Chicago Sun-Times

Tinoisamoa returns to practice; Knox captures award

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Linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa returned to practice today at Halas Hall for the first since since suffering a sprained right knee in the season opener at Green Bay. He is expected to return to action when the team plays again Oct. 18 at Atlanta and likely return to his spot as the starter on the strong side. Wide receiver Johnny Knox was also back on the field three days after a shin injury knocked him out of the victory over Detroit.

A handful of players were given the day off, though, in the first of two practices during the bye week. Pretty much anyone that has had a minor ailment of late was rested, including defensive end Alex Brown, linebacker Lance Briggs, wide receiver Devin Hester, left guard Frank Omiyale and defensive tackle Tommie Harris.

"We need to heal up a little bit bumps and bruises and those type things,'' coach Lovie Smith said. "Also good to get some work in offense vs. defense, getting back to some of the training camp-type practices. Injury-list wise, no need in going on any of that, they guys are all getting better, we're optimistic we'll have most of the group ready to go Monday when we come back and start our preparation for Atlanta.''

The Bears will have a brief practice Thursday before a three-day weekend, and then the practice Monday will be an extra one in preparation for the trip to Atlanta. Typically, teams do not practice on Mondays during the season. The only players expected to miss the game right now are defensive lineman Israel Idonije, who underwent arthroscopic knee surgery on Monday, and running back Adrian Peterson, who has a sprained right knee.

*** Rookie Johnny Knox was named the NFC special teams player of the week following his 102-yard touchdown return against the Lions. He leads the league with an average return of 35.8 yards. Danieal Manning was the league's leading kick returner last season.

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15 Comments

Is it definite that defensive lineman Israel Idonije will miss the Atlanta game?

Average of 35.8 yards!? Johnny Knox, you are ridiculous!

Its nice to see that rookie receiver Johnny Knox was named NFC special teams player of the week. The kids a playmaker. In time he should develop into a playmaker at receiver. You gotta like the speed both Knox and Hester bring to Chicago's offense.

Hopefully linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa can stay on the field a little longer this time around. The guy can hit, and he's around the ball a lot, his only problem is durability. That was the main reason I wasn't big on the Bears signing him. Angelo only gave Tinoisamoa a one year deal, probably to see if he was still gonna have durability problems, Tinoisamoa ended the 06 & 07 seasons on IR. I like his play when he's on the field, but if he continues to be in and out, I wouldn't resign him this off-season. Nick Roach also got a one year lets see what you got type deal, the way he's been coming on as of late, Roach might be the player to extend. The light has really been coming on for Roach this season, and he's young. Chicago will just have to sit back and let things play themselves out I guess. Either way, Chicago has a heck of a linebacker core, it would be cool to have ol #54 back, but the current core is doing a pretty good job in his absence GO BEARS!!

Tinoisamoa is the best coverage linebacker in the game today. Anyone who closely watched him in preseason noticed that he can blanket tight-ends and running backs in the passing game and take that short game option away at times. I would have Pisa covering Gonzalez the entire game up in Atlanta to take one of Matt Ryan's most vital threats away. If Pisa can prove his durability the rest of this season, I would definitly resign him to a long term deal. With Briggs and Urlacher beside him, they could form one heck of a linebacking core, when there healthy that is!

I got to admit Angelo does love him some kick returners. Even in TB.

Bill did you just say Tinoisamoa is the best coverage LB in the game today?

Dude he is not even in the top 10. He is decent, yes but the best, please.

Top 5 right here from PFW list of best cover LB's in the game.

1. Jon Beason, Panthers - Carolina’s middle linebacker defended 11 passes and picked off three passes in 2008 and kicked off the ’09 campaign with an interception vs. Philadelphia. He has excellent instincts and very good closing speed. Simply put, he’s one of the NFL’s finer all-around linebackers.


2. Keith Bulluck, Titans - He long has been top-notch in pass coverage. Bulluck, who plays on the weak side in Tennessee’s 4-3 scheme, has 16 interceptions to his credit, three coming in a memorable performance vs. the Saints and QB Drew Brees in 2007. “Can still lock up any tight end in the league,” one panelist said. “Great range in the middle.” He plays in the middle in the Titans’ nickel package.


3. Patrick Willis 49ers - The “Mike” linebacker in a “30” front, Willis has thrived from Day One with the Niners. Has very good range and an improving feel for coverage. Certain to be a fixture on this list for many years to come. Began the 2009 season with a 13-tackle, one-interception performance in a win at Arizona.


