Chicago Sun-Times

Saturday's meeting with Giants will tell something about Vasher

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We should get a pretty good indication of how the Bears feel about Nathan Vasher Saturday night when the Bears face the New York Giants in the second preseason game at Soldier Field.

Lovie Smith made it pretty clear earlier this week that he is waiting on Charles Tillman and Zack Bowman to emerge from the training room and be the starting cornerbacks this season, but that hasn't happened yet, and someone needs to hold down the fort while they're out. Vasher struggled last week at Buffalo, with at least two completions to wide receiver Lee Evans the result of some poor technique.

Smith has walked a fine line in calling out Vasher, but he's included his name in a group of players that need to step up their performances.

"We've had one game,'' Smith said. "With DB's you never know. Just think about it. The quarterback has an opportunity to hold the ball every play. So its tough on the defensive backs. We've seen Nate do some good things. Just like the rest of our football team didn't play as well as we probably would like to have played last week but there's a big challenge coming ahead this week.''

Corey Graham has been getting some time at right cornerback where Vasher is, as well as with the nickel unit as the replacement for Danieal Manning, who is also sidelined. It's possible the Bears insert Graham into the starting lineup vs. the Giants with Trumaine McBride on the other side. Smith isn't in the business of announcing lineup changes, even in the preseason. Remember, last week he said Josh Beekman would start at left guard and then he inserted Frank Omiyale into that position. If it does happen here, it would signify that Vasher has possibly dropped to fifth in the pecking order at cornerback when (if?) everyone is healthy.

Considering the ongoing health issues at the position, it doesn't look like cutting Vasher loose is a viable option right now. Not from my vantage point any way. The Bears have to still be hoping that he can make a few plays and start to build up some confidence. The best way to make that happen would be to leave him in the starting lineup. Stay tuned.

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18 Comments

From the other reports I've read, Jarron Gilbert had a good camp and had impressed the coaching staff.

He was in on a few plays in the previous preseason game. Why the low grade?

Man nate vasher has to step up and stop playin so horriblehes making too much money to be a 5th cb

I think that the Bears really need to find someone to cover this area or there is no chance of them being able to have a good season. We get beat in passing way too much even with Tillman in

The new 49er owner showed how this should be done. Walt Harris got hurt so he immediately got Dre Bly. This is what good teams do when players go down with injuries and they don't have adequate backups. Counting on an injury prone player like Zack Bowman is completely foolish, and Charles Tillman might also be a risk with his injuries lately. The Bears should have already signed wide receivers and cornerbacks (a free safety, too, except that there doesn't seem to be one available). But hey, that's the cheapskate McKaskeys. They're probably still in shock over how much they'll have to pay Cutler.

Hey, it's 10 a.m. here, but in Berlin its 5! Cocktail time, everyone!

First things first: Tony Dungy called, and the Bears can have Bob Sanders in 2016, so start holding your breath now.

Lovie and the staff find themselves in an interesting position when it comes to lighting a fire beneath a formerly entertaining kick returner/defensive back whose shoes made it into the hall of fame and whose production declined precipitously once they reworked his contract and removed him from the special teams (and I'm not talking about Devin Hester...isn't that parallel eerie? It's almost like the coaches just do not want to lead the league in any category of kick return yardage, either punt or kickoff...)

Paying Vasher a lot of money is no big deal in the scheme of an NFL team. If you look at the production of many big-money players, it often pales in comparison to second and third-year players making far less. And his dough was mostly up-front, so cutting him would not be a huge loss fiscally.

But why cut him? He still has good legs and nice leaping ability. His tackling is solid but not spectacular, but is that not true of many DBs? In this modern NFL, where any team can hang 30 points on any other team through the air, why not ease off the "in-the-box" safety idea and start to consider undersized safeties that can fly? How big is Corey Graham next to Vashser? (I'll answer that: 6-0/195 compared to 5-10/190) Not a mammoth difference in bulk, and I would bet tonight's fifth of Evan Williams that Vasher is the stronger player in the weight room.

The team needs multiple defensive backs. Having players like Manning, Graham, and perhaps Vasher, who could play across the backfield in all positions would be a plus when facing multiple WR packages. Do you really need a 230# strong safety who is a step slow, when cornerback blitzes show repeatedly that just getting to the quarterback or running back behind the line quashes the play?

While I'm not one of the interminable meatheads who propose changing everyone's position the moment they falter, Vasher's breakdowns seem to be technical, a bird-dog interceptor worked against his better instincts.

Maybe the Bears need to commit to the notion of speed and agility instead of paying it lip-service?

