Vasher: The Defensive Player to Watch

Nobody.  Not Zack Bowman.  Not Danieal Manning or Craig Steltz or Al Afalava.  No player on this team's defense is about to undergo a more important run of preseason games than Nathan Vasher.  And reading the start of David Haugh's disappointing, yet unsurprising Trib column doesn't breed a great deal of optimism:

On a sweep to the defensive right side, cornerback Nathan Vasher
correctly read run. Vasher quickly closed and technically put himself
exactly in the spot where the Cover-2 playbook says he should have
been, in a position to force everything inside of him or, better yet,
make the play himself.

Vasher then feebly offered a shoulder and approached running back Garrett Wolfe
in a way that personified the word tentative. New secondary coach Jon
Hoke, the respected defensive-back mechanic hired to tinker under
Vasher's hood, immediately reminded Vasher the Bears were wearing full pads for a reason. So try using them.

Picking one play out of two weeks of training camp at Olivet Nazarene
unfairly represents any one player. But that six-second span the other
day during a full-team drill summed up a dilemma nagging Vasher in
particular and the secondary in general: right place, wrong timing.

I don't usually paste that much of a column onto this blog but there's a couple things at play.  (1) It's impeccably written and I'm often very critical of Haugh's style.  (2) It illustrates what many believe is the problem with Nate: his heart is not in the game.  Why?  Because according to this ESPN article, Vasher earned $15.6 million of his $28 million contract by the end of the 2008 season.  I like to think that isn't the answer but I've learned to know better.

Vasher must start all of these late summer contests and face the best these opponents have to offer.  If he struggles, Lovie Smith can not afford to start him against the best passing attack they'll face all season on September 13th.  I'm starting to wonder if they can afford the roster spot at all.   

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  • First! Brutal man..

  • Depth chart released. Only surprise is that Craig Steltz is third team at safety behind Josh Bullocks.

  • In reply to JeffHughes:

    I'm shocked at how far down the list at WR and KR "Jackass" Johnny Knox is...I probably shouldn't be, and yet...

  • In reply to JeffHughes:

    Well, Jeff, I guess we'll agree to disagree over whether Tommie Harris is the biggist Bears' disappointment ever, but you get no debate from me on this one. Sadly, we're on the same page when it comes to Nathan Vasher, who has gone from "Mister Big Play" with interceptions and 108 yard kick returns to "Mister No play". I hate to say it, as I've never put on the pads, but he looks gunshy to me, especially when it comes to having to make a tackle. I submit he hasn't been a playmaker since his first trip to the injury list and I also submit that is no mere coincidence.

  • In reply to JeffHughes:

    We took five cornerbacks on the fifty-three last year. Tillman and Bowman will be on this 53. That leaves three spots between Vasher, McBride, Graham and Moore? You're probably right, Max, Vasher will make the squad. Economically, they don't gain anything by releasing him this late. But if he gets burnt through the preseason, will the coaching staff look beyond that?

  • In reply to JeffHughes:

    It's to bad that there isn't a way of making vasher more afraid of not making the play. Money doesn't provide the leverage to get him back on track. The only thing they could do is drop him on the depth chart. That or have urlacher give him a motivational speach with his fists.

  • In reply to JeffHughes:

    i am a little surprised to see Steltzy fall that far back in the depth chart. i know it has only been about a week and a half but i didn't expect that to happen. Rash must be doing something right to still be at #2 in the mix but i would like to see the young guys get a shot. we know what we get in Rash but i want Rideau, Iglesias and knox to get a shot...DA too if he keeps making Jay Cutler happy.

    Also, part of me thinks that Jay speaking out so much in support for Rideau and DA and not mentioning Rash at all is a not so subtle hint to the coaches that he really doesn't think Rash should be on the field this year and that he would rather have 6'2 and 6'3 targets to throw to instead of 5'11, 5'9 and 6'0 when it comes to recievers. That was my best run on sentence ever.

  • In reply to hollywood1:

    I for one am impressed with your run-on sentence Johnny. I wish I could do that, maybe one day. Baby steps. I write like an AK47 on full automatic. And yeah, I'm tired of mini-me type receivers. If your name is Dennis Gentry, then okay, but if you can't hold onto the ball then go see Al Davis. Cutler can't see 'em behind the linebackers kneecaps and so will probably just hit Dez Clarke and his new blondie boyfriend all day long. I can see Cutler hitting Garret Wolfe in the face with a lot of his hand-offs, either that or Cutler falls over bending down to give him the ball. Maybe the NFL will allow him to use a lacrosse stick to take his handoffs this season. Poor guy. He probably thinks Devin Hester is 6'2 and Brandon Rideau is a giant. I mean, imagine being in the showers and you're just talking to penises.

  • In reply to JeffHughes:

    By that did you mean your runniest run-on sentence? :)

  • In reply to JeffHughes:

    Two thoughts this morning:

    1. Does the fact Steltz has been leapfrogged by late round rookie Afalava say more Craig or Al?

    2. If DA, Mash, Stink, Aromashodu or whatever you want to call him can prove himself worthy to Dave Toub on special teams, I think it will give him the edge over Rashied Davis.

  • In reply to JeffHughes:

    Yesterday's Haugh-Pompeii video blurb in the Trib (Will somebody please give those guys a microphone?!) reported that it was NOT a good day for Trumane McBride.

    That aside, has anyone seen anything from Craig Steltz that says he plays fast enough for the NFL?

  • In reply to JeffHughes:

    Albert, I've been spending some of the early morning trying to find out exactly what's happened to Craig Steltz. The guy was a starting safety a week and a half ago and is suddenly on the cut bubble, being that we only take five safeties.

    One good thing is that we have a real quarterback testing these defensive backs.

  • In reply to JeffHughes:

    Afalava didn't get any looks during the rookie camp as he was completing his classwork in Oregon. The coaches are getting their first real look at him and he has impressed.

    Steltz is smart but doesn't have the speed to be a FS.

  • In reply to JeffHughes:

    Vasher was in training camp, right ? Garret Wolfe is about 4' 2 and a Chicago Bear, Vasher's team-mate. Vasher was in the right place at the right time, that's his job. Job done. Not to knock the snot of the midget holding the ball. That's what Buffalo Bills are for .... again, he's a Pro Bowler ...wait until he pulls out of tackles against the Packers in week one before we retire the guy. Media guys (and Haugh isn't bad) have nothing else to write about now, so they pick on the minutest details, blow them out of proportion and then the hungry fans feed on it.... damn, I can't wait for the season to start ...

  • In reply to JeffHughes:

    The Steltz situation is kinda shocking... I don't like the idea of Bullocks as our second best option. What do people think about kevin payne at FS and Afalava at SS. Didn't? payne start at FS last season and eventually switch spots with mike brown?

    ugh. our secondary is a mess. Next draft we need to take a couple higher round DB's.

  • Good post Jeff!

    Things I find interesting about the preliminary depth chart:

    Chris Williams seems to be holding his own against Kevin Shaffer.

    Anthony Adams is doing better than Dusty Dvoracek, not that it takes much to accomplish such a feat.

    They've moved Hillenmeyer inside...he's not going anywhere.

    Jay Cutler is our Quarterback!

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