Chicago Sun-Times

Tillman's recovery could factor in secondary decisions

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If the Bears are going to consider a move with Charles Tillman, the veteran's recovery from reconstructive surgery on his right shoulder last month could play a factor in the decision.

Tillman will be four weeks removed from surgery on Wednesday. The short window for a full recovery and return is expected to be four months. On the long side, it could be six months.

That means you can rule out the eight-year veteran for minicamp, which was moved up nearly three months this year by coach Lovie Smith. It begins in five weeks and will run from March 17-19. Either way, Tillman is expected to be ready to go in advance of training camp.

Whether or not the club will entertain the idea of a move is unknown. The Bears have to do something at free safety. Danieal Manning is another possibility. He seemed like he found a niche for himself in the second half of last season playing nickel. There is no way Tillman could be moved without some top help being added at cornerback. He's the team's best cover man as it is. Cornerback is considered a more valuable position than safety so this isn't a small decision. The Bears can't rob one position to help another and do so blindly.

As a veteran with keen knowledge of the system, Tillman could probably make the adjustment without any major hurdles. But he'd certainly miss some instructional time on the field with new defensive backs coach Jon Hoke as right now Tillman is the only known player who will not be cleared for full participation in minicamp. It's clear no move can be in the works until a plan is executed first in free agency or the draft.

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he blew some major coverages during last season and doesnt tackle well.. afterall a corner safety called peanut?

Aside from Redskins defensive coordinator Greg Blache, the key word being Redskins, not Bears, and the fanbase, I've never actually heard anyone, Lovie or Angelo, who would actually make the decision to move Charles Tillman to safety, every say anything about moving Tillman. The only thing I've actually heard about the Bears safety position, is Angelo hinting he would like to see Danieal Manning at the position again. As of right now, that would be the best move, like Manning or not, he does have NFL experience at free safety. I realize Manning has blown some assignments, like in week 17 vs the Texans, but in Mannings defense, he played the entire season at nickle before being moved at the last second to safety. And then the Super Bowl was probably the most memorable, but Manning was a rookie from tiny Abilene Christian going against Peyton Manning, odds are he was gonna blow an assignment in that game, Peyton Manning can make a veteran safety look foolish. Maybe now that Manning has been in the league for awhile, he can pan out at safety a little better than he did as a rookie from tiny Abilene Christian. Also, Chicago has to keep him at the position, this is key for where ever they put Manning. Angelo said, "we need to find a place, and a way to get Manning on the field, he makes us a better defense." To me, it sounds like the Bears are gonna try him at free safety, and bring in another free safety, probably through the draft, thats would be my guess?

The only way I can see Chicago moving Tillman is if they sign Raiders free agent Asomugha Nnamdi, but with the money Chicago already has in their current set of corners, I can't see that happening. From what I've heard so far from the people that would actually make the move, I think Tillman remains at corner, and Manning will get another shot at free safety. I still think Chicago should draft a safety also, hopefully they can land Alabama safety Rashad Johnson. Johnson is known as a smart football player, Nick Saban called Johnson "the quarterback of his defense," because of his knowledge of every position on the field, and the ability to react to offensive formations. This is key to playing safety in the NFL, especially in the Bears scheme. Only time will tell GO BEARS!!

I dont know if moving Peanut to Safety makes sense, that would be an expensive safety. I would rather see the corners we have play closer to the line of scrimage and be more physical there then play 10 yards off and then give up the slant all day. Also i like Danieal Manning at Nickel, stop moving him around. He makes to many errors at safety that cost us games. He will be a stud if we leave him at Nickel. We should ad a free safety via Free Agency or the draft, and give Steltz a shot. I still remember the Interception he made in the endzone against Detroit to save the game, that was huge.
I dont remember the last time we had a free safety come from no were
and make a pick like that. If Steltz would have played FS and we would have left Manning at Nickel against the Texans we would have made the Playoffs, big Coaching blunder.......

Keep Tillman at corner. He is still the best option at that position, hopefully Vasher can come back to full speed like he was during his Pro Bowl season. We also have Graham, McBride and I really like Bowman who was a stud in his only game last season. He has size, speed and is physical. He needs a shot this year.

With that being said they either need a free agent FS or they need to draft 2 because as we all know that the team had mass turnover at QB and safety would fall second in player turnover the last 3 seasons. Maybe after mini camp they can bring Brown back on the cheap.


Danieal has the cognizance of nematode and Stelz has the range of a dust bunny. Neither can play FS in the NFL. Give Manning one option from the nickel and do not expect him to make a read and he'll be fine. Stelz is both slow and weak and never should have been drafted. Caling any play made against the 0-16 Lions huge is like admiring an iceberg terd...should you really be proud of that?

Steltz is a SS if anything, so the argument that we would've beaten Andre Johnson with him at FS is preposterous.

