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The Chat House with Michael Wilbon

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Michael Wilbon
Washington Post Sports Columnist
Monday, October 25, 2010; 1:30 PM

Welcome to another edition of The Chat House, where Post columnist Michael Wilbon was online Monday, Oct. 25 at 1:30 p.m. ET to discuss the Redskins-Bears game, college football, the latest sports news, his columns and anything else on your mind.

Submit your questions and comments before or during the discussion.

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Detroit, Mich.: Wow - Jay Cutler is bad, I mean really bad. Cocky, abrasive, terible leader, blames everyone else, poor decision maker, all the qualities you dont want the face of the franchise to have. Do the Bears have any options or are they stuck with him?

Michael Wilbon: Hi Everybody! Had a chance to go the Bears-Redskins game as a fan yesterday and sit in the stands at Soldier Field, and I SOOO glad I didn't...It was an up-and-down weekend for me anyway, what my Northwestern Wildcats and Bears blowing games and losing...But I was in Chicago for my 30th college reunion weekend...got to attend Dick Butkus' fight night (all you kiddies who think people hit hard now should go to YouTube and dial up some Butkus clips)...I got to be with Dick Butkus and Gale Sayers, then on Saturday got to with and watch the Northwestern-Michigan State game with Bobby Flay, who couldn't have been nicer, and (more importantly!!!) his wife Stephanie March, the beautiful and talented and completely charming actress (Law & Order SVU for about three or four seasons as the ADA) and Northwestern alum...So, while that's more info than most of you care for, I'm trying to concentrate on the positive aspects of my weekend in Chicago, and not on Jay Cutler, who appears every week to be a bigger dope than he was the week before. If you ever wanted a lesson on how important coach/QB are to the success of a team, just look at what a mismatch Mike Shanahan and Donovan McNabb (both Chicagoans, I hastily add) vs. Lovie Smith and Jay Cutler...Cutler is the most arrogant kid without success I've ever seen play the position. And Lovie...to not challenge the Cutler fumble...Congrats to the Redskins and their fans...I'm still seething.

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NBA Season: I haven't been this excited for the start of an NBA season since Jordan first season back in 1995. Are you going to do a column predicting the winners? If not, who do you have coming out of the East? And can they beat the Lakers?

Michael Wilbon: Thank you for the opportunity to tease tomorrow's column in The Washington Post. Yes, I'm going to write a season preview. And I'm not going to give it all away now or there will be no need to read it in Tuesday's newspaper or on-line. I haven't been this excited about the beginning of a season since Nov. 1995, as well. That was the official return of Michael Jordan to the NBA, the season the Chicago Bulls would win 72 games and their fourth NBA Championship. This has all the makings of a great, great season. I think Miami will win 65 games, give or take a game...but the Heat has plenty of challengers...Lakers in the West (no, I don't think Oklahoma City is quite ready; they haven't had enough disappointment yet) and Boston, Orlando, Chicago and Milwaukee (YES, I said Milwaukee) in the east. It's loads of fun to watch the evolution of a mega-talented rookie, so getting to see John Wall will be fun. I believe Carmelo Anthony will be traded sooner rather than later, so that will be a subplot worth hanging on. I'm in Boston tomorrow night for Heat-Celtics and in Miami Friday night for Heat-Magic...so my assignment early on (for ESPN/ABC and The Post) is to essentially live with the Heat. AND, I spent Wednesday with Kevin Durant at his home in Oklahoma City, and like essentially everybody else I came away thoroughly impressed, completely capitvated with the kid.

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Congrats to the Redskins and their fans: Thank you. We will take the W but the game wasn't a lot of fun for us to watch either.

