Chicago Sun-Times

Safety issue: Cornerback Tillman will not make switch

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Charles Tillman is staying put.

The Bears' left cornerback will not be moving to free safety this season, an NFL source said.

It's been an idea that's been floated for years but one that gained more traction since the start of the 2008 season and the issues the Bears faced at safety. Moving Tillman now doesn't make sense, though. It would create a major void at cornerback. Instead of solving a problem, it would transfer it to a new area, one that is deemed more important. Typically, cornerbacks are paid more than safeties and the reason is because teams put a greater emphasis on them.

Tillman is recovering from reconstructive surgery on his right shoulder and will not be cleared to participate in the veteran minicamp from March 17-19. That's not believed to have factored in the decision, the source said, as Tillman is expected to be fully healthy in advance of training camp.

So, where does this leave the Bears? We went over the remaining depth chart at safety Monday morning when taking a look at the post-Mike Brown era. It doesn't look like there is a star that will be out there in free agency. The Bears would probably settle for a dependable player considering all the turnover they've had at the position. Dependable would hardly describe their experience at safety since, well, the Brown-Tony Parrish pairing the club had in 2001. They'll keep Tillman where he's been dependable for them at cornerback, where he's missed just five games over the last four seasons.

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32 Comments

Tillman would definitely be a better safety than he is a cornerback, so it's just a question of which position can be better filled. If there are any good cornerbacks who'd be available, than switching Tillman to safety would be the logical move, since there aren't going to be any particularly good safeties available.

However, none of this matters if the Bears don't get a much better pass rush. The pass rush is the most important part of defending passes, and even a good secondary will get beaten often by quarterbacks who have all day to throw.

Get Chris Sims in FA!
We need him here! He's way better than Ort(n)on(e)!

Cutting Mike Brown is a mistake. Keeping Tillman at corner is a no-brainer.

Kevin Payne has speed and range. I'm not sure why he insn't in the FS discussion. Sure he can hit hard, but he plays with discipline and has good hands for the int.

Payne For Free Safety!

None of this matters.....we could draft the best player at every position this year but as long as Orton is the starting QB, we will suck!!!!!!!Draft Josh Freeman or get Jeff Garcia for a stop gap until we draft someone better next year.......or better yet, grow some balls and let Caleb Hanie start from day one and watch him be a star!!!!!!!

Payne's best performances were at SS. Granted in the Cover 2, the safeties are mostly interchangeable, but at the same time, I think we need to leave Payne at SS, where he was looking like one of the better young players we have put on the field in a long time.

If we put him at FS, he gets pulled out of the box all the time, as he not only has deep half in Cover 2, but deep 1/3 in Cover 3. I would rather have him underneath covering tight ends or playing a shorter zone, where his sure tackling can keep 3rd and 9s from being converted.

I think he could play either spot, but I don't want to see Steltz on the field...

as usual the NFL master minds speak out on here... it's so easy to look at it with only pieces of the puzzle... but keep complaining, it what you do best...

How do you guys figure that any QB would be a star with our Oline, do you not understand the war of the trenches, did you not see the Vikings stuff our 4 downs to goal, our Oline is a much higher priorty than QB.
We need a RT through FA or Draft and a RG or no QB will star here.
Did you not try to grab Orton for your Fantasy Football team when he was hot before the injury and get turned down cause you did not offer enough for the hottest QB at that time?
Orton will be fien with an Oline.

Cornerback is the best position for Charles Tillman, the move might have worked had the Bears signed a big time free agent corner, but having Tillman & Graham at corner is a better move, both players have nice size at 6-1 for the corner position to play the bigger receivers the Bears face in the NFC north.

As far as safety, the Bears have their strong safety in Kevin Payne, who was leading the Bears in tackles with 77 in early november before he was switched to free safety. I think Payne has good enough range to play strong safety, as seen with the 4 ints, but not free safety. Payne's ability to make a lot of tackles in the box, and hard, make strong safety the best position for Kevin Payne. Chicago will probably get a free safety through the draft/free agency, and give Danieal Manning another shot, we'll see.

