Chicago Sun-Times

Hester sitting out practice; McGowan missing

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Devin Hester is not participating in the practice in full pads this afternoon at Halas Hall. He is on the field but not in uniform, and nickel back Brandon McGowan was not spotted on the field when the media was allowed to view the beginning of practice.

Hester injured the left side of his ribs running back a kickoff in the third quarter at Carolina on Sunday. He had an MRI Tuesday and it's not believed the injury is serious, that it could have been just a fluke occurrence. Hester has said he is feeling fine and expects to play Sunday vs. Tampa Bay.

McGowan left Bank of America Stadium on Sunday with a walking boot on his left ankle. If he cannot go it presents a quandary for the Bears. They moved Danieal Manning out of the position after the third preseason game and a move like that isn't made without serious thought. After all, Manning had been touted as the top nickel back for all of the offseason and training camp. We'll see if the players are available following practice and if Dr. Smith chooses to shed any light on the situations.

Center Olin Kreutz was also sitting out practice. No word yet but the best guess is it is a veteran day off.

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How's that move to let Ricky Mannig Jr. looking right now? The guy they were Soooooo confident in replacing him in Daniel Manning couldn't even hold down the spot, and if Brandon were the absolute answer than he would have been their from the outset. I like most of the Bears moves that they decide in, but the one with Ricky makes no sense. Other Bear fans would be noticing this deficiency on the defense if they were to see just how bad that nickel spot has looked. Ricky was a big part in this defense in the sense that he is one of the better nickel corners in the league, and if Peanut or Nathan were to go down he was the one to provide veteran leadership. Yes I know he wasn't great last year, but I think his career record speaks for itself. What the Bears need to do is develop either Corey Graham or Zack Bowman to fill this nickel spot and make it strong again.

After the way Kreutz was blown aside like a turnstile by the Panthers nose guard on that 4th and one in the last series of the game, maybe Kreutz should be putting in some practice time.

Let's be honest, neither Manning or McGowan were lighting it up as the nickel back. What I would like to see is Babich or Wilks taking a page out of the Tampa playbook. Move Graham to the outside in nickel, and let Vasher work the slot. He is a ballhawker, and quick enough to cheat out of his zone when needed. What it also gives us is two very physical corners on the outside in the nickel, which will help the pass rush, and the safeties as far as getting depth and reacting to the routes.

From what it sounded like, Graham was one of the biggest positive surprises out of camp, and it'a about time we took advantage of it. I still expect Manning to get some time at safety this season, as neither Brown, McGowan, or Payne have been healthy for 16 games. granted, Payne only has one year under his belt, but that also means he could be mistake-prone in pressure situations.

Being a Tony Dungy disciple, I am surprised Lovie hasn't pushed this already. Why not get your best man defender in the slot, and add another physical cover man in obvious passing situations.

Joe the best man defender this year is Tillman not Vash.

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on September 17, 2008 1:38 PM.

Hester expects to play vs. Bucs was the previous entry in this blog.

McGowan out for the season is the next entry in this blog.

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