Chicago Sun-Times

With Tillman on the shelf, will the Bears seek a veteran corner?

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We have a full edition of Four Down Territory scheduled for Wednesday, but we'll dip into the mailbag now with a question that has popped in from several e-mailers this morning.

Q: Is Jerry Angelo going to make an effort to sign a veteran cornerback now that Charles Tillman is out for at least all of training camp? It can't hurt to add some depth and let someone learn the system during training camp.

Charles, Apopka, Fla.

A: It's certainly not a bad idea but I think you've got to consider a couple of issues on this matter. First, Tillman didn't have surgery yesterday. The procedure was two weeks ago so if the Bears were going to make a move, it's fair to consider that there is at least a chance they would have already done so. Second, the club brought in some veterans for a look in the spring. First, Ken Lucas paid a visit before ultimately returning to his first home in the NFL in Seattle. Then, Rod Hood came in during OTA's before promptly signing with Cleveland. By failing to sign either one of those players, or engage them in contract negotiations, I would venture to guess the decision was made that the Bears would be better off going with the young players they have. Now, would that decision be different right now? Let's just say no one was expecting Tillman to have back surgery after he had shoulder surgery and then missed time with a hyperextended knee.

The Bears could still opt to go the young route and roll with what they have. Tillman missed a substantial amount of time during training camp last summer--he was probably gone at least half the time while his daughter was hospitalized--and he returned to play well through an injury-challenged season. In his absence, Corey Graham received substantial playing time with the first team and used that as a spring board to take Nathan Vasher's place when he was injured. Tillman's absence in camp this summer will give another young player, likely Zack Bowman, the same repetitions with the first team. If there is a silver lining in the whole deal, it's that Bowman (or possibly Graham) will get extended work with the starters against the first team offense.

The final point to consider is what exactly is available on the market right now? As valuable as quality cornerbacks are--no defensive coordinator can have enough of them--there aren't any prizes on the street right now. The good thing is if the Bears do choose to go shopping there are plenty of available names all with experience. Travis Fisher, Chris McAlister, Mike McKenzie, Ricky Manning Jr. and Patrick Surtain are all available. Heck, the Bears could have R.W. McQuarters back. With experience, though, comes high mileage.

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Heck, get R.W. McQuarters! I always liked that guy! It definetly wouldnt be a bad move. And hes valueable on returns too. I say give him a chance again or Ricky Manning Jr. I liked both those guys, but I heard Ricky had some sort of falling out with the coaches? Im sure Tillman will be fine but theres no shame in covering your butt!!


I thought that McBride was a very nice surprise as a rookie filling in for Vasher in '07. There really hasn't been much said about him since. As you've reported, Graham got the reps in training camp last year, and has obviously built on that opportunity nicely. I'd like your thoughts on McBride's shortcomings- be it size, mental mistakes, lack of effort, not capitalizing on opportunities he's given, etc.

Bear Down!

I say let the young uns develop. It's very unlikely that Tillman is going to revert to his Pro-Bowl form given the recent rash of injuries/surgeries. The verdict is still out on Vasher. Granted Bowman/Graham lack the experience Tillman has but if the front 4 are able to generate pressure this season around then the CBs can expect some help from the LBs. If there is no pressure from the front 4 then yeah, the CBs can get horribly exposed but I'd rather take developing a young player than stick with old oft-injured ones. Its time to move on. Go Bears!!!

Well this sure throws a wrench into our plans for the season. The hopes of the team was to have solid veterans on the corner to help out with the youth we have playing safety in Payne and Steltz. I can see them sending Graham back over but that would end the experiment of getting an athlete back to play free safety. I think we have one good corner on the roster Bowman but he needs to stay healthy, Moore has good draft grades but his size is similiar to Vasher and I doubt he'd be ready to step right in as a rookie and help. As for veterans on the list I like mcAllister who was solid in Balt. and can be a playmaker also....Turrene from Louisville looks to be a good free agent pick-up we'll see in camp if he can play coach Hoke has his work cut out for him. The key to this years team is the defense, in a diffenet way than past years though, now they should be able to be dominate late in games instead of wearing down like they have in the past, they will not have the excuse of being on the field all day any more, our offense should be much improved even with the receiver issues, we have two healthy NFL caliber backs in Forte and Jones, two solid TE's and an inproving Hester on the outside....I like Peanut and his loss will hurt the team, but it should not be long or impact our ability to make the playoffs.....Go BEARS!

Given the injury history of the Bears secondary,I think it would be wis to at least bring in a veteran. Peanut plays through injuries every year, but how mch longe can he continue to fight through them? Vasher has proven he is not willing to fight through very much pain, and even though Mike Brown is gone there has been too many changes in the secondary due to injuries. Surtain is old, but hadsome great years opposite Sam Madison in Miami. Mike McKenzie use to haunt the Bears but he has injuy and age concearns himself. "Denny's" has extinguished his welcome with the coaching staff, and McAlister also was a soli CB with age concearns.. However this i a fill in move, not looking long term. Give Surtain, McKenzie (who perhaps could play like Tillman) or McAlister a look but no guarantees, and focus on developing Moore, McBride, Bowman and Graham.

I'd stay put. We have enough guys with quality starting experience to weather the storm (unlike at WR; could you imagine Hester going down... Yikes). Bringing in a veteran for one year isn't going to help much in the short or long term, and it isn't even assured that the veterans listed could beat out our young guys.

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on July 28, 2009 10:47 AM.

3 days to Camp: Should the Bears consider Michael Vick? was the previous entry in this blog.

Tillman: "I'll be fine for the season" is the next entry in this blog.

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