Michael Wilbon: You know, in a perverse way (I love defense) I thought it was kind of entertaining. I told my brother at kickoff that the only way we win is if we score two touchdowns on defense and/or special teams, and we only scored one. In my confidence pool, I picked the Redskins to win and assigned that pick five points on a scale of 3-16 (complicated, I know...16 points is what you assign your most confidence pick...1 points for your least confident pick...but 3 becomes the lowest value when there are bye weeks). Anyway, if I had to rate the NFC now, I wouldn't know where to start...maybe still with the Eagles...They lost on the road to a 5-2 Titans team; no shame there. Atlanta's 5-2 but nearly blew a big lead at home to the Bengals...if the Giants win tonight in Dallas, I'm putting the Giants at the top of the NFC rankings. I know, the Giants???? They looked like bums a month ago...But they don't now. The NFC is so...nothingThe Vikings are done. DONE! Brett Favre and Childress...that situation is toxic. They're DONE, even in a bad conference, they're done. The Redskins find themselves pretty good in a wide open year. I'd be dreaming about a deep run in the playoffs if the Redskins were my team.

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Herndon, VA: Michael,

Yeah, not challenging the Cutler fumble was bad, but Lovie probably would have challenged it if he still had two challenges left ... which he would have had ... had he not boneheadedly challenged the play before it. Talk about a high-risk, low-reward challenge.

Either challenge misque was bad. Both of them? Back-to-back? Idiotic.

Michael Wilbon: Of course, you're right. I just believe (and this is typical of a fan, all of us who are irrational 90 percent of the time when it comes to our teams) that Lovie challenged the first call (when the receiver was down at the one) because he KNEW in his heart of hearts the Bears couldn't score from the one. He knew. Hell, I knew so how could he not know?

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That's Why They Play The Games: Michael, I bet not one sports journalist in any media predicted before the season that the Giants and Rangers would be in the WS. Results like this are what makes sports so interesting at times and another reminder of why the games are played. Frankly, I wasn't going to watch a Phillies/Yankees WS but I will watch the WS now!

Michael Wilbon: Great point! and thanks for making it. Personally, I might not watch one pitch of Giants-Rangers, even though I think it's kind of cool that both those teams are in and have compelling stories. It's just that the WS is being played at a time it shouldn't (approaching and after Halloween) and I've got too much other stuff I'm now into. College football will have a huge weekend (Oregon at USC Saturday night in prime time) and I'm about to start NBA mania with Miami, Boston and Orlando. My internal clock says baseball is already over! If it gets to a Gamme 6 I'll watch...but Wednesday night I'm on ESPN with an NBA double-header...Thursday night I'm in Miami. Saturday is Oregon v USC...Sunday is Saints-Steelers in New Orleans in a Halloween blac-and-gold special...No time for baseball now. And it's entirely baseball's fault for putting itself in a position to have to share the stage...

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Washington DC : So instead of the Yanks vs. the Phillies--two east coast teams within about 100 miles of each other in two huge media markets--MLB winds up with San Francisco and Texas in the Series. As someone who does sports TV, how do you think they are feeling at FOX this week? Thanks.

Michael Wilbon: See last answer!

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RE C Anthony: Assuming Bynum returns 100% healthy, would the Lakers and Nuggetts trade Anthony for Odom & Bynum?

Michael Wilbon: No, Denver would never do that. No chance. How are Kobe and Carmelo going to play together? No. Kobe's not LeBron. He's not interested in hooking up with other great players, especially not a rival who does essentially what he does. Not at this point of his career, he's not. No. If Carmelo wants to go to Los Angeles, there's a spot for him on a pretty darn decent roster in the same building...with the Clippers. Suppose LeBron had gone to the Clippers? Have you seen what Blake Griffin is doing this preseason? he's a BEAST! LeBron, Griffin and Kaman, playing with Eric Gordon and Baron Davis! Anyway, I think Carmelo will go to the Knicks because they've got a couple of players to send back (Galinari and Anthony Randolph) and expiring contract (Eddie Curry) and a couplf of first-round picks. The Bulls, a place Carmelo would go in a heartbeat, don't have an expiring contract to send Denver for cap relief.

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New York City: Who will finish higher in the East, The Knicks or the Wizards?