The tragedy of this off-season is that we will be losing Mike Brown. Bet your behind that the Ravens will scoop him up so fast Jerry Angelo's dimwitted head will spin.

This team is becoming hard to root for simply because of the general management and coaching. Anybody else notice Urlacher, Brown, Tillman, Harris, 'wale, and Hunter Hillenmeyer (yes, he is an awesome role player, and much better than watching Nick Roach or Jamar Wilson blow tackles and miss reads) were all headed on the fast track to multiple Superbowls before Jerry started blowing draft picks and Lovie started putting Chicago to sleep. All he had to do in nearly a decade was draft a true FS and a NT to have a raven-esque defense and Jerry totally whiffed MULTIPLE TIMES.

I mean, good God, to inherit this type of defense and blow it the way Babich and Sleepy Smith have is inexcusable. I know losing is easy with this offense and people can say "Devin Hester, Mark Anderson, Matt Forte, etc" as Angelo picks, but getting lucky once a year isn't doing a good job. The sun shines on a dogs behind once in a while.

Get better scouts and have a great draft on D, have Kyle, Hester, Olsen, and Matty F take the next step and hope that Chris Williams pans out and I think we could easily be 10-6. Just SIGN MIKE BROWN AND DRAFT A FS, 2 OT's, a G, an OLB, a NT, and a WR before you guys start losing serious money to fans who just dont care any more.

Charles Tillman would make a better safety than a cornerback assuming his shoulder heals sufficiently. The Bears' problem is that they now have no one to replace him at corner if he were moved to safety. Nate Vasher has not played well since he got his new contract, and he has never tackled well, though the latter problem seems to now infect the entire defense. (I totally agree with the blogger who has been advocating that the Bears go to full contact in some of their practices like some of the other teams in order to fix this problem. Most of these guys used to be good tacklers, so the only reason they've fallen off is that they're out of practice.) Corey Graham shows a lot of potential, but like Brad Biggs said, Peanut is the best cover corner the Bears have and it would be stupid to move him to safety without getting another good cornerback to replace him. Too bad Nnamdi Asomugha isn't available, but even Al Davis isn't senile enough to let him go (this is me dreaming that the Bears would actually spend some money in free agency).

As to Danieal Manning, he's too much of a mental midget to be anything but a nickel back, and playing him at safety is guaranteed to be a disaster. He's a good athlete and would excel at nickel back, so he should be left there. Jerry Angelo should quit dreaming about him playing safety well, it's never going to happen. He's also obviously an excellent kickoff returner and should remain at that position also.

And BTW, the way Devin Hester returned punts last season, Nate Vasher should be doing this, too. Let Hester concentrate on playing wide receiver, which is far more important than returning kicks and punts. He is also a mental midget and clearly cannot concentrate on doing both.

Kevin I hear you. What's frustrating to me is not knowing the things we thought we knew.

This offseason, every time we talk about what the Bears need, it keep's leading back to, "What do they have?". A year or two ago we thought the Bears had their corners for the next 4-6 years in Tillman and Vasher. Good young players signed to long term contracts...worry about something else.

Now we are not sure either is going to be there.

I do know this: the Bears are going no place next year unless they have a better pass defense, and you can't have a good pass defense without good corners.

For the Bears, getting this right could be more important than quarterback. I guess the good news is that their track record is a lot better on cornerbacks than it is on quarterbacks.

Hey Brad,

What do you think about this offseason plan? We won't be able to fix all of our problems through the draft, so here's where I think free agency can help us based on what's available. Scouts Inc. shows all available players for free agency and their position, as well as a rating/scouting report. That being said, here's my plan: first, Jason Brown is a very highly rated Center, who's big, strong and athletic enough to move to left guard (remeber Garza played center for Atlanta before he came here). He would be just what we need.

Second, at receiver, I like Michael Jennings from Atlanta significantly more than Houshmandzadeh because he's 6'4" and fast enough to be a downfield threat, plus he's willing to block. He instantly becomes our top receiver. Also, a guy like Miles Austin is big and fast, but won't command major bucks, and he's an upgrade over the remaining receivers on the roster. This would allow us to draft another receiver and allow him to develop.

Third, I love Dunta Robinson the corner from Houston, plus John Hoke was his coach. He was a bit hurt last year, but he is still a really good player and Houston is gonna do everything in their power to keep him, so this may be a reach. Someone like him could either be a really good corner, or he could be special at free safety (I'm talking Ed Reed-mold). Also, we have to re-sign Mike Brown. We don't have anyone to replace him, so we can't just let him go. Scouts Inc. rates him as still a productive player, and one of the best safeties on the market. He's also significantly better than anything the Bears have on the roster. Kevin Payne is a backup strong safety at best. Manning has all the ability in the world, but he doesn't have the mentality of a free safety (deeper than the deepest), which is just as important. He's a better fit mentally at strong safety or nickel because it allows him to be aggressive.