I do agree the pass rush does need to improve for whoever is at free safety. With the hiring of Rod Marinelli as the defensive line coach, the Bears are probably hoping he can get defensive end's Mark Anderson & Adewale Ogunleye back to form as pass rushers, both players have proved in the past they have the ability to get to the QB from their defensive end position. I do however look for the Bears to upgrade their defensive line early during the draft, but not at end. If an offensive tackle is signed in free agency, I look for the Bears to draft a defensive tackle to help Tommie Harris man the three technique, maybe Mississippi defensive tackle Peria Jerry if he's available, the Bills & Redskins are both rumored to have interest in Jerry, they both select ahead of the Bears. If not Jerry, I wouldn't be surprised if the Bears trade down a couple slots, pick up some more draft picks, and draft Missouri defensive tackle Evander "ziggy" Hood in the first. The thinking might be to bring in another player that can man the three technique effectively. The Bears have Tommie Harris, but going into the season with just one player that can play the three technique is taking a chance, especially with the importance of the position to the Bears scheme. Chicago has Marcus Harrison, who can also play the three technique, but late last season the Bears played Harrison at the nose position, and with his size, 6-3 315lbs, he may be a better fit at nose tackle. Trading down, and getting a player like Ziggy Hood might not seem like a pretty move on draft day, but the move could help the Bears defense, especially having another high motor player like Hood up front. Scouts like Hood for his ability to split double teams, closing speed to the quarterback, and ball-chasing ability. Hood is also very explosive out of his stance, having an explosive DT like Hood could upgrade the Bears ability to rush the passer, making the Bears a better defense GO BEARS!!

Where does this leave Brandon McGowan???...I've always liked him, when he is healthy!!

I will keep going back to this one point because I feel it is the most important one to make. If the Bears want to bring back a dominating defense as quick as possible than the signing of DT Albert Haynesworth is the most vital move we could make. Albert is the best run stopper in the league and not only draws consistent double teams but ALSO maintains his ground on those double teams which is something Tommie Harris does not do. What good is drawing a double team when you get driven 10 yards down the field like Harris. Albert also is and excellent pass rusher from the most important are (up the gut). He would improve our run defense, pass defense and allow our secondary to instantly appear better and on top of all that he would allow guys who were underachieving like Anderson and Ogunleye to instantly improve. You name me another player who could do that RIGHT NOW. This doesn't even account for the fact that Urlacher is no good when blockers get a hold of him and drive him back, he made himself a household name in his early years with Washington and Traylor manning the fort in front of him and allowing him to roam. Without a true nose tackle in front of Brian, he is average at best and hardly makes any impact at all. So for all you true Bear fan's out their let's get this straight and quit talking about defensive ends and what safety were going to bring in here, because if we don't address our dire need for a true nose tackle like Haynesworth the rest is just meaningless talk.


The way to get our dominating defense back is to fix the O-LINE and get another back who can carry the load with Forte. I defense sucked at the end of the games because the offense couldn't chew up the yards and the clock. I agree the D-LINE is just as important as the O-LINE in winning championships, but the O-line has been ignored long enough

Bill Holland, your a bit egocentric aren't you?? Bill, just because other Bears fans have different opinions than YOU, doesn't mean their any less fans. Haynesworth would be nice, but the Bears probably won't sign him, no matter how many phone calls you make to Halas Hall. I agree with what Kevin said above about moving Marcus Harrison to nose tackle, Harrison has the bulk to be an effective run stuffer from the position, and could open things up for Urlacher like you were saying.

Bill Holland, as far as being a true Bear fan, true Bear fans don't bash their favorite teams players like you did above. Example:

By Bill Holland: "What good is drawing a double team when you get driven 10 yds down the field like Harris.

Auh...Bill, last time I checked, a double team is a double team, two blockers are still tooking out of the picture to open things up for the linebackers, 10 yds down the field or not.

By Bill Holland: "Without a true nose tackle in front of Brian, he is average at best and hardly makes an impact at all."

First of all Bill, REAL Bears fans don't bash a player like Brian Urlacher who has been on the field playing hurt for the last couple seasons like he has been. Urlacher falls back in coverage a lot from his mike linebacker position, on top of the fact he has been playing with the bad neck, his tackles are gonna come down, nose tackle or not. Urlacher could come back this season healthy, sometimes it takes a season or two to recover from the type of injury Urlacher has. Bill, don't be the fan that bashed Urlacher all off-season, then cheer for him when he's making plays, thats not acting like a REAL Bears fan.

Bill remember, the first rule to being a Bear fan is, don't bash their players!!!

The second rule to being a Bear fan is, don't bash their players!!!!!!!

Tyler.....if what you say is true about real Bear fans don't bash their players....there is not one real Bear fan in Soldier Field or the city of Chicago!!...Just ask Rex Grossman!!!!!!!!!

I bet Bernard Berrian is happy Peanut is staying at corner!!!!.....99 yards does wonders for your average per catch!!!!!

Moses: Grossman deserved all of the boo's he got.

Anyways, I just read that Chris McAllister was released from Baltimore. Line up McAllister and Tillman and our CB's look rather strong. If Vasher comes to form we really would have 3 starting CB with Graham and Bowman as reserves. This also would let Graham take over the nickel position and let Manning take over Free Safety.

Just a thought....GO BEARS.