4. Brian Urlacher Bears - Urlacher, who picked off 10 passes from 2006-08, got mixed reviews from our panel. Some were high on him, but others didn’t mention him, and some have suggested he doesn’t run as well as he did earlier in career. Whether he should be characterized as an elite coverage linebacker or not, the season-ending wrist injury the 31-year-old middle linebacker suffered in Week One is a tremendous blow to the Chicago defense.


5. D’Qwell Jackson Browns - Quietly has become one of the game’s more productive 3-4 inside linebackers. Intercepted three passes in 2008. Has an outstanding feel for the game. Continues to get better and better.

HONORABLE MENTION


Ray Lewis(notes) / Ravens - Tied Urlacher for the NFL lead in passes defensed (12) among linebackers in 2008. Possesses instincts and has an excellent understanding of how to read coverages. “If you’re going to talk about a coverage linebacker, you’ve got to talk about a linebacker who plays all three downs,” said one panelist, referring to the fact Lewis has rarely come off the field throughout his career.


Lawrence Timmons(notes) / Steelers - Just 23, Timmons isn’t lacking for potential. He runs very well, and he has good instincts in coverage. Many are eager to see what the the 6-1, 234-pound inside linebacker can do with more playing time.


London Fletcher(notes) / Redskins - Fast fact: He has three seasons of three interceptions or more to his credit. More than a few cornerbacks would envy that stat line on the Washington middle linebacker’s impressive résumé.


Lofa Tatupu(notes) / Seahawks - Has thrived in the middle for Seattle because he understands the game so well. Intercepted at least one pass in each of his first four NFL seasons.


Chad Greenway(notes) / Vikings - Can get lost in the shuffle on a loaded defense, but the Vikings’ strong-side linebacker has big-play capability and has impressed with his work in coverage.

Others receiving votes - Packers MLB Nick Barnett(notes), Bears WLB Lance Briggs(notes), Packers MLB Brandon Chillar(notes), Steelers LILB James Farrior(notes), Steelers ROLB James Harrison(notes), Dolphins OLB Joey Porter(notes), Buccaneers MLB Barrett Ruud(notes), Texans MLB DeMeco Ryans(notes).

Pisa didn't even get mentioned. In six seasons he has 7ints and 20 passes defended. Some these guys have put up better numbers in less than half that amount of time. Pisa does not have the speed of most of these guys. In the same amount of time Briggs has 10 INT's and 43 passes defeded. Who's the best coverage LB in the game? Yep thats right Pisa isn't even the second best on the team, he's number 3. But I am glad you liked him in preseason.

Sometimes the over excited fan gets me to laugh. You and Kevin can share stories about how Orton is the best QB in football, Forte is the best RB, Chris Williams is the best LT(even though he has never started at the position in the NFL), Tommie is the best DT and Mike Hass is the real deal. God I could go on with this list. So many names, so, so many names. Good for Pisa if you like him that much, he's a decent player. I like him to, just not as much as you. Would you really take him over Willis, Beason or Bulluck? By the way Uralcher in his 9 season as a starter, 17 int's and 62 Passes Defended.



Good catch Creighton on the Pisa comment from Bill. Bill I think Pisa is coming back because he sees the handwritting on the wall. Roach has stepped his game up and looks to be a keeper, we had solid play from Hunter in the middle, and Williams was solid last week albeit was Detroit. These young guys have been in the system (Angelo pick ups) and have played their heart out on special teams just to get on the field. we know how well our special teams units has been since Lovie's been here, so Pisa better be good and he better make plays or he will be on the bench. We need to develop youth on this team to stay competitive long-term now that we have Cutler at QB. I did not see much from Pisa in Pre-season to be ready to anoit him as a great LB, this story will play itself out on the field. Nothing better than competition to bring out the best in a player or to get his azz off IR.

Brad: How about a run down of the available backs out there as Free agents, I'm not sold on the explaination for AP's injury, and Forte is one good hit (God forbide) from the sidelines himself. we are razor thin right now in the backfield. I want to know who is on the short-list for emergency if we need it........Not looking forward to a bye week now that we are on a roll, but coming back with a revenge game at ATL should keep the team pumped up!............Go BEARS...Playoffs 09'

Creighton said sarcastically: "Forte is the best RB"

Creighton, what, Forte has a couple bad games this year and your gonna start bashing him now? When all last season you were singing his praise with the rest of the fan base? Creighton, what did I tell you about the fair weather fan thing? C'mon dude, oh well, to each his own I guess GO BEARS!!

I vote for Toub for President.

If the Bears allow Toub to leave to another team at the end of this year they are absolutley crazy.