Michael Wilbon: The Knicks should make the playoffs...probably the No. 8 spot...I can't see the Wizards making the playoffs this season. I've got Atlanta starting to slide, but not OUT of the top 8...Charlotte will hold on, I think, to a spot. I see only one spot open in the East and I think the Knicks, with Amare having a terrific season, grabbing it. As Shaq noted recently, young teams don't fly in the NBA. They just don't. Not ever. And the Wizards (Gilbert aside) are so incredibly young. Don't see it this season, but the Wizards are still doing the right thing...They just need to find a spot for Gil.

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Washington DC: Will you be partying with Lebetard when you get to Miami?

Michael Wilbon: Ah, yes.

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Arlington, VA: Mike,

let's say you're Roger Goodell. If all of the accusations against Brett Favre turn out to be true, what (if anything) do you do?

Michael Wilbon: "All" of the accusations. Hmmm...Favre says the lewd photo accusation is not true, according to that Fox report...So if that one isn't true, then I do nothing. I keep telling you folks, people need to stay out of other folks' bedrooms and stop listening to their VM and reading their texts. It's nobody else's business.

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DC: Are the Chargers the dumbest team in the NFL?

Michael Wilbon: Tied with the Cowboys. Both are incredibly stupid teams...and what makes it so confusing is if you walk either of those locker rooms you'll find lots of very, very smart guys. It makes no sense.

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DC: Did you see the inept officials with the "we couldn't see who recovered the fumble" ruling in the Pittsburg-Miami game? Will you rant about it on PTI today?

Michael Wilbon: I did see it in live time on Direct-TV. It was an egregious blown call. And I will not rant about it. The Dolphins, while wronged, at 2:30 left, a two minute warning and a timeout, playing at home, down one. had Big Ben scored the TD the Fish would have had to score a TD to win. This way (even though the call was horrible) they were only down one...Drive and score if you're at home and you consider yourself a serious contender. You think Brady would have scored under those conditions? Peyton Manning? A field goal with 2 1/2 mins left to win the game at home? Please. in their sleep

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Washington, DC: I agree with you that Carmelo Anthony will be traded soon - Denver clearly doesn't want to get "Boshed." Is there any chance my Knicks can involve a third team and get this done?

Michael Wilbon: Knicks, Bulls...that's the list. Remember, Carmelo is going to be a free agent, so while others might be interested in putting together a deal, he has to committ to signing there long-term...But if he somehow isn't traded and isn't looking longingly at the Clippers...Thing is, Donald Sterling is such a loser as an owner...I don't know. I, however, think he will be traded...

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Baltimore MD: Mike: Is it just me, or is this NFL season really bizarre. Just consider yesterday. The Browns absolutely thump the Saints. The Ravens barely escape against the winless Bills, giving up 34 points in the process. Oakland completely destroys the Broncos. I mean, I know upsets and near upsets happen every week, but it seems like there is no team in either conference where you can say with certainty, "Yeah, they'll win going away this week."

Michael Wilbon: As somebody who is in a "confidence" pool I can say with certainty that I've never been as confused week-to-week about who should win a game. Part of that is that the NFC is so lousy, and that affects non-conference games as well...though not the Baltimore-Buffalo game...nor the Broncos-Raiders game...It is awfully strange, but I think the season has been pretty fascinating up to now.

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Washington DC: Mike,

Lebron James showed the world the hateful comments that are made towards him on Twitter. One one hand, those people who madw those comments are idiots. But, we all know that athlete's receive comments like that. I've been to the University of Maryland and heard sickening comments towards opposing players. I know Kobe heard some not so nice things when he first returned to Colorado after his incident. And you've talked about the things you've heard at the Boston Garden. Maybe he doesn't know how to handle people not liking him, but doing this makes Lebron seem immature to me. Thoughts?

Michael Wilbon: how about simply naive. He was playing, remember, his entire life in his adoring hometown region. He was going to be as sheltered from hate mail as any public figure could be...but not anymore. I actually plan to take some of my hate mail (I used to keep much of it, though not anymore) and show it to LeBron and see what he things...I don't know if he things nobody else receives it but him...or, if he's just saying, here's a sampling of what I've gotten since deciding to leave Cleveland. It's sick that people are that hateful, but don't expect me to be surprised.

