enter this park, I hope they walk away with a dream bigger than they came.”

Kendall and Michael both want kids to have fun growing up, like they did long before their professional athletic careers.

“I was rollerblading, maybe he was throwing a soccer ball – but we were at the park playing with our siblings, playing with our friends, just enjoying being active, to enjoy the outdoors,” Kendall said.

From smooth rubber ground equipment, Kendall and Michael ensured the park was created for children of all skill levels.

“You don’t want someone not being able to go to the park because of their ability – you want this park to be for everyone and anyone,” Michael said.

Kendall shared a similar post.

“The inclusion of the park – making sure it’s ADA accessible, making sure there’s sensory equipment for the kids as well…I just hope any kid that comes through this park knows that there is something here for me, that this park is for me,” she said.

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Tony La Russa will not return to manage this season, and the Chicago White Sox will address his status for 2023 ‘when it’s appropriate’

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Tony La Russa Will Not Return To Manage This Season, And The Chicago White Sox Will Address His Status For 2023 ‘When It’s Appropriate’
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Manager Tony La Russa will not return this season at the direction of his doctors, the Chicago White Sox announced Saturday.

“After undergoing additional testing and medical procedures over the past week, doctors for Tony La Russa have directed him to not return as manager of the Chicago White Sox for the remainder of the 2022 season,” the Sox said in a statement.

Added general manager Rick Hahn at Guaranteed Rate Field: “I did speak to him (Saturday) morning and he had no issue with us letting everybody know that there is a treatment protocol in place that he plans on adhering to. …

“As for the inevitable question, ‘Well, what does that mean for next season?’ We are going to finish up this season first and then address everything when it’s appropriate to turn the page at the end of this year.”

Bench coach Miguel Cairo will remain the acting manager for the rest of the season.

“I talked to him (Friday) night, he’s doing good,” Cairo said of La Russa. “First is health. That’s the most important right now.

“We’ve got a job to do — we’ve got to finish strong. I talked to the players (before Saturday’s game against the Detroit Tigers), I let them know and it’s 11 more games, let’s finish strong.”

The Sox have been without La Russa, 77, since Aug. 30, when they announced less than an hour before a game against the Kansas City Royals that he would not manage that night. The next day the Sox said La Russa was out indefinitely and would undergo further testing with doctors in Arizona.

La Russa received clearance to attend a ceremony for former pitcher Dave Stewart on Sept. 11 in Oakland, Calif.

“Health ain’t nothing to mess with,” La Russa said before the event. “I got checked in Chicago and the reason I flew to Arizona is because that’s been the place since the ‘90s I’ve had physicals. They addressed it, they fixed it, now it’s just a question of regaining strength. Don’t mess with health.”

He told Janie McCauley of the Associated Press he had a pacemaker inserted for his heart.

La Russa flew to Chicago with the team after the A’s game and was in attendance for the next series against the Colorado Rockies, watching from a suite. He did not travel with the team for the ensuing trip to Cleveland and Detroit.

He is in the second season of his second stint with the Sox, who have hovered around .500 most of the season and are on the verge of missing the playoffs. They entered Saturday at 76-75 and eight games behind the first-place Cleveland Guardians in the American League Central.

La Russa is second all time among major-league managers in victories. The 2014 Hall of Fame inductee won World Series titles with the Oakland Athletics (1989) and St. Louis Cardinals (2006, 2011).

“I learned so much, I’ve been learning so much, I’m still learning because every day you learn something else,” Cairo said. “I always double check with him. What he would do different in that situation and he’s very straightforward to me. Sometimes, ‘OK, I didn’t think about that.’ It’s a learning experience that I’m enjoying. I learn from the best, I’m learning from the best still.

“We reflect on games, reflecting on a move or reflecting on innings that happen. Of course when you lose you’re going to second-guess yourself on everything. When you win, sometimes you’re going to do stuff that’s out of the book and works and sometimes you go by the book and it don’t work. As long as you go with the information and your gut together, that balance, you’re going to give your players a chance to succeed.”

The Sox entered Saturday 13-10 since Cairo took over Aug. 30.