This free agency plan would allow us to draft the best available players, which the Bears haven't been able to do. Look at last year's draft for example. There were better players on the board, but we needed a left tackle, so we grabbed Chris Williams. Or better yet, look at the 2003 draft. We drafted Michael Haynes at 14 because we needed an end, but two spots later Polamalu went to Pitt. All I'm saying is imagine the possibilities if the Bears were able to draft for talent.

We would be able to get a guy like Michael Oher from Ole Miss. Lovie talks abt competition at every position, so why not on the O line? Imagine this: Tait, Oher and Williams battling it out for two starting tackle spots. Then you have St. Clair, Kreutz, Garza, Beekman and Brown (the center from the Ravens) battling it out for the 3 interior spots. It would be incredible and the Bears' offensive line would be AWESOME! which would improve the entire offense. Imagine how much better Orton and our receivers become if Forte is averaging 4.5 yards per carry, verses 3.7!

I know that was a lot of writing and I apologize for that, but please tell me what you think.

Tillman would make a great free safety he makes plays. Manning is already confused enough leave him at nickel and returns, once again if the DL gets some pressure the corners will look better with no pass-rush no one can stay with professional WR's if you are playing eight yards off. With bigger corners [Graham,Bowman] they came be more physical.

I desperately want 2/27 to get here! I am feining for FA.

Tillman to safety - and Vontae Davis in Round One.

It works in my world!

Preach, Day. You rock. I could not agree more. Seems like blind leading the blind. We're perpetually 5 players away from dominance. Hope we're not 6-7 players away after the 2009 season.

Tillman as a free safety would be an automatic selection as an all pro if his shoulders are OK for major contact? Kevin with all due respect I do disagree with your assessment in this instance and here is why, Manning has played this postion more than once and been poor at it. Manning has performed well as a Nickel and Kick Returner, why screw with success? Lets also face the fact that Tillman is getting beat at corner more than he has in the past, is he slowing down a step or two but at Free Safety whew he would be awesome.

Now here is what could occur if Tillman moves to Free Safety.
Keep Vasher and have him and Graham start at CB with Tillman Free Safety, bring back Mike Brown and start him at Strong Safety with Payne as back up at strong safety and Manning at Nickel. We have a few CB's Bowman and McBride to cover when a corner go's down due to injury or in a very worst case scenario bring back Tillman to CB if absolutely necessary because of injury.

In the draft bring in developmental picks at free safety as first priority or strong safety as a later priority (maybe like the Alabama kid) and at corner bring in a corner that may have safety transferable skills in the later rounds.

The Bears need a pass rush (Marinelli will help) and one more very good linebacker at pick #18 would also help the rush. We could pick up either of the middle backers from USC or OSU (both are very, very special atheletes), move Urlacher who has speed and strength to the strong side occassionally, then the BEARS Defense is in the top 5 again. With Urlacher's experience the BEars would be able to line him up at end, the middle or strong side at various times during the game, when the rookie LB is in the middle, utilize Urlacher as a DE or SSLB to pass rush more often or on occasson blitz the rookie MLB and then Url can move over to the middle during the play to cover the middle, or Urlacher could start at MLB and play 3/4's of the game in the middle and bring in the rookie as noted above. Urlacher's pass rush skills have been under utilized over the years and we need to see him moving from sideline to sideline like he used to more often, we need some creativity with D pressure that would include Url more often and develop one of these two special MLB rookies as one of the next great Chicago Bear middle linebackers for the future to join the The greats of Butkus, Singletary and Urlacher.

Now the D is set.

ON offense we need a Free agent or trade at WR (Boldin, Housh (FA) Jennings (FA) or Ocho Cinco) and the great right tackle Gross (FA) from the Panthers , if not we must sign St Claire and the offense is then pretty much set except for some draft help needed at FB, WR, RB and the OG position on the line. We all know that a franchise QB is never a priority for the BEARS so why wish for something you will never get?

Go Bears!!!!!

Again guys you don't fill one hole by making two, moving Tillman to Free Safety takes a proven commodity and puts him in another spot to prove himself all over again, then we replace him with another un-proven commodity at corner.....Come on now does anybody really think we are going to spend 10 mil on another corner(Asomawga) when we have one whose trade bait (vasher) with a nice salary and Tillman being the other well paid corner....I saw some names hitting the FA market that may be serviceable if we do not bring Mike Brown Back, Dawan Landry-Balt , Sammy Knight-NYGiants, and Dwight Smith-Det to name a few that could be stop gaps for a year while we prepare someone brought in from the draft, or we draft someone and let them grow into the position like everyone says we should do with Manning at the nickel, we need to get off this moving Tillman movement its a bad move and will set the defense back further if it does not pan out....Go BEARS

Leave Tillman at corner. If you want to win you need to sign fa's or draft OL and DL. This is were teams win or lose from pop warner to pro's. Great teams build from in to out, the 85 Bears superbowl team had great line play.

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on February 10, 2009 5:28 AM.

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