Bears say farewell to Forte

On Friday, the Chicago Bears acknowledged they would not be extending running back Matt Forte another contract. Forte was the one to break the news:

My wishes too, Matt. Last year, I wrote about why they should keep Forte. Simply: He is still one of the most talented backs in the league, and certainly one of the most talented and respected Bears currently on the team. There are other reasons as well:

Respect: The Bears have probably spent more on backup running backs over the years than they did on his last contract. I would have loved to see Matt finish out his career with the Bears, and possibly go into the hall of fame. Running backs with 10k rushing yards are pretty rare nowadays. That’s not even speaking of his receiving yards, where in many years, he lead the team.

Work ethic: In my original post, I spoke of Matt Forte’s work ethic. It’s epic, and something that could be passed down to future bears.

Leadership: Matt is no doubt one of the leaders in the locker room. Even if the Bears don’t think they will be competitive the next 2 years, the younger players could learn how to be a professional from someone like Forte.

Cap space: Money shouldn’t be an issue as the Bears have between $56-$59 million dollars to spend. Certainly they could give a few to Forte. As I said earlier, the Bears have spent millions on Forte’s backups, why not spend a few more bucks on a guy who has given so much to the organization, and is a solid dude off the field?

Making a rival better: We don’t know where Matt will go next, but there are two teams in the Bears division that could benefit by a veteran running back: The Detroit Lions, and the Green Bay Packers. I would hate to see Forte go north, and join Aaron Rodgers. Even if he doesn’t go to a division rival, he could very well end up in the NFC or on a team that the Bears would have to play in the next 2-3 years.

A lot left in the tank: Bottom line, even though Matt Forte is 30 years old, I think he has a lot of football left in him. 2-3 years at a high level, minimum. Forte keeps himself in great shape and doesn’t seem to take the big hits. If anything, he gives them out. He has also never had a major injury, and comes back quickly when he does get nicked up.

I wish Matt the best of luck, and hope he lands with a team that has a shot at a Super Bowl. There are a few playoff ready teams that could use a solid running back. Seattle, Dallas, New England, and Indianapolis to name a few. There is little doubt Forte will have a chance to go to one of those, if he so desires.

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Thibodeau turned chicken sh-t into chicken salad

When the Bulls fired Tom Thibodeau and hired Fred Hoiberg, I wrote about how Hoiberg should be John Paxson’s last coach to be hired. He’s hand picked 4 coaches now, and by my estimation fired the best one. Watching this year’s team, it’s clear to me. Thibs made chicken salad out of chicken sh-t.

From Jimmy Butler to E’Twaun more, and everyone in between: Thibodeau got the most out of them. The knock on him was that by time the playoffs come, the team was too broken down and tired. This year, the team is riddled with injuries, loses games they should win, is scoring less, playing worse defense, and at this point are in danger of missing the playoffs. Remarkable considering sub .500 teams qualify for the post season.

So what’s changed? Attitude? Discipline? The talent is pretty much the same, yet the performance of certain players is down.

Thibodeau might not have been able to take the current team to a championship, but Hoiberg is exposing the team for what it is. To me this all falls on the front office. Gar Forman might be the eventual scapegoat, if I was him, I would be looking over my shoulder, and updating my resume.

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Card(s) of the week: Dealing with loss

We got some news on two new play modes coming with the next expansion in the spring. I thought I would talk about the news a little and then point out some Classic cards worth revisiting.

HearthstoneGoldenCard-620x350

The News: Two new play modes will be rolled out when the next expansion launches in the spring:

Wild mode– which will be the game as it is today. Under that umbrella you will have a separate casual mode and ranked play. You will be able to use all your current cards. The game will no longer be balanced for any new cards, so things can and will get quite nasty.

Standard mode– Will include all the current cards going back to a calendar year. In the spring this will include: Basic cards*, Classic** Hearthstone, The Grand Tournament, New expansion, and the two adventure modes: Blackrock Mountain, and The League of Explorers. Cards that will be ineligible from Standard mode: Goblins vs Gnomes, and Curse of Naxxramas.

Also, the cards that are retired from Standard Mode will no longer be available for purchase, but will be able to be crafted–including the Adventure Mode cards. If you have purchased at least one wing in the adventure, you will be able to purchase and play through the other wings, and earn the cards. This is something to keep in mind. Of course, it may be better to craft the cards, since there would be limited uses for them.

Mech decks will no doubt take a huge hit, as well as Deathrattle decks. Losing powerful legendaries such as Kel’Thuzad, Loatheb, and everyone’s favorite: Dr. Boom, is a bummer. We are also losing a couple great taunts in the Sludge Belcher and Annoy-o-Tron. One thing I won’t be sad about: Losing the Antique Healbot. Especially with so many people playing Reno Jackson, matches could go on and on. However, Healbot was kind of an equalizer, if played with Brann Bronzebeard.

So what do we do going forward? There are still lots of great cards in the Basic, and Classic sets.

Sunfury Protector– 2 mana, 2 attack, 3 health: With loosing out on 2 powerful taunts, this card could see a lot more action going forward with it’s Battlecry: Give Adjacent minions Taunt.

Defender of Argus– 4 mana, 2 attack, 3 health: Much like the Sunfury Protector, this minion gives Taunt to two adjacent minions. It also gives them +1/+1.