Tomk4054.........Dude, Rex took us farther than old Neckbeard will ever dream of going!!!!!!....."Fans" like you is why we'll always suck......you don't know you head from your a$$!!!!!....Move to Green Bay and do us all a favor!!!!!

Tyler I never "bashed" Urlacher, I simply stated a fact that he is less effective when he takes on blockers or needs to shed them. The reason Brian has sold so many jersey's and become a fan favorite for all of us Bear fan's is because in his early years he was allowed to roam free sideline to sideline without much attention, and NOW that he is being asked to take on blockers he is struggling and without a true nose tackle who can sustain his double team and not just draw one, the situation will not improve. And Tyler part of getting better as a football team is self evaluation which is what the Bears coaches have been doing the last few weeks, are you saying that they are "bashing" their players if they notice important deficiencies like the one I pointed out with Brian. NO, it's called "Improving" as a team and getting back to and winning a Super Bowl. The only way we can do that is through tough decisions and analysis and that starts with your own players. And one last note on what you stated Tyler, drawing a double team is not the same as holding your ground on that double team. If you cannot hold your ground like Harris has been incapable of doing than that is not bashing him that's simply stating that Tommie needs a nose tackle next to him to handle the power running game and allow him to be turned loose against the pass. If we do sign Haynesworth we will have the opportunity to be one of the dominant defenses in the league, and championships start up front. I believe the signing of Haynesworth would be the QUICKEST way for us to get back to being a great defense, and I find it hard to believe that no one else agrees with me on this analysis.

The only thing Rex deserves is another shot at starting in a city that will appreciate him!!!!.......He is all class....not like you Tomk4054!!!...You're a "FairWeather Fan"..I bet you were the first one cheering for Rex when he was "Good Rex"!!!!!!

I like Rex AND Kyle
I don't like, well, I like them all but I don't like to see some of them on the field period....lol
Yes, we need Haynesworth but from what I am reading the Titans are going to sign him so I will consider Haynesowrth out. and I imagine that most of the great Free Agents will re sign, which leaves us with a wait and see after the signing period, and if anyone reads my posts you all know I must not be a true Bears Fan.
and as Moses said - we all are guilty at one time or another lolol
Although I do feel the Coaches and Players all let the team down last year and Angelo.
Pick up the pieces and go on.

I missed the opportuinty to comment on the replacement of Mike Brown (one of my all time- BEARS), so I will in with this piece about Tillman not moving to Free Safety, which I agree with and think is the smartest move. As I said in an earlier post you don't fill one hole by creating two and that's what we would have done by moving Tillman an established playmaker on the field at corner. Kevin, you like JOhnson from Alabama alot and while I value your opinion I don't think we should reach for the kid, and from what I hear he will not be available in round 2 which is where we should go after a safety or LB who can come right in and play. Especially with this Tait thing almost guaranteeing a tackle being picked again in Round 1. I still think we need to look at Sean Smith from Utah a bigger Tillman that could be had in round 2 and or/Louis Delmas from W. Michigan who had a great Senior Bowl and should be there in Round 2 also, losing Mike Brown hurts a lot for the team and me personally, but we have to find a way to move on.. and quick...Tomk4054 you have a point althought I don't think they will spend the money on McAlister, who I liked coming out of Arizona years ago, this guy could be the replacement for Brown at Free, he has speed, tackles well and this move could prolong his career, plus this guy is a ball hawk, much like Mike was in his prime, I'd say take a look but don't overpay we have a few holes to fill and with this "Tait" rumor out there we need to get a few players in with the available cash we have...Go BEARS....

By Jerry Angelo Jr. on February 17, 2009 5:16 AM
Cutting Mike Brown is a mistake. Keeping Tillman at corner is a no-brainer.

"Kevin Payne has speed and range. I'm not sure why he insn't in the FS discussion. Sure he can hit hard, but he plays with discipline and has good hands for the int."

"Payne For Free Safety!"

This is why you shouldn't speak, you write stuff like this. Kevin Payne is a SS by trade and he lacks range and speed as evident by his combine times when he ran between a 4.6 and a 4.67 40. Your saying that is NFL Saftie speed. You are wrong in fact anyone out there, every expert in the game will tell you Payne lacks speed and range. Two things that you need in the Tampa two at saftie is speed and range. He has niether.

Bill Haynesworth is not comming here, for that matter niether is Peppers or Gross. Come down earth and live in the now. Your a Bear fan and you should know better that to target star players. So get over Haynesworth already.

Speaking of getting over it. WTH Grossman is gone, deal with it, cause ther eis nothing that can be done about it, good luck to him. The Bears are sticking with Orton and thats there problem. If you want to talk about how great Rex is why don't you wait till he does something great and then nail all the Orton fanboys to the wall. Orton Fanboys same goes for you, how about you wait until he does something great before crowning him the next big thing. As it stands there numbers are almost identical and niether has done anything special.