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College Park, MD: Taking your mind off the debacle (for you anyway) at Soldier Field for a sec, how great was it to see the Browns throttle the Saints like that? Sure, the bigger issue coming out of this game is probably 'what the heck is wrong with the Saints', but let's also be happy for the Browns and for Cleveland, getting such a big-time win.

Michael Wilbon: Okay, I can roll with that...But the Saints were my 16 point pick yesterday...So, don't ask me to be too giddy. (And the Broncos were my 14-point pick). You try to NEVER lose your douuble-digit games. I usually only pick teams playing at home for my 12- through 16-point games...The Saints HAD to be the 16-point game yesterday, right? Hell, I nearly lost the 15-poing pick (Ravens)...and the 13 (Falcons)...See, the NFL is crazy. And fun this season.

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Fairfax, VA: Mike, you really seem to have become more laid back and calmer since your health became more important to you. You still express yourself, but without resorting to a sledge hammer anymore. Are you just plain happier now days and more relaxed?

Michael Wilbon: Wrong conclusion! Nice try though. I think I'm as contentious as ever. No? I'd have to put that out there to see what others think. I'm older and MORE judgemental, I think (fear), in some ways. I still have tantrumms. I've never been angrier over my school losing a football game...not in 34 years as a student/alum...Hell, I'm still ticked off about it and it was two whole days ago...The Bears losing to the Redskins didn't help my mood. But no, I don't write as many columns anymore so maybe you don't hear as much of me and I seem calmer as a result. I'd have to ask the people closest to me what they think. I think they'll say I'm as bit a pain in the ass as ever...But thanks for the sentiment.

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Sterlng, VA: If you could go back in time to speak to an 11-year old Michael Wilbon, which would blow his mind more; the concept of Tivo/DVR or NFL Sunday Ticket?

Michael Wilbon: Sunday ticket. I was about 13 years old when we got our first video recorder...the VHS thing with tape...What were those things called again? I'm serious; I can't even remember the name of them. Anyway, my parents had one. The tape would eject out of the top of the machine and it set on top of the TV...So, the notion that television could be recorded wasn't far off at 11...But the notion that you could watch whatever you wanted and ALL of it. I guess the combination of a satellite dish and all the programming you can stand would have just made me pass out. I don't want to be ANYWHERE on sunday where I cannot see all the NFL games.

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Steve, DC: Can you imagine how bad the Skins would be if they completed that trade for Cutler? Don't forget they wouldn't have been able to draft Orakpo or Trent Williams...so glad Vinny C is gone!

Michael Wilbon: Check what I wrote about the Redskins trading for Cutler. I was on the right side of that one and don't mind grabbing some credit.

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TOP 5 Teams in NFC: Hi Wilbon-

Sorry about the Bears loss. I wanted to ask you your opinion of the top 5 teams in the NFC. The Eagles were blasted by the Titans, and the Giants/Cowboys have a huge NFC East game. The Skins with a win next week against the Lions will be a respectable 5-3 at the bye. Thanks!

Michael Wilbon: If the Giants win tonight (and I'm picking the Cowboys), I'd go 1) Giants 2) Falcons 3) Redskins 4)Packers 5) Eagles...if the Giants lose tonight, I guess I'll go Falcons/Redskins/Packers/Eagles/Seahawks...or Tampa Bay 5th...something like that.

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Jeff George: Hi Michael,

How are you feeling these days?

Listen, could you tell your fellow sports journalists to STOP calling Jay Cutler "the new Jeff George?"

I mean, yeah, I threw four picks in a game. Plenty of times.

But I made sure to spread my interceptions around to different guys. I never sent all four of them to one corner.

And say what you will, but my picks were BEAUTIFUL balls. They had zip on them! Cutler was tossing ducks up there all day.

So again, Cutler is a golden-armed lame-brained quarterback, yes, but in a totally different way from me.

Thanks.

Your pal,

Jeff

Michael Wilbon: I love Jeff George...Cutler...not so much.

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Canyon Rim, Utah: At what point does "McNabb did enough to win" become "they won in spite of McNabb"?