Faceless Manipulator– 5 mana, 3 attack, 3 health (the base attack/health will only be played if the Manipulator is played without copying another minion) Battlecry: Choose a minion and become a copy of it. This used to be a great equalizer for legendary minions. With less legendaries being available, this once again becomes a powerhouse.

Sunwalker– 6 mana, 4 attack, 5 health- Because of the 6 mana price, this card is much less effective than the Sludge Belcher. However, most players run Thaurassian in their decks, and he is good about reducing those mana costs.

Sea Giant, Molten Giant, Mountain Giant– Might get more play as substitutes for Dr. Boom and/or other high powered cards.

I have a feeling lots of Classic legendaries will be crafted, or put back into play:

Sylvanas, The Black Knight, Baron Geddon, Ragnaros, and maybe even Hogger.

Basic* All the cards that are unlocked for free when you first start playing Hearthstone. These cards cannot be crafted, nor can they be disenchanted for Arcane Dust.

Classic** All the cards that are purchased from the original Hearthstone packs. These cards can, and will still be available for purchase, and crafted by Arcane Dusts.

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The Walking Dead is a good show despite Zombie stigma, violence

The Walking Dead might get a bad rap in some circles for it’s zombies and violence. Despite that, it is filled with good story, great actors, and top notch special effects. It’s not unlike Downton Abbey, or any other drama really.

There is probably more action than most dramas, but there is plenty of other stuff for TV viewers to take in. Plenty of drama, romance, and comedy. There is also the minute to minute suspense that your favorite character could die!

If you haven’t checked it out, you have a great chance to start from episode 1, which airs this Thursday at 8:30 AM Central (check your local listing for airtimes). I hope you tune in and check it out, you might be surprised!

 

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Brawl of the week: Decks Assemble! (again)

We saw this week’s Tavern Brawl in early December. It’s kind of fun. You start out with a few random cards, and then build your deck as you go. Each turn you get to pick 1 out of 3 offered to you. This was the preview for the new Discover mechanic.

Decks Assemble

Decks Assemble!

You choose your hero, and jump into the fray!

Pick a hero

Pick your hero.

I picked a warlock because I needed one more win to finish that quest. If I remember correctly, priest or mage were pretty strong in this fight.

Each round you choose a card

Choose wisely, or you will be left with a bunch of great cards in your hand, as your opponent punches your hero’s face in.

You need to balance taking good cards vs cards you can actually play. Choose wisely. In the end, only one thing matters…

Sometimes they give up

Sometimes they give up. It happens. I’ll take it.

…and that is, that the face of your enemy is punched in! This opponent tapped out after turn 3. I only did 4 damage to them, then dropped a Void Terror on the party. Was that rude of me?

This is a great brawl for new players, or those who haven’t spent the time to build their decks. Be prepared for a lot of RNG madness though. Jump in and get that free pack. Good luck!

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The Walking Dead season 6 continues with marathon

The Walking Dead starts the second half of Season 6 on Sunday February 14, Valentine’s Day. It follows a marathon that will air every episode from 1 to current. The Marathon starts on Thursday morning at 8:30 AM Central (9:30 AM Eastern–check your local listings).

***** Spoilers in video *****

The above pictured video contains the first 4 minutes of Season 6, episode 9.

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Card of the week: Lance Carrier

Card of the week is back after a little slacking off hiatus. This week we are taking a look at the awesomeness that is the Lance Carrier. This one is a gem folks. Let’s go!

Lance Carrier

The Lance Carrier has the potential to make good cards great!

The Lance Carrier was given to us with The Grand Tournament. I’m really not sure why I didn’t notice it’s awesomeness sooner. I know a lot of people play Abusive Sergeant, and that’s cool. Lance gives you a permanent +2 and has 2 health, which means it will stick around longer. The more important issue is the +2 is permanent, unless the card is removed or silenced, of course. This has a lot of possibilities, especially if you like playing certain cards. I recently put it in a “2 or less” deck which I made for the quest, “play 20 minions that cost 2 or less” quest.

The strategy: Pretty straight forward. Play it on a minion to give it more power or a minion with no attack, to give it the ability to attack.

Cards that accent it: Any minion. Every Minion! I will share some of my favorites:

Shieldbearer– This 0/4 minion with Taunt could use a little attack to help dispatch an enemy minion.

Arcane Golem– This 4/2 minion with charge becomes “Leeroy Jenkins” without giving your opponent two 1/1 whelps.

Dragonhawk Rider– A 3/3 minion that has an Inspire mechanic: Gain Windfury this turn. Always good to buff those minion with Windfury.

Thrallmar Farseer– Another perk of the Lance Carrier is to put minions into that 4 attack “safe zone”. This turns the 2/3 Farseer into a 4/3. Did I mention this minion has Windfury?

Nerubian Egg– Gives this minion 2 attack, which does two things: Allows it to dispatch a minion, and potentially allows it to activate the Deathrattle, which spawns a 4/4 Nerubian. The only thing that sucks is that all Naxx cards are being “retired” to Wild Mode.

Bonus play: This is where it really gets nasty. Youthful Brewmaster is one of my favorite cards, especially with the Battlecry mechanic. Pull a card back, play it again. Factor in the possibility you have Brann Bronzebeard on the board and you have a really epic capability. Who needs Reno Jackson?

How it’s acquired: Obtained from The Grand Tournament packs, or you can craft this little mo-fo for just 40 dusts.

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