Bears figure to address depth at cornerback
Bears figure to address depth at cornerback
March 8, 2011 1:03 PM | 1 Comment
By Brad Biggs
Zack Bowman has seen all sides of the NFL action.
The Chicago Bears cornerback missed nearly all of his rookie season in 2008 on injured reserve. He was a starter who played 80.4 percent of the snaps in 2009. His starting role lasted for three games this past season when he became a reserve and saw his playing time dip to 21.9 percent.
How highly the Bears prioritize the position in the draft depends on a number of factors, including how happy they were with the performance of newcomer Tim Jennings, who stepped in as a modest free-agent addition to start and play 78.5 percent of the snaps at left cornerback. Some mock drafts have had the Bears selecting a cornerback in the first round, but keep in mind that in the Cover-2 scheme, a bigger priority is placed on the defensive line and two linebackers who can be playmakers.
It was interesting to watch as veteran Charles Tillman, who has undergone two back surgeries and two shoulder surgeries in his career, stayed healthy for all 16 games for the first time since he was a rookie in 2003. Tillman missed only six defensive snaps over the course of the entire season.
Here is a look at how playing time broke down at cornerback out of 1,038 total snaps:
Charles Tillman: 1,032 snaps, 99.4 percent
Tim Jennings: 815, 78.5
D.J. Moore: 512, 49.3
Zack Bowman: 227, 21.9
Corey Graham: 2, 0.2
Josh Moore: 0, 0.0
The Bears were in their nickel package nearly 50 percent of the time, based on the playing time for D.J. Moore. The hope is that Josh Moore, a fifth-round pick last year, can step forward.
Tillman, who turned 30 last month, is signed for three more seasons. Bowman is entering a contract year and that may motivate him. It's fair to expect the Bears will add to this group in the draft, but expect other positions to be addressed first.
We've already posted playing-time breakdowns on the defensive line, wide receiver, linebacker and running backs positions. Check back throughout the day as we analyze playing time at every position.
if anything we have all the depth a team can ask for at DB. The question is do we have a heir to Tillman spot? Do we roll with Jennings again as the num one DB?
"It's fair to expect the Bears will add to this group in the draft, but expect other positions to be addressed first".
I think that should put to rest the idea that we should rank a CB as the second position of need on our draft board. We've already got four guys on the roster (Bowman, Jennings, Graham, J Moore) vying for that LCB spot with the loser(s) being backups.
Bowman has shown flashes of being a real ball hawk but hasn't won the job outright even when healthy. Graham wants and deserves another shot at starting and J. Moore has shown the potential to be a good CB but has never played a regular season down. Given his lack of size Jennings didn't do all that bad against most WR's but he's no match for the best of them.
I think we'll either draft a CB or sign a rookie FA this year and toss him into the mix. We've got some bodies and one or two of them need to step up and grab their spots. CB isn't the most important position in Lovies defense as has already been established.
Jennings suprised me in 2010, and better than had heard from indy fans.. but IMO never be a #1 CB, we still need an heir to Tillman, and honestly if jennings bumped to nickle with 2 good Cb's, wouldn't upset me
Originally Posted by motownbear
With both Jennings and DJ Moore on the team we have the nickel and dime alignments covered well. Jennings played pretty well at CB but with his size he can be easily exposed by bigger WR. The guy knows how to wrap up and tackle though.
Originally Posted by dabears54
I still wonder if Tillman's heir apparent isn't aleady here. Between Bowman, Graham, and J. Moore somebody should be able to step up and tie down that remaining CB spot and be in position to replace Peanut in a couple of years. Between now and then we'll probably be able to draft a better CB with one of our higher picks but not this year.
I HOPE one of those 3 do step up,, that's the "strange" about our CB situation, we have really good depth, but just not sure if top end CB's..had hopes for bowman after 2009, now not sure, and J moore has the size, but until see it on field, still a big question mark, unfort this F/A class has no answer's for 2011 except asomunga whih we have talked circles about not worth the $$ asking.. maybe 2012? only F/A is carlos rodger's but he comes with hands of stone, or will have to come from draft.. but in draft if nota top CB, to me no use spending a late pick on it.. because already have the depth guys
Originally Posted by soulman
High Fives / Like - 2 BEAR DOWN!, 0 Dislikes
BTW an interesting article on ESPN yesterdy showing the bears passing "D" went from 26th to 3rd in passing effeciency in 2010, and kinda debunking the "myths" that bears passing "D" or Cb's didnt do their job- despite at times 'feeling" like that, they shave d off almost 20 points from 90's to 70's in qb #'s:
Defense Rating NFL rank 2010
Green Bay Packers 67.2 #1
Chicago Bears 74.4 #3
Minnesota Vikings 86.4 #21
Detroit Lions89.2 #23
NFC North Passing Ratings (2009)
Green Bay Packers 68.8 #4
Chicago Bears 92.3 #26
Minnesota Vikings 92.5 #27
Detroit Lions 107.0 #32
As the charts show, the Bears won the NFC North after making a 24-spot jump in the NFL's rankings for defensive passer rating. The Packers, who fielded the league's best pass defense and No. 3 passing offense based on quarterback rating, won Super Bowl XLV. The Vikings improved their pass defense, but the collapse of their passing offense was the single biggest factor in their 6-10 record. Finally, the Lions' progression in both categories mirrored their four-victory improvement from 2009.
Sorry, run-and-run-defense enthusiasts. Success in today's NFL requires efficient passing and pass defense. Passer rating isn't a perfect common evaluator, but I like it better than the NFL's traditional measure using total yards. And as Kerry Byrne of Football Facts points out, defensive passer rating is one of the most reliable indicators of championship-caliber teams.
Last edited by dabears54; 03-09-2011 at 08:16 AM.
Originally Posted by dabears54
Jennings did show more signs of weakness in the postseason when facing larger receivers. The season as a whole was fairly solid for him.
To me, he is an ideal nickle, the question would be whether A)Graham gets another shot at CB & not just S/T (which may make him come back ultimately) B)Josh Moore gets a shot after his redshirt season (I expect alot of TC hype towards this end) or C)DJ Moore can take over the other starting spot (overcome size, but why not Jennings is just as short).
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Good points and do agree be alot more comfortable with jennings at nickle( though dj moore was good in 2010), just saying we did have a huge improvement in the passing "D' over 2009, and for the most part seemed to go un-noticed. think will be a good camp battle between Bowman/jennings/and both moore's for the other CB spot.. and maybe even a draft pick( though that may be more with an eye on 2012)..and small Cb's like winfield(5/9' 180) on minny, jim leonard on jets/balt( 5'8'' 185), etc have overcome the size issue( and they aren't the speed small guys like a darrell green or bailey), so while always a concern, it can and is overcome in the NFL , esp if get a pass rush where the Qb can't wait until a big WR gets the position
Originally Posted by BearStuff
I think we can all attribute that improvement in pass defense more to Peppers, Idonije, and the return of Urlacher than to the CB's With the exception of Jennings the personnel was the same as 2009. I also think stabilizing the Safety positions helped too.
I thought that Lovie would give Graham his chance but a comment I read on the Official Site leads me to believe otherwise. He spoke very highly of Graham as a ST star but seemed somewhat resigned to the fact that he probably leave for a team that will give him an opportunity to start at CB. It was almost as if Lovie was saying he won't although he didn't want to come right out and say it. Typical Lovie.