What I'd like to see this week is some of the corners coming up and bumping guys on the line of scrimmage and trying to give different looks that can possibly help the d-line get pressure on the QB and take away the slant that most of us hate to see. The giants will try to pound the middle and use the short passing game to move the ball against the BEARS, it's there offense anyway so expect this to be a low scoring game. It's a good test for us to see if we are a playoff caliber team, which we should be. The season will boil down to the record out of division, since all the talk is that the Vikes with Brett "I can't decide to retire" Farve, and the slackers new 3-4 defense getting all the hype, our team should be playing with a major chip on its shoulder this season. We need some of the youth to step up and become stars this season, I was looking for Payne to be one of them, but with the advent of Afalava coming on, he now might be getting the Daniel Manning treatment and flipped back over to Free safety. Graham, Bowman, and Mannning all will see the field and need to be able to make plays on the ball in the paassing game. I see where they said Gilbert is not showing enough to get playing time, but I thought he did well last week, I'd still like to see him at an end for size on the edge, Gilbert and Harrison give us a chance for a major upgrade on the d-line this year, along with Idonje, they will take some pressure off Harris, Brown and Wale this season. I'm still not sold on the instincts of Anderson at end he must make plays in the run game, not just go for the sack all the time....Good week to be a BEAR fan....

Only one reason for Vasher to be on the roster when the season kicks off....Tillman is placed on the PUP list. I think we are asking for trouble by 1) planning on him being the starter opening night at Green Bay, and 2)assuming he will be full-go by that point after offseason back and shoulder surgery.

If we lose him in September for the whole season, we are hosed. We have a ton of unproven commodities at CB, and Tillman is the only one we have seen as a consistent performer (and even at that, he is not a top 10 CB in the NFL or anything). We have a tough 6 games from a DB perspective, but we can get through it if it means having a healthy Tillman for the stretch run. Graham, Bowman, McBride, Vasher, Moore, Turenne, and Hamilton can get us 6 guys who can manage to get us through (I think Hamilton is probably the odd man out of that group). If Manning is still the nickel back, and Afalava comes in in those situations, we have a very athletic, physical secondary to play with.

Let's not make the same mistake we did on Williams last year, and leave Tillman on the active roster at the start of the season. Give him the 6 weeks to get better, and use Vasher on coverage and punt returns to see if we can increase his value to another team.

If we are going to start Tillman opening night and hope for the best, then we have no reason to have Vasher on the roster. The youngsters are playing just as well as Nate is, without the $4M price tag. I say go with the younger, more aggressive players, and let's move on without him.

I am bummed that I don't get to watch the game until Sunday night, but will be following along as best I can on Saturday. Hopefully, we will get a sense of whether Williams can block anybody at RT, and whether we can get to Eli or Carr with the front 4.

I wouldn't cut Vasher right now, especially with all the durability problems Chicago has at the position. I'd like to see Chicago give Vasher one more chance to step up his play saturday vs the Giants before they bench him. Hopefully he does step up his play, although, if Vasher does continue to struggle, its time to let Corey Graham have his shot.

During the early part of Vasher's career it looked like he was gonna be a pretty good corner for Chicago, but for whatever reason the guy just hasn't been the same player since his 3rd season. Chicago pays the guy and you think you have the corner position fixed, and then the guy's level of play goes down. Vasher does need to step it up or step aside.

As far as Graham, I've always liked him as a corner. I didn't think he looked that bad last season when he was starting. He won't remind anyone of neon Deion at covering, but he's adequate, and Graham will probably continue to improve as far as covering. Graham is very good vs the run, he's also part of the 6 ft plus club, he might not be that bad if given another chance. Graham could surprise now that he would be in his second season as a starter. The original plan at seasons end last winter was to have Vasher and Graham duke it out in camp to see who would be the starter on the right side. But then Chicago moved Graham to safety for awhile, and Zach Bowman came out of nowhere during the OTA's. Graham is now back at corner, and if Vasher continues to struggle, might be Chicago's best option on the right side at cornerback, and could be a pleasant surprise. We'll se saturday GO BEARS!!

I believe Vasher will show up as better versus the Giants.

Still believe though that the game film might be good to help trade him along with others Hunter, Harris for a good wide receiver.

There does seem to be enough depth at CB to get along fine without Vasher albeit that the depth does have some injury related questions.

Go Bears and JA please keep trying for that one solid NFL starter receiver.

If Vasher doesn't start tomorrow I wouldn't suggest that he get any new furniture. The second preseason game is the one where they need to finalize their decisions on the front of the depth chart. Next week is the dress rehearsal for the starters and any remaining roster decisions will be on the back of the depth chart. The starters won't play much in the last game. That's when they will decide who is going to be on the practice squad.

