Wednesday, September 12, 2012
BBAO: Charles Tillman and special teams
By Kevin Seifert
We're Black and Blue All Over:
It sounds as though Chicago Bears cornerback Charles Tillman will be available for Thursday's game against the Green Bay Packers. But Tillman didn't practice Tuesday because of a shin injury, and it's fair to ask why that injury occurred while Tillman was on the punt return team in the first half of last Sunday's victory over the Indianapolis Colts.
Is it worth risking injury to your No. 1 cornerback, one who is now 31 years old, on special teams? It's not a new question, and here's how special teams coordinator Dave Toub addressed it, according to the Chicago Tribune: "We've got to have him on the field because he's the best guy that we've got. He can shut down a gunner single-handedly. There are not many guys that can do that.''
Toub said that about seven starters play at least one phase of special teams. Given how many games Toub's group has helped the Bears win over the years, it's hard to argue with his methods or coach Lovie Smith's personnel decisions. A cornerback can get kicked in the shin on defense as easily as he can on special teams.
Continuing around the NFC North:
- Bears receiver Brandon Marshall caught nine passes in Sunday's game, and he noted Tuesday that it put him on pace for 144 receptions for the season. According to Jeff Dickerson of ESPNChicago.com, Marshall noted that would be "one more than Marvin Harrison's record" of catches in a single season.
- Running back Cedric Benson, now with the Green Bay Packers, had 189 rushing yards the last time he played against the Bears. Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun-Times has more.
- Packers coaches are going week-to-week in deciding their personnel in the defensive secondary, writes Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
- The Packers are encouraged by the progress of cornerback Davon House (shoulder), according to Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com.
- Packers receiver Randall Cobb gives the Bears a new element to prepare for this week, writes Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press-Gazette.
- Percy Harvin is continuing to lobby for chances to return kickoffs, writes Judd Zulgad of 1500ESPN.com.
- Mark Craig of the Star Tribune addresses the Vikings' approach near the end of regulation Sunday when they were unable to run out the clock, giving the Jacksonville Jaguars a chance to score the go-ahead touchdown.
- Vikings place-kicker Blair Walsh converted a 68-yard field goal during training camp, according to Charley Walters of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
- Mlive.com writers debate whether the Detroit Lions need a fast start Sunday night against the San Francisco 49ers.
- The Lions are seeking revenge for their loss to the 49ers last season, according to Carlos Monarrez of the Detroit Free Press.
- The 49ers are the "ultimate" challenge, said Lions linebacker Justin Durant, according to Josh Katzenstein of the Detroit News.