Chicago Sun-Times

Defensive backfield breakdown: A look at 2008 playing time

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We took a look at the breakdown of playing time on special teams on Monday, and today we're going to tackle how the playing time was divided in the secondary last season. Obviously, the big piece the Bears are trying to replace is veteran safety Mike Brown, who is expected to visit the Cleveland Browns after a free-agent trip to Kansas City last week.

Corey Graham has been shifted from cornerback to safety, and Craig Steltz and Josh Bullocks are also in the mix. Graham ranked fourth in playing time in the secondary last season, so he has ample experience on the field for a player entering his third season.

Here is the breakdown:


SS/FS Kevin Payne 1,101 of 1,111, 99.1 percent, 16/16 starts/games
CB Charles Tillman 948 of 1,111, 85.3 percent, 15/15 starts/games
FS/SS Mike Brown 924 of 1,111, 83.2 percent, 15/15 starts/games
CB Corey Graham 714 of 1,111, 64.3 percent, 9/16 starts/games
CB Nathan Vasher 438 of 1,111, 39.4 percent, 7/8 starts/games
CB/S Danieal Manning 370 of 1,111 33.3 percent, 1/14 starts/games
S Craig Steltz, 141 of 1,111, 12.7 percent, 0/11 starts/games
CB Trumaine McBride, 93 of 1,111, 8.4 percent, 1/16 starts/games
CB Marcus Hamilton, 46 of 1,111, 4.1 percent, 0/8 starts/games
CB Zack Bowman, 20 of 1,111, 1.8 percent, 0/1 starts/games


SS/FS Kevin Payne 129 tackles, 73 solos, 1 TFL, 1 sack, 4 INT, 5 PBU
CB Charles Tillman 91 tackles, 79 solos, 1 QBH, 3 INT, 16 PBU, 4 FF
FS/SS Mike Brown 101 tackles, 63 solos, 2 TFL, 2 QBH, 1 sack, 2 INT, 4 PBU
CB Corey Graham 93 tackles, 73 solos, 2 TFL, 1 INT, 6 PBU, 1 FF, 1 FR
CB Nathan Vasher 29 tackles, 23 solos, 1 INT, 3 PBU
CB/S Danieal Manning 31 tackles, 20 solos, 2 QBH, 1 sack, 1 INT, 4 PBU
S Craig Steltz, 11 tackles, 8 solos, 1 INT
CB Trumaine McBride, 4 tackles, 4 solos, 1 INT, 1 PBU
CB Marcus Hamilton, 2 tackles, 1 solo,
Zack Bowman, 1 tackle, 1 solo, 1 INT

TFL-Tackle for loss
QBH-Quarterback hit
PBU-Pass breakup
FF-Forced fumble
FR-Fumble recovery

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Two words for you....not good!! They all better step it up this year or we're looking at 9-7 again no matter how good Cutler does

How well the secondary does will ultimately depend on how much pressure the line can generate.
(This was our ultimate downfall as a team last year--lack of pass rush).

Hopefully SGT. Marinelli will light a fire under the rumps of all those talented underperformers...I believe, if anyone can get the best out of those guys (and we've seen flashes of what they CAN do), it should be the MAN named Rod.

Add in some new young talent, vets staying healthy, and a more aggressive Lovie calling the shots in a way that plays into our players' strengths, and we COULD be back to dominant form on defense.
We'll see. BEAR DOWN.

Ok, I'm tired today, so this takes some work - but what we really need hear is some sort of effectiveness rating. Obviously, "plays" as a percentage of "total plays" is an indication of playing time.

1. Where's the missed tackle measure.

2. Tackles made by FS/SS is a good thing on a pass but a bad thing on a run, right?

3. Like to see PBU against total pass attempts

My opinion is Kevin Payne and Corey Graham are pretty awful.
My impression of watching them last year is the reason they have so many tackles is because the opposing QB's kept throwing to their receivers knowing they were going to be open (poor coverage by Payne and Graham).

I also opine that Mike Brown was the best player on defense last year.
Crazy to get rid of him but no point crying about it -I guess that horse has already left the barn.

I would also like to note that in an ESPN Chicago article they discuss how Craig Steltz could be making a push to start at either FS or SS.

I feel that Craig Steltz in not physical enough and does not tackle 220 -240 lb RBs well enough to be a SS.

I can't really comment on his coverage skills for FS as he has such a small "n" (number of plays in real games that I have observed at least) that I can not really evaluate.

I think our secondary is going to be our downfall this season
(if only we still had Mike Brown).

It’s interesting the secondary was my biggest concern for the defense and I see why. I know teams that have big numbers in tackles in the secondary are either passed on extensively or allow runs to go beyond the linebackers. I played around with these numbers a bit to match playing time with the amount of tackles garnered. It’s interesting since the defensive line and line backers account for a number of defensive stops who in the secondary becomes involved in plays the most often. From most active to least it comes out as

Graham 7.67
Payne 8.53
Brown 9.14
Tillman 10.41
Stelz 11.93
Vasher 15.10
Bowman 20.0
Hamilton 23.0
McBride 23.25

Nice to see after the ball gets to the third tier of the defense who makes it to the ball the fastest. A lot of this is just based on playing position and time of the play but clearly an argument can be made that Graham was consistently the quickest to the ball carrier on many plays. It looks like a good idea to keep him on the field as much as possible to help out the secondary. Looks like significant room for significant improvement from a few members of the secondary.

I was at the coldest game of the season last year and remember Steltz getting run over by Ryan Grant. Is it me or is the team a little too high on Stletz. I would like to see Graham start at FS since he can also play corner, cover and tackle. Then let the battle for SS begin with Payne and Bullocks and let Steltz be Grahams back up at FS. Payne at times had some really good games last year and needs to stay at SS. He needs to play in the box and lay the wood.


Most important #'s on this page:

-Corey Graham's high activity given the amount of snaps he played. He can obviously help tackling runners while still bringing a coverage focus to the free safety spot the Bears have lacked.

-Kevin Payne's stability at safety while still providing Mike Brown-like statistics.

-Charles Tillman's 16 PBU's and 4 forced fumbles. Far and away the best CB on the team.

mike s you are crazy, you must think mike brown was the best defensive player because he has your first name. lance briggs makes the most important stops on defense, that said there are no best players because the defense is a unit like a ant hill is. mike brown can't get to his spots cause he has lost his speed, look at the last play of the atlanta game, if he could have got to the side line we would have won that game. we will never know how good or bad our secondary is because of lovie's defensive scheme. the corner
backs play to far from the recievers, so they cut in front of the db's and make first downs. if the db's were allowed to play closer to the recievers it would allow the d line to get to the quarterback
personally i don't believe in a defense that allows a offense to go down the field, you know bend but don't break defense.

Anonymous 1:44 PM,

I mean Creighton. Your spelling and typos gave you away. Not to mention you calling out other people in your comments. Finally your certainty of thought.

Man up, get your pink panties on and run around Soldier Field telling us how great Brando and Angelo are. I will come in from MD to see it.


good call MD Kevin, mr creighton here really REALLY should stop hiding and just do what he promised to do already. I mean my goodness where is your integrity creighton? this anonymous foolishness really should end my poor-spelling fellow poster.


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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on June 9, 2009 11:01 AM.

Morning roundup: Bears could face Mike Brown twice in 2009? was the previous entry in this blog.

Getting their kicks: Bears bring in two more punters for workouts is the next entry in this blog.

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