Michael Wilbon: People aren't that smart about their football, so to answer your question, fairly soon...

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Chicago: Michael - Love him or hate him I thought Favre was a warrior last night. What are your thoughts?

Michael Wilbon: I thought Favre was going to connect with Randy Moss on that final pass and win the game...I was stunned he threw it too high. Favre, bless his heart, is done. It's over. It's been one helluva run, but it's done.

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Oakton, VA: How about that Navy team? Way to put a lickin' on Notre Dame. Okay, I'm biased, but I think the bigger story here is how Navy has really turned things around since 2002 ... and yet the national media always makes it sounds like the Mids shouldn't be winning a single game on their schedule. Heck, this Navy team destroyed essentially the same Missouri team that is currently unbeaten. Is Navy a world-beater? No. But I do wish folks out there would stop talking about them as if they were St.Mary's Sisters of Mercy. They're a good, competitive football team that is able to identify and recruit quality -- yet underrated and undersized -- athletes year after year ...

Michael Wilbon: Thank you for that...And yes, comgrats to the Midshipmen. for pounding Notre Dame...again. Now that's a Saturday devlopment that made me smile.

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Milwaukee, WI: Just wanted to say thanks for including the Milwaukee Bucks as a team to watch in the NBA. It feels good to see they are once again contenders after so many (well, way more bad years than good years recently) disappointing years.

Michael Wilbon: They won, what, 47 games last year and they get Andrew Bogut back healthy, and added Corey Maggette and a couple of 280-pound mashers from the draft...and Brandon is a year older...and John Salmons starts there from the beginning of the season...I think Milwaukee might very well beat out the Bulls for the division title.

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Washington DC: Is Ryan Torain for real or will he fade away by the end of the season?

Michael Wilbon: He's a nice player. Let's not make him into LT five years ago, but he's a nice back with some burst (on certain runs) and energy and tough to bring down. He's a nice back. I think the Redskins can get to the playoffs with him...beyond that, I'm not ready to proclaim anything just yet. I wish my team had him...Shanahan gets full credit on him being here...

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San Francisco, CA: Re: Haynesworth. He's been getting a lot of praise for his performance yesterday. Do you think this is the beginning of something good, or just a fluke that's being overblown?

Michael Wilbon: I think Hanyesworth should be in the lineup, period.

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The Skins with a win next week against the Lions will be a respectable 5-3 at the bye. : I wouldn't take the Lions game as a given.

Michael Wilbon: I will be picking the Lions to win that game, period.

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DC: Who ya got in the Celtics/Miami game this Tuesday? How important is it for the Heat to make a statement?

Michael Wilbon: Boston at home. And it's not important for either team, not in the least. But it'll be two entertaining hours that I wouldn't miss for the world.

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Woodbridge, VA: Mr. Wilbon,

What do you think about Brad Childress calling out Bret Favre after the loss last night? Favre took it well when asked about it in the post game presser, but do you think this will add to their already somewhat rocky relationship?

Thanks

Michael Wilbon: I think their relationship is over. I'm serious about this. I don't really see Favre finishing the season in uniform. I don't. I think that's done. It's clear Childress is tired of him. They needed to get off to a 5-1 start or something close to it, and now that they haven't, I don't see the Vikings recovering, even though they have time and nobody's running away with that division. I just don't think they two of them can co-exist the rest of this season.

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Lincecum vs Lee: Who you got taking game 1?

Michael Wilbon: It's such a great pitching matchup...maybe while I'm in the green room up in Bristol I'll watch Game 1 as well. Yeah, I'll have to. Jon Barry is a baseball fanatic. JB knows baseball as well as he knows basketball, and I'm serious about that. I'll take Lincecum at home...But I wouldn't put any money on any bet against Cliff Lee, the way he's going in the post-season...

Okay, Gang, I gotta run and prepare for PTI...Have a great week everybody, and we'll convene Monday when we've had a chance to see LeBron/Wade/Bosh and the Miami Heat for a couple of games, and whether my pick of the Lions beating the Redskins is any good...Thanks for chatting...MW

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