Cornerback Concerns Linger for Bears

Cornerback Concerns Linger for Bears
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Every team has weak spots. Every team has gaps to fill. And NO team is as deep as they would like to be at every single position on the field.
But for the Chicago Bears, one position has been on the table for the better part of the past three years. We just keep coming back to it: Cornerback
Last year was supposed to have been Zackary Bowman's year. But after just three games, Smith benched Bowman in favor of the undersized Tim Jennings, which left me wondering if we had seen enough out of Zack, who had six interceptions in 2009.
Head Coach Lovie Smith essentially benched Bowman after failing to cover Calvin Johnson on the "touchdown that wasn't" play in week one. But was that really called for? It's Calvin "freekin" Johnson! Despite that, Smith called for three-deep coverage on that play, which left Jennings - who is 5' 8" to Johnson's 6' 5" by the way - with absolutely zero help.
But following that, Jennings performed fairly well in the position. Tim ended up taking about 78% of the snaps in 2010, and he finished with 66 tackles, one interception, nine pass breakups and one fumble recovery. He wasn't setting the world on fire, but no one really expected him to.
Despite Jennings' decent performance in 2010, I'm still left feeling very uncomfortable about what the team has heading into 2011. Why? Because all of a sudden, the NFC North is a bit of a high-flying powerhouse.
At least with the Vikings looking to likely start a rookie quarterback - a rookie quarterback who will have an extremely abbreviated offseason to prepare - they don't look to be as big of a factor as Green Bay or Detroit.
The Lions are getting better my friends. The defensive line is scary as hell, and assuming Matt Stafford can stay healthy, their offense has the potential to be explosive.
And who can forget the golden boy himself, Mr. Super Bowl MVP, Aaron Rodgers?
Cornerback may not be as glaring an issue for the Bears as the offensive line, or even wide receiver. But to make the playoffs, you need to win in your division. And getting past the offensive fire-power of the Lions and Packers is going to be pretty tough without star corners.
The thing is though; the Bears' Cover-2 - if executed properly - doesn't call for Nnamdi Asomugha or Darrelle Revis. It calls for a fierce pass rush, facilitated by the defensive ends and linebackers, and solid safety play.
It's the main reason why you can forget any dreams about the Asomugha ending up in a Bears jersey this season.
But consistent pressure isn't easy. And when you toss in two very mobile, playmaking QBs in Rodgers and Stafford, it becomes even more difficult.
If I'm being honest, I have nightmares of these two slicing up the Bears secondary like Joan River's face.
And speaking of Joan River's face, 30-year old Charles Tillman, who had an excellent 2011 campaign, has gone under the knife season after season, having surgery after surgery, for the last three years. How much more can that body really take?
So here we stand. What do the Bears do? Do they need to make a move?
As for me, I'd be willing to bet the house that Smith is content heading into camp with Jennings and Bowman ready to duke it out for the top spot on the left. As it stands, both Tim and Zack are heading into a contract year ... so you can bet they're both looking to impress.
If Bowman intends to earn back his spot, he needs to show the coaches that he's improved his zone coverage and can play as aggressive as Jennings showed in 2010.
What do you think Bears fans?

Comments

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  • I think the Bears are screwed. Any big money doled out to free agents is probably going to come in the form of a WR or G and it would be difficult to condemn the team for investing in either of those positions. Unfortunately, neither does that change the fact that the NFC North is now stocked with big guns and even bigger targets. I'm just not sure how the Bears can address all these positions in the shortened offseason.

  • In reply to teejaysplace:

    Well, it's like I said: Every team has holes. If the Bears d-line can do what it's supposed to, I think the secondary will be alright. But if not...

  • Explain to me again why we drafted a safety in the 3rd?

  • In reply to gpldan:

    I'm not even sure Jerry could explain that one to you.

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