Chicago Sun-Times

Could Charles Tillman be improving with age?

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Veteran cornerback Charles Tillman was matched up against Brandon Marshall twice during a goalline passing drill Thursday. Both times, he intercepted quarterback Jay Cutler.

Tillman made the Pro Bowl for the first time last season.

"I just know that I've seen him go through a lot of different phases with his career," coach Lovie Smith said earlier in the week when asked if Tillman was improving heading into his 10th season. "But it seems like he's picking up steam here lately. Some of the same things he did early on --- he's always been able to strip the football as well as anybody I've seen in the league ... Then just his other skills as a defensive back. There aren't a lot of corners like him with his type of size and ability. So we're expecting him to have another career year and I think he'll say the same."

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The sad thing is, Charles Tillman should have made more than one Pro-Bowl. He's had some pretty good seasons for the Bears and I think has been passed over as far as Pro-Bowl voting goes in years passed. The guy really has gotten better with age and his 28 career forced fumbles aren't to shabby either. You also gotta like how Tillman plays Megatron GO BEARS!!

Go Peanut its your turn to go to the super bowl and (win) this time...Parker and I will not miss one play this year:)
Bob Hartzell

p.s. Bears going to the super Bowl 2012

The only problem I have with Tillman is his footwork. He slips and stumbles way too often for a premier corner, so most of his big plays are either tackle/strip plays, or the QB makes a bad throw. He had some big battles with Randy Moss early in his career when Moss was in Minnesota, but for the most part, guys get open on Tillman. When he can be physical at the line, he usually wins. But we play that bad press/bail technique, which is counter-intuitive for the Cover 2. He doesn't get a chance to use his best attributes, so he is forced to do what he doesn't do well, which is chase and react. He spends too much time out of balance when he does that, which is why his cleats don't stick into the ground like the guys he is covering. He gets onto the edges of his feet, because he is not consistently over his feet. The drills they make the corners do at the Combine are designed to show how well they keep their center of gravity over their feet, which allows them to break faster and cleaner when they need to change directions. Count the number of slips he has in an average game, and you will see it is not good for a guy who needs to make his living chasing guys faster than he is, and they know where they are going.

If he can get his footwork right (hard to do in your 10th year in the league for sure), and keep himself under control while he changes direction, he can still be a very good player. Will he ever be elite? I will leave that to people looking back on his career after it is over. He is probably one of the best corners to ever wear a Bears uniform, but he is not a premier cover guy, and has never really been one. But he is an even better person than he is a football player, and will be one of the signature players from this era of Bears history.

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This page contains a single entry by Neil Hayes published on June 14, 2012 5:37 PM.

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