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.