Friday, December 23, 2011
Zack Bowman replaces Tim Jennings
By Michael C. Wright
Chicago Bears cornerback Tim Jennings said Friday the team informed him earlier in the week about plans to go in a different direction at his position, and Zack Bowman will start in his place Sunday at Lambeau Field against the Green Bay Packers.
Jennings said the news was initially disappointing.
"I was discouraged earlier in the week. They kind of told me ahead of time that was a route they might take," Jennings said. "It's a different approach. They wanted to try something new, see if it worked for us.
"[I'm all] for whatever is gonna make us better -- make the team better -- I'm with it. But as a competitor it doesn't sit well with you. That comes with the nature of the game."
Jennings started the team's first 14 games, contributing 79 tackles, an interception and a fumble recovery.
Jennings gave up a 43-yard completion from Tarvaris Jackson to Ben Obomanu in the third quarter of Sunday's loss to the Seahawks. Later in the quarter, Jennings was called for pass interference on a Jackson pass intended for Golden Tate. The penalty occurred on third down and kept a Seahawks drive alive. Four plays later, the Seahawks connected on a 33-yard field goal to go up 24-14.
Jennings said he wasn't sure of what the team's plans are for him over the final two regular-season games.
"Whenever my number is called, I'll be there," Jennings said. "I can come in as the third corner, fourth corner, however they want me to do it. Whatever they need. I think they're gonna give him a shot, see if they like [Bowman] and go from there."
Coincidentally, it was Bowman who lost his job to Jennings last year after the team's Week 3 victory over the Packers. Bowman has played sparingly throughout the season as a reserve, but said he learned from last year's benching that "it's a business."
"I wasn't producing [well] enough at the time," Bowman said. "Tim came in and did a fabulous job."
Now it's Bowman's time again to be a starter. Bowman led the team with six interceptions in 2009, and expected to be the long-term starter opposite Charles Tillman at the start of last season.
Throughout the difficulty of losing his starting job last season, Bowman said he remained upbeat.
"[Defensive backs coach Jon] Hoke said [the extra snaps] were more a reward of working hard at practice and keeping a positive attitude," Bowman said.
Perhaps that transfers over to Sunday's game against the Packers.
Michael C. Wright covers the Bears for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.