From Smith's comments Vasher certainly hasn't nailed down his spot. If he doesn't start, or at least alternate series with somebody, it tells us that they have already pretty much ruled him out and moved on. They want to get a good look at who else should move up to the spot behind Bowman.

They broke camp yesterday. One of Lovie's favorite sayings is:"it will become clear." He means the players compete and decide on the field who wins the job. If Vasher doesn't start against the Giants, the Bears may have already decided it has become clear.

By Blaxico Purress on August 21, 2009 10:38 AM

"But why cut him?" Because he sucks, why pay a guy to suck, unless your into that.

"He still has good legs and nice leaping ability."
Actually he is clearly slower and his leaping ability is nothing special.

"His tackling is solid but not spectacular, but is that not true of many DBs?"
He is probably the worst open field tackler on the bears, he has always been real bad vs the run but in the open field he can't tackle at all.

How big is Corey Graham next to Vashser? (I'll answer that: 6-0/195 compared to 5-10/190) Not a mammoth difference in bulk, and I would bet tonight's fifth of Evan Williams that Vasher is the stronger player in the weight room.

I'll bet he isn't. Not to mention his weight, Vasher played at 177 pounds in college, the moment the Bears drafted him he became 187 pounds in one day and has stayed there.

"The team needs multiple defensive backs. Having players like Manning, Graham, and perhaps Vasher, who could play across the backfield in all positions would be a plus when facing multiple WR packages. Do you really need a 230# strong safety who is a step slow, when cornerback blitzes show repeatedly that just getting to the quarterback or running back behind the line quashes the play?"

The have multiple DB's even without Vasher. Have you watched Manning play Safety? He is brutal, he doesn't have the instincts to cover. Vasher as a safety? He is already small for a corner and has 4.5 speed which is average. As I pointed out above he is not a good tackler and you want him to play Safety? Why does the 230 pound Safety have to be a step slow as you say? Urlacher has run sub 4.5 40's and he is close 260 pounds. If all you had to do is blitz the corners to get to the Qb and squash a play then every team in the nfl would do that and every play would be squashed. The Bears blitzed more then any team in the NFL last year with there corners, you know what it got them? A whole lot of nothing as they struggled to get to the QB, not to mention they use a system that is actually bad to blitz out of.

The safety is a support position, it is called on to support the pass when it has to, and the run when it has to. That is what a safety does. So a safety needs to be able to play the pass and the run, which means he needs to be able to cover and play in the box. He also needs to know how to blitz. Safety's support the CB in passing and the LB's in run stopping and pass defending. That is why there is a FS and a SS. They even support the line in blitzing.

You like Vasher and want to make excuses for him. Thats good, what has he done the last two years? He had one good year and that was 3 years ago.

By chitownbear on August 21, 2009 10:46 AM
"What I'd like to see this week is some of the corners coming up and bumping guys on the line of scrimmage and trying to give different looks that can possibly help the d-line get pressure on the QB and take away the slant that most of us hate to see."

The Bears don't jam Chi, it's not really part of thier system. Not to say they don't do it ever, but it's rare. Believe me you do not want to see Vasher try and Jam a guy.

MSBear, Lovie already named the starters at Corner, Brad has an article posted about it. The only reason he may start is because of injury. Gahram will pass him take the position, he is the better player.

Dahli name the Giants stud recivers? It's not the passing game you need to watch. Just some things you may want to look at in this game. How about seeing how Pace and Williams do against the Giants pass rush? Lets see how the Bears defense does in stopping the run and lets see how the Bears D-Line does against the Giants O-Line. Those are all really good tests for the Bears and will help guage where the Bears lines are at. Also you may want to watch Cutler and the passing game. Take in mind that Olsen is playing this game. Turner stated the Bears where going ot be doing a lot of passing in this game and they where going to be working on Cutler to Hester again and Cutler to Olsen, we should also get to see how Bennett is doing. I would not put much stock in the Giants passing game. They really are a running team and Eli is overrated. However if they start picking the Bears apart be worried.

It's time to bring someone up and we have the bodies to do it now to see who can get it done Creighton. Never said anything about Vasher playing the role, I thought he should have been dealt in the off-season and have avocated that several times on the blog. Graham has the size to be physical at the line, Turrenne, (young and from my Ville) could show signs of getting it done also. We don't need both corners up, but at least one of them has to slow a receiver down coming off the ball to give the d-line a chance. This is one area of Lovie's D philosphy that I do not like, but I'm not on the staff so there is nothing I can do about it!