“(Cairo) and the coaches have done a very fine job,” Hahn said. “We’ve seen at various stretches, unfortunately not over the last four days (all four losses), but for extended stretches over the last few weeks, this team showing flashes of playing at the level we thought was capable over the course of the entire season. It’s a little too little too late over the course of the year. But I think those guys deserve a lot of credit for what was thrust upon them on the fly and the way they responded, both in the coaches room and in the clubhouse.

“I feel that in many ways they haven’t missed a beat, which they deserve a lot of credit for. The focus has been on the games and the series right in front of them as opposed to any uncertainty. At the same time Tony is in their thoughts and there has been communication with Tony and well wishes passed along. In no way do I feel the club has been distracted despite the circumstances. Very professional response.”

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Ime Udoka’s Sidepiece Handled His Travel Arrangements Including Nia Long’s Move To Boston

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Ime Udoka’s Sidepiece Handled His Travel Arrangements Including Nia Long’s Move To Boston
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It’s heartbreaking realizing that the man you’ve been living with for years has a sidepiece at his workplace who handles his travel plans, including your own travels. Nia Long must be going through hell now—knowing that her man Ime Udoka cheated on her with one of his staff members.

But what can Nia do? Leave his cheating a**? TMZ Sports has given some updates about Ime Udoka‘s romantic relationship with his staff member—and according to the updates, this sidepiece handled his travel arrangements including Nia Long’s recent relocation to Boston. Well played!!!

The Celtics employee with whom Ime Udoka had an affair helped make all his travel arrangements … and that job sometimes included organizing travel for his fiancee, Nia Long.

Sources connected to the couple and the NBA franchise tell TMZ … one of the staffer’s duties included planning Udoka’s team-related travel, and we’re told she was also involved in booking travel for Nia to come to Boston or to road games.

Perhaps most upsetting for Nia is that the employee had a hand in Nia’s arrangements to move to Boston permanently, according to our sources.

The public still does not know who this woman is but according to the juicy updates, Nia Long has been told about this woman her man f***ed so why’s she not calling this b***ch out?

The Celtics are not releasing the name of the employee, but we’re told Nia has been told who she is.

Team President Brad Stevens got choked up Friday during a news conference … saying the scandal had been particularly upsetting for all their female employees — due to speculation about who had the affair with Udoka.

As we’ve reported, the team suspended its head coach for the entire 2022-23 season after what it says was a months-long investigation into his conduct.

Ime Udoka and Nia Long’s relationship will never be the same after this whole cheating scandal goes to sleep. A trust has been BROKEN!!!

Here is how Twitter is reacting to Ime Udoka’s cheating scandal:

The post Ime Udoka’s Sidepiece Handled His Travel Arrangements Including Nia Long’s Move To Boston appeared first on TheGossipScoop.com.

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Three arrested in connection with Inver Grove Heights death

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Three Arrested In Connection With Inver Grove Heights Death
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Authorities say that three people were arrested and booked on suspicion of murder after investigators responding to a 911 call early Saturday morning in Inver Grove Heights found a man dead inside the home.

According to a press release, shortly after 2 a.m. police went to the 2100 block of 78th Court East after someone called 911 and hung up. When they arrived they found a man on the floor who was unresponsive and later determined to be deceased.

Officers responding to the 911 call stopped a vehicle leaving the area with three adults who were detained, questioned and then booked on suspicion of murder.

Authorities say the following people were booked at the Dakota County Jail:

• Logan David Slack, 25, of Minneapolis, is being held on suspicion of first-degree murder and first-degree burglary.
• Fotini Anest West, 25, of Minneapolis, is being held on suspicion of first-degree murder and first-degree burglary.
• Sean Richard Lumley, 30, of Monticello was booked on suspicion of aiding and abetting murder in the first degree and then released.

Police say the death was not a random incident and that there is no danger to the public.

The Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s office will release the victim’s name and cause of death at a later date.

Investigators ask anyone with information about this crime to leave a message on the police tip line at 651-450-2530.

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Column: With Tony La Russa officially done for 2022, speculation on next season’s Chicago White Sox managing job can begin

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Column: With Tony La Russa Officially Done For 2022, Speculation On Next Season’s Chicago White Sox  Managing Job Can Begin
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In early May before a series against the Chicago Cubs, Tony La Russa referred to the White Sox as being in “survival mode.”

