Chicago Sun-Times

Play time analysis: Top special teams participants set to return

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Of the top 12 participants on special teams last season, it's probably fair to say only four are guaranteed to have roster spots in 2009. That's life on the bottom-third of the roster, where annual turnover mixes things up. The good news for special teams coordinator Dave Toub is that only one of the 12 players is guaranteed to be gone--linebacker Darrell McClover, whose contract expired. He remains a free agent. The better news for Toub is that he might get more out of defensive lineman Israel Idonije and linebacker Nick Roach.

Idonije saw his playing time on special teams drop from 63 percent in 2007 to 50 percent last season after bulking up. He's dropping to between 265 pounds and 270 pounds and will probably be called on more by Toub. Roach was eighth in special teams snaps with 224 but if Pisa Tinoisamoa wins the starting job on the strong side as expected, Roach would be freed up for more use by Toub. Perhaps he could be molded into another Brendon Ayanbadejo, the former captain and three-time Pro Bowl special teams player.

Linebacker Jamar Williams easily led the team in special teams participation but he's drawn some attention the last few weeks for his work on the field in the offseason program. That work will go a long way toward securing a roster spot for Williams, but that's no guarantee given the logjam the club has at the position now.

The Bears' special teams unit was eighth last season in the composite ranking system used by Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News. That came on the heels of consecutive first-place finishes. It was the team's fourth top-10 finish under Toub, who joined the staff in Lovie Smith's first season in 2004. Much of the reason given for the drop last year was the turnover and loss of Ayanbadejo. Losing special teams players is something that happens every year in every city. It's far too early to tell how the 53-man roster is going to shake out, but Toub figures to be in pretty good shape. The Bears consistently draft linebackers and defensive backs to stock special teams, and having an established system in place breeds familiarity if not success.

Here is how the playing time broke down:

Jamar Williams 417 special teams snaps
Trumaine McBride 321
Joey LaRocque 302
Adrian Peterson 281
Craig Steltz 264
Garrett Wolfe 251
Israel Idonije 249
Nick Roach 224
Kellen Davis 223
Danieal Manning 221
Darrell McClover 201
Hunter Hillenmeyer 198
Pat Mannelly 168
Brad Maynard 168
Corey Graham 167
Robbie Gould 149
Devin Hester 121
Marcus Hamilton 117
Rashied Davis 93
Jason McKie 92
Charles Tillman 84
Kevin Payne 77
Alex Brown 73
Marcus Harrison 73
Brian Urlacher 73
Desmond Clark 71
Roberto Garza 70
John St. Clair 70
John Tait 70
Earl Bennett 67
Brandon McGowan 63
Dusty Dvoracek 48
Dan Buenning 46
Gilbert Gardner 46
Jason Davis 40
Chris Williams 34
Fred Miller 31
Greg Olsen 28
Anthony Adams 27
Terrence Metcalf 27
Brandon Rideau 27
Zack Bowman 18
Kevin Jones 18
Brandon Lloyd 17
Nathan Vasher 9
Cameron Worrell 4
Marty Booker 3
Mark Anderson 1
Lance Briggs 1
Adewale Ogunleye 1
Matt Toeaina 1

We'll get to Four Down Territory later today. Check back.

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Who cares about McClover?? He isn't even on the team anymore. By the way, nice choice of picture with Jamar getting his boogey on with some Latina reporter who just wanted an interview(hmm, maybe more??) with him. Great work Brad, keep it up!!

What an odd choice of a picture. Apparently Nick Roach can boogie. That IS special.

That's Jamar Williams, mike. Yeah, that is an odd choice for a pic. She's pretty tasty...

Good stuff Brad.

I had to stop and think about Mannelly having the same reps as Maynard because he snaps for both punts and field goals. But then I remembered Maynard also holds for field goals. Was Maynard on the receiving end of every one of Mannelly's snaps?

Do you suppose there is some kind of record for that?

I don't know if he played much special teams in college, but I've seen film clips of Will Ta'ufo'ou making some nice open field blocks. I'm hoping to see him blocking for Hester on punt returns if he makes the 53 man roster.

To MSBearsFan:

"Was Maynard on the receiving end of every one of Mannelly's snaps?" There was a fake punt that G. Wolfe ran with, I think. That might have been a direct snap to Wolfe. I don't think Maynard handled the ball on that one... but I'd have to go back and check the TiVO to be sure.

Great piece Brad!

All you Izzy-haters out there won't agree but I think these stats show what a productive player Izzy really is. It appears that the MAIN reason special teams sucked last year is that Izzy wasn't on them. Thank you JA for signing his extension!

BEAR DOWN, Jamar!!!! Possibly a new version of the Super Bowl Shuffle!!


Caliente - nice Spanish adjective to describe the Latina Honey Bear!

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on June 8, 2009 8:46 AM.

No knee-jerk reaction, next bonus for Tommie Harris in June 2010 was the previous entry in this blog.

Four Down Territory, June 8: Mailbox full of receiver inquiries is the next entry in this blog.

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