I think that is why they like Bowman, he has the speed to run with a guy off the line of scrimmage and would make it difficult on the QB's to go to their second option immediately if they see some pressure. Creighton, I too think we may have gotten all we are going to get from Vasher at DB, and would not complain if they moved on, but let's see if he comes out with some fire this week to save his job... the ball I guess is in his court or should I say side of the field......

yu think?

Brad also posted several stories saying the starting corners won't be playing because of injury. That means the starters tomorrow would be the backups. As such they would be the #2 corners on the depth chart. Since there is one on each side of the defense, that is a total of 4 cornerbacks with roster spots before Vasher.

I know it's hard, but stay with me..........if Vasher doesn't start against the Giants he could be no better than the #5 corner. Since Vasher started camp as the #2 corner and is now the #5, or lower, that would be bad for him.

It's even worse because this would mean he is a veteran trending the wrong way on the depth chart. The Bears have several developing young players who are hopefully getting better with time. This means that Vasher's next position on an organizational chart may have more to do with insurance coverage than with pass coverage. This is likely to pay a little less, hence the comment about furniture.

Remember that this all came about because Brad hinted that Vasher might not start. If he does start and play well that would be good for him. He might even be the #3 corner in that case. When it comes to cornerbacks on an NFL roster #3 has more job security than #5.

That's as simple as I can do it without pictures.

Creighton:

I agree with you there are far more important aspects of the Bears Giants game than zeroing in on Vasher, you mentioned many of them.

I only addressed Vasher because it was the headline topic, I want to see him get traded if the Bears can ( which is becoming a long shot with each passing day) and I hope he shines against an average group of receivers for New York, because maybe that will help him get traded and help the Bears get a NFL proven wideout which I firmly believe will make the difference this year if it could be pulled off.

Vasher, Harris, Hunter and a 2nd round pick for Marshall or Boldin,would be sweet.

I'd still like Vasher on the team, although I too do not consider him to be a starter at this point, just for the fact that we have other guys who can make plays. Vasher has more value to the Bears than to anybody else, because he's been in the scheme longer, knows the guys and the environment in which the Bears play. And given the rash of injuries that has plagued the Bears at the CB position in recent years, I'd feel a lot more safer plugging Vasher in there than somebody off the practice squad should two or even three of our CBs go down. He can return punts too should Hester get hurt.

If there's somebody out on the street right now who can come in and immediately become our #3 CB, that's a different story, but I don't think that's the case. Nor are you going to get a #3 CB for Vasher in a trade, and if you value his veteran presence in the current group, which I think the Bears should, then there's no use trading him now for a future low round draft choice.

Go Vash! Go Bears!

what are you all talking about it was a preseason game and the first one at that. everyone is acting like they have played two games already. the whole team did not preform as well as they should have but dam dont go over board. plus they are not game planning things they are realy just running plays relax. to get all worried now is just dumb. just like taking anything crapton has to say and thinking he is right. crapton is the biggest idiot out there and should stop thinking anyone wants to hear him...
AND PLEASE STOP WITH THE TRADE TALKS IT IS NOT LIKE TRADING FOOTBALL CARDS THERE IS MORE TO IT THEN JUST SAYING LETS TRADE HARRIS AND VASHER FOR MARSHALL OR BOLDIN!!!! YOU JUST SHOW YOU DONT KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT HOW THE GAME WORKS.

Mat: Go back on the blogs and look. Some of us including myself were clamoring to trade Orton and picks for Cutler when that became a hot topic and Cutler wanted out of Denver.

Boldin wants out of Arizona and Marshall wants out of Denver, the Bears need a proven #1 receiver, to bring up trade issues does not in any way indicate that we (the group on this blog don't know anything about football).

When players still have some trade value like Vasher and Harris and they are long in the tooth with minimal years left it is better to get something for them rather than nothing.

There are teams (in the past and present) like the Niners in the 80's that traded players like Joe Montana (one of the best QB's ever) because they needed to obtain some value rather than no value and they had one of the best dynasties in football in the 80's. There are plenty of examples where a good trade has benefitted teams with players a little past their prime.

Mat, maybe, just maybe you should look in the mirror. I do respect that you have an opinion but just maybe you do not know all there is to know about football, your comment certainly exhibits that fact.

P.S. I also know that there is far more to a trade than just mentioning it on a blog, but lets face the fact the Bears could use a number #1 receiver and have players on the fringe of getting cut with talent that could be somewhat valuable in a trade.

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on August 21, 2009 9:15 AM.

Dungy supports Marvin Harrison to the Bears was the previous entry in this blog.

Plenty more final thoughts when it comes to Bourbonnais is the next entry in this blog.

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