“We’re four under, got a chance to win two in a row, but there’s no script for the season,” La Russa said. “That’s probably the most entertaining part of it. You can’t say what’s going to happen. You have to go out there and make things happen.”

If there was a script for the 2022 season, no one would’ve believed it. From beginning to end it has been a series of unforced errors by players, management and La Russa. They always were one hot streak away from living up to expectations, never showing the urgency to make it happen.

Heavy favorites to win the American League Central, the Sox remained in survival mode through August, when La Russa left the team to deal with a heart-related issue. After a brief surge under acting manager Miguel Cairo, they reverted to form over the last week, getting swept by the Cleveland Guardians to fall out of contention.

With the Sox now playing out the string, the announcement was made Saturday that La Russa would not return this season on orders of from his doctors.

Whether this is the end of the story or just a pause is unknown.

It would seem unlikely for general manager Rick Hahn to bring La Russa back in 2023, but crazier things have happened, such as Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf hiring his old friend in the first place after La Russa retired from managing in 2011.

La Russa might have thought it was a push-button job with all the young talent in place. He would walk off with another ring by the time his deal was up after 2023, a second happy ending to a Hall of Fame career. The players seemed to believe the hype as well, as did the media hyping them.

But in the end we were all wrong, myself included. They began Saturday’s game against the Detroit Tigers one game over .500 with 11 to play, the picture of mediocrity.

How much blame La Russa deserves for the Sox downfall is in the eye of the beholder.

But there is no debating his effect on the Sox culture, once considered the swaggiest in baseball.

For all the talk about how he would relate to Tim Anderson and a group that enjoyed fighting the “fun police,” La Russa let the players do their own thing and had only one publicized incident — throwing Yermin Mercedes under the bus in 2021 in Minnesota for homering on a 3-0 pitch in a Sox blowout.

La Russa came up with excuses for players who didn’t hustle, saying they needed to preserve their legs to avoid injuries. When Anderson bumped an umpire this season to earn a suspension, La Russa falsely claimed the umpire was walking toward Anderson — as if the shortstop were blameless.

It’s no wonder Sox players never had a discouraging word to say about La Russa. He defended them like family and in fact often wore a T-shirt that said “FAMILY” in case the message wasn’t clear enough.

It was only after he left, however, that the family began to play up to its potential and give Sox fans hope the season could be salvaged. That turned out to be false hope, and now the question is what can be done to fix things in 2023.

Hahn on Saturday declined to discuss next year’s plans to reporters at Sox Park, though he lauded Cairo and the coaching staff for “flashes of playing at the level we thought was capable over the course of the entire season.”

Unfortunately for Cairo, those “flashes” provided too small of a sample size to fairly assess whether he would be the right man to take over if the Sox move on from La Russa — or if La Russa moves on from the Sox.

Having Hahn’s endorsement was nice, and Cairo surely has many of the players in his corner. But after the bitter disappointment of this season, there’s a growing sense the Sox will need to do something big this offseason to make amends to the fan base for their suffering.

Does Cairo move the needle with Sox fans? Or do the Sox need to go for a bigger name with experience, gravitas and the ability to help market the team?

The reaction to the La Russa news was, well, the same as it has been all season. Even his health issue hasn’t evoked much sympathy, and most fans were happy he would not return.

If the Sox do decide to bring La Russa back next season, it would be considered a slap in the face to the fan base. But Reinsdorf has done it before, notably with former Sox manager Terry Bevington and former Chicago Bulls general manager Gar Foreman. Few owners of professional teams seem as oblivious to fans’ wishes as Reinsdorf has been over the last four decades.

From a media perspective, La Russa’s return would be bonus points. His fame and strong personality make for good reading, and he’s the king of generating a frenzy on sports-talk radio. La Russa is many things, but boring he’s not.

The Sox haven’t had anyone generate this much publicity since Ozzie Guillén left after battling with then-GM Ken Williams in 2011. After tiring of all the controversies, Williams hired the low-key Robin Ventura in 2012 before Hahn replaced Ventura with the amiable and cliche-spouting Rick Renteria in 2017.