The Combine is about to start and the Bear fanboys are running around like chickens with there heads cut off spewing out fantasy hopes for Orton and Rex. Running around blaming other fans for Angelo's and Lovie's choices. If people had cheered Rex it would not change the fact that he was throwing a lot of picks and was up and down all the time. He was cheered for a long time and he let the team and the city down and got booed, so what it's part of the game and one of the few ways fans can help to implement change.

Hadji and Moses I believe I have been to more Bears games than the 2 of you and NEVER question my love for this team. I bleed Navy and Orange. As a fan you do not have to like all players on said team, you must support them which is what I do. You may not like a guy but when they play for your team you back them. Rex rode a GREAT D and a running game that put up 1800 yards to get us to the Super Bowl. At this poeint he had all of his shots. He did not pan out and now I am happy he is gone. I will continue to support Orton who can play, can read a D adn change plays at the line of scrimmage. Also, he can see over the line and can also hold onto the ball.

I have been a Bears fan for 31 years. Don't ever question my loyalty to this team. Moses Green Bay is hell to all Bears fans.

GOOOOOOO BEARS.

Tomk4054.....we'll see how far you support Kyle....You'll be booing him soon, you "fairweather" fan....Classless......I've been a Bears fan for 47 years....I have forgotten more than you know!!!!!

can we all just get a long lil doggy?

Yippy-Kie-Yea.....................................

Wrigley Field:

I am in your camp I really think Tillman would have been a tremendous free safety, with Graham and Vasher at each corner and Payne at Strong and Manning at nickel. There are backups at each of the DB positions but more are needed in the draft at safety and at corner.

Defensive Tackle play has hurt Urlacher's ability to roam from sideline to sideline like he used to, so better D tackle play would help the whole team D and Url in particular. I am not so sure that Tommie Harris is going to have a great year, he came on a little at the end of the year but was not even close to the player we expect him to be moving forward. What happens if Tommie just doesn't show up like he did in a few games last year, the D will suffer big time.
Kevin, I am with you we need to draft a DT until the three technique is set, it is not now. Maybe your recommended DT is the one to pick. I am also of the belief that in a MLB like Urlacher (size and speed)the Defense could utilize him far more effectively and creatively than they have in the past. Why not bring him at the QB from the edge on occassion and have someone else drop to the middle, get some creative blitz and stunt packages.

The Bears D this year was more milk toast than fierce. It used to be when it was third and 4 or more it seemed it was almost automatic the D would stop the offense. The last two years the D has not lived up to their mantra of going 100% for the full sixty. What was their goal from 2005, that they talked about each and every week?

Hadji in 47 years you get butt hurt over Rex. Good Job. Fair Weather is a term used for other people my friend. I was at the coldest game in history Monday Night vs the hated Pack. So fair weather, I think not. So I will always be cheering on our team and I liked Orton rookie year, liked him last year and will continue to like him this season and hopefully seasons to come if they sign him to an extension.

So Hadji my friend we all will have our differing opinions here on this splendid blog and it will be great.

Cheers and as always GO BEARS.

Tom Orton is not good at changing plays at the line. In fact thats when he gets in trouble. He is at his best the first 10 to 15 plays on offense which are all scripted he is also good at the 2 min drill again that is scripted. His production drops off in the middle of halves becasue the plays are no longer scripted. It's Walsh's old system.

KYLE ORTON SUCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.....The sooner everyone realizes this, the better for the beloved Bears!!!!!!!f

Tillman would be better at Free Safety....more space to make plays and doesn't have to try to be a lock down corner, which he's not. A good one, but not a lock down. We should have looked closely at FA's Dunta Robinson and Chris Gamble to compete for corner while Peanut does the FS thing. Don't see how our current safeties will fill the void. Daniel Manning has worse cover skills than Roy Willims. Maybe we'll actually get a decent OT in FA and select Loius Delmas (Western Michigan) in the draft to play safety......hmmmmmmm.....

I would agree - our Dtackle play has hurt more tham anything else, I did not like Url's play or the corners playing off but the DT was the position that hurt all other positions, Adams started to come on at the end, but lets all hope that Sapp changes Harris attitude this off season.
I like Ortons ability to change plays at the line alot, can't learn if you don't try. That is a huge weapon, kinda like Hester - he has to play WR to learn it, it will take a year or 2 but he will get there as will Orton with a Oline.

I hope we draft Ziggy Hood???? It would help out are Defense!!!!!!

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on February 17, 2009 12:07 AM.

Four Down Territory, Feb. 16: Free-agent possibilities at right tackle was the previous entry in this blog.

Four Down Territory, Feb. 17: Garcia to land in NFC North? is the next entry in this blog.

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