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Saturday, August 24, 2013
Tucker dialing up the pressure

By Jeff Dickerson

OAKLAND, Calif. -- One noticeable trend on defense in the preseason has been Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Mel Tucker's willingness to blitz his defensive backs from all angles of the field.

Tucker dialed up pressure from the defensive backfield in the middle of the first quarter against the Raiders on Friday night when cornerback Charles Tillman fired off the edge, unblocked, to sack Oakland quarterback Matt Flynn for a seven-yard loss.

In the second half, safety Brandon Hardin came free up the middle on a blitz and forced and errant throw that resulted in Bears' interception.

Cornerback and safety blitzes weren't all that common under former head coach Lovie Smith, who seemed to prefer having his nickel backs rush the quarterback from time to time.

But all throughout training camp and the preseason games, the Bears have been experimenting with different blitzes from members of the secondary.

"We're going to mix it up, man," Bears cornerback Tim Jennings said. "Sometimes we are going to blitz and other times we are going to sit back and let our defensive line get after the quarterback. Coach Tucker is putting us in great positions. He's mixing it up, putting us in winnable one-on-one situations. He finds a way to bring one more than they can block.

"This is what the preseason is for. We're trying to figure out what works and what doesn't work."