Giving Guillén another shot would be a move that should be considered. It’s doubtful Sox players would be given the go-ahead to jog to first base under Guillén 2.0. But it probably won’t happen. No one has skewered this Sox team more than Guillén on the NBC Sports Chicago pre- and postgame shows. I’m guessing Hahn and Williams would be wary of Guillén upsetting someone’s delicate ego and creating headlines.

Hiring a veteran such as Joe Maddon, Bruce Bochy or Joe Girardi would seem to make perfect sense. Or if Reinsdorf wants a respected former Sox player without experience, A.J. Pierzynski or Jim Thome, a special assistant to Hahn, would be at the head of the list.

There will be plenty of time to debate the candidates once the season ends and La Russa’s fate is announced.

The ending to this strange script has yet to be written.

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Area college football: Bethel rallies past St. John’s 28-24 in battle of MIAC titans

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Area College Football: Bethel Rallies Past St. John’s 28-24 In Battle Of Miac Titans
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There’s a new sheriff in MIAC football. At least, for now.

In a rematch of last year’s conference championship game, Bethel avenged its 2021 loss to St. John’s by taking down the Johnnies 28-24 on Saturday in Arden Hills.

It was the MIAC opener for both teams.

The game was back and forth from the very beginning, with neither team leading by more than seven points, until it was decided when Jaran Roste hooked up with Micah Niewald on a 72-yard touchdown pass with 9:38 left in the game. It was a one-play scoring drive that took all of 11 seconds.

Both offenses were in fine form. The Royals finished with 506 yards offense to the Johnnies’ 414.

St. John’s entered the game ranked No. 2 nationally in NCAA Division III.

Last fall, St. John’s beat Bethel 31-25 during the regular season, then 29-28 in the MIAC championship game.

Carleton 45, Hamline 12: Jonathan Singleton threw three TD passes as the Knights routed the Pipers at Klas Field in St. Paul. Charlie Wilson scored both Hamline TDs, one on a run and the other on a pass from Alejandro Villanueva.

Augsburg 50, St. Scholastica 13: Cade Sheehan completed 26 of 38 passes for 295 yards and four TDs, and Braden Tretter caught 12 passes for 182 yards and two TDs at Edor Nelson Field in Minneapolis as the Auggies improved to 3-0 on the season.

Hope (Mich.) 56, Northwestern-St. Paul 7: The Flying Dutch rolled up 561 yards of offense to spoil the Eagles’ Homecoming game at Reynolds Field in St. Paul, dropping Northwestern to 0-4 on the season.

North Dakota State 34, South Dakota 17: The Bison rushed for 200 yards in the second half and scored 24 unanswered points to beat the Coyotes in the Missouri Valley Football Conference opener for both teams before a crowd of 6,530 at the DakotaDome in Vermillion, S.D.

South Dakota State 28, Missouri State 14: The Jackrabbits finished with a 475 yards to 258 advantage in total offense, and Mark Gronowski established new career highs with 22 completions (on 29 attempts), 319 yards passing and four TDs in Springfield, Mo.

Minnesota State Mankato 31, Mary 28: The Marauders drove to the Mavericks’ 1-yard line in the final seconds, but Jacob Baulton intercepted a pass in the end zone to preserve the victory for Mankato at Blakeslee Stadium in Mankato, Minn. The Mavericks went ahead with a 60-yard drive in the fourth quarter, capped by Shen Butler-Lawson’s 6-yard TD run with six minutes to play.

Winona State 40, Minnesota Moorhead 7: The Warriors scored every way they could — run (Sam Lloyd), pass (Jack Strand and Kyle Hass), field goal (three, by Jacob Scott), punt return (Tristan Root), interception return (Clay Schueffner) and extra-point kick (four, by Scott) — to overwhelm the Dragons in Winona, Minn.

Sioux Falls 34, Minnesota Duluth 31: Thuro Reisdorfer scored on a 2-yard run with 45 seconds left to help the Cougars escape with the narrow victory in Sioux Falls, S.D., and improve their record to 4-0 this season.

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