On Tuesday I had the opportunity to attend the "Chicago Huddle" at ESPN zone. Adam mentioned it in the diaries before. It is a short TV show that is filmed live in the Zone and aired at 11pm on Saturdays. I wasn't sure what to think when I was going. The listed guest was Hunter Hillenmeyer, but when I arrived Rashied Davis was also there. I was told that their might be a possibility of meeting the players and asking questions, but as both were in a rush that didn't happen.
All and all it was great to see the players be open and honest, and watching the show being filmed was a ton of fun as well. The ESPN Zone has done a great job of providing a place for the show to be filmed and great food. The Zone is one of my favorite places in the city, and I hope to return soon. Sometimes players mill around, but this week both players this week were in a rush. However, Rashied sat at my table for a time before they started filming the program, and that was great. In between Rashied sitting at the table and just being at the program I got to hear some honest opinions, and learned some more about one of the Bears.
The show is fun. I enjoyed the different segments. They had a very humorous segment with Muhsin Muhammad guessing the theme songs to 80's TV shows, and then a spot with guys from second city (they were brutal this week). Hunter and Rashied were very open and had good interviews about the state of the team.
As I said before, Rashied sat at my table and that is when excitement really set in. He just asked who I was and I got a chance to explain how I wrote for Windy City Gridiron, and he was really interested. Then he opened up right away and started sharing about the season. He just shook his head and said "Man..." and then he paused. He couldn't believe where the team was and how it got here; you could see it in his face. Then he picked up again and said "Man, I just can't wait to turn this season around. You know, we can do this and I just can't wait." It was good to hear the pain and sincerity in his voice when he talked about the season. It made me excited to see where this team goes in the second half. During the show they shared Rashied's story about making it into the NFL. I knew he was an Arena guy before he played for the Bears, but I didn't know that he didn't play High School ball. He walked onto his local Community College team and after two years transferred to a San Jose State. He fought his way through the Arena league and now is on the Bears. It made me an even bigger fan of Rashied.
Right off the bat they asked Hunter how big of a difference a record of 3-5 is from 4-4. He responded saying that there is a difference, but "our season is not over yet." He came across as disappointed in the performance so far, but confident that the team will finish well. Hunter said that the defense deserves to take some heat. They tried to put the offense on the spot when they asked him what he thought about the defense only allowing 16 points. They wanted to know if the offense should have capitalized on that low score. Hunter quickly dismissed the notion that the defense did a "good job," and noted that the defense allowed the Lions to gain 365 total yards and win the time of possession game by almost ten minutes (34:54 to 25:06). He was adamant about the defense keeping the other teams offense off the field and giving the offense more time and chances to score. The other major point that Hunter made was concerning the lack of turnovers, saying that they need to get back to what was their strength. We all know that the Bears live off turnovers. Lovie is supposed to be the turnover master, and right now the only person who has proved his worth in successfully stripping the ball is Charles Tillman. Here's hoping, they can get back to that during the bye week. Speaking of the bye week, both players were extremely thankful that the week is here and gives the team some time to rest, regroup and practice.
It was an exciting day for me. It was an awesome privilege to be able to meet the players and I hope to go back again and meet more. If and when I do you will get the new scoop.