Toub deserves a promotion and a hefty raise, he is the best in the league at what he does and may some day be a heck of a great head coach.

I do not exactly know what it will take to keep Toub but I hope Angelo does not let him leave town. If Harbaugh can go from special teams to defensive coordinator why can't Toub. He is brilliant and is meticulous in his game planning and teaching, has intensity etc.

Toub is the man!!!!!!

Creighton...how DARE you challenge ME. You are but a lowly worm taking on a thundering locomotive. Do you have passion for this team Creighton? Because it takes passion to be a true fan of MY Chicago Bears. You can throw stats and facts at me all day long but in the end, PASSION wins out. Therefore, when my divine tongue declares Pisa to be the best coverage linebacker in the game, HE IS!! AM I NOT MAKING MYSELF CLEAR, INSECT? I AM THE BEARS #1 FAN AND I AM BEST FRIENDS WITH THE BEARS COACHING STAFF AND I KNOW EVERYTHING ABOUT MY TEAM! YOU AND BRAD AND THE REST OF THESE "FANS" ON HERE ARE SNOWFLAKES TO THE BLIZZARD THAT IS HOLLAND! PEBBLES TO THE MOUNTAIN THAT IS HOLLAND! CRUMBS TO THE LOAF OF BREAD THAT IS HOLLAND! CREIGHTON...I WILL BLACKEN THE SKY, TURN THE RIVERS TO BLOOD, FORCE THE SEAS TO RISE AND UNLEASH A FURY ON THIS PLANET UNLIKE IT HAS EVER SEEN!!!

THE #1 Bears Fan, Bill

You don't know what your talking about Creighton. The Broncs are 4-0 and that's all because of Orton winning games with his arm. As for Hass the only reason he is not playing on Sunday is he's to good for the NFL. They need to make a football league worthy of Hass sense the NFL is not a challenge for him.

I tend to agree that calling Pisa Tinoisamoa the best cover LB in the league is swinging a pretty wide loop. A good player that will help the Bears if he can stay on the field is "all" he is. That list has issues though. In my opinion comparing 4-3 backers like Tinoisamoa to 3-4 guys is apples and oranges. The fact that some players can play in either system doesn't mean it's the same.

I've heard Singletary say that a linebacker in coverage has to change his mindset to that of a safety. If that is the case, (who else would know better?) it makes sense that Urlacher would be on the list somewhere.

It would be fun to see an analysis of the quality of the Bears linebacker corps as a whole this year versus what the Bears "paid" for them in initial investment. I think they have assembled what is collectively one of the best sets of linebackers in the league at bargain prices in terms of original draft position, players traded for, or free agency investments. You may find a few better sets of linebackers on the field, but I really doubt you will find a better bang for your "initial" buck. (Yes Briggs has a contract, but he was initially a 3rd rounder. And yes, Urlacher was a lottery pick, but he is on IR this year)

Makes you wonder if they don't have somebody in the organization who is good at recognizing linebacker talent and knows how to develop it. ;)

I wasn't paying much attention to Tinoisamoa's coverage skills that much, but I know he is a lot better than Williams and Hillenmeyer at SAM. I remember the preseason game against the Giants, where Brandon Jacobs was running through the likes of Urlacher (twice!), but Tinoisamoa was bringing him down solo. He's got great body control, has great technique in stopping guys (probably because he's not big himself), and has great speed and instincts. I thought Briggs is playing better than last year, possibly because the D-line is doing a better job and keeping the opposing linemen off of Briggs, but I definitely want to see Briggs and Tinoisamoa in there flying around the field. With Roach really stepping it up lately (I'm impressed, and stand corrected for doubting him), the LBs can be the strength of this D again (and imagine what it could've been like with Urlacher in there).

Personally I like Pisa alot, Briggs/Roach/Pisa is the real deal. Url is out, HH is his only real competition and although I like the way HH handled himself I would give Pisa the nod. Best coverage maybe not but he shouldnt lose the start cause he was injured once (here). Slightly. I liked Roach's range in the middle. That leaves Pisa to start, I really like the speed of that group.

That solo hit on Jacobs was a Monster Midway hit. We do have a good LB corps. Now then to get them all on the same page in the first Q? As long as we keep finishing hard then ok, but sooner or later its gonna catch us.

Creighton, yes, Bill misspoke. But nobody cares about your research. You know what makes me laugh? People who act like they're analysts when in actuality they probably play World Warcraft all day long.

Either the poster above is an impostor, or freakishly someone else has the same name as me.

(I only found this because I googled my own name)

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on October 7, 2009 2:36 PM.

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