Cornerback named NFC Defensive Player of the Month for September
By Brad Biggs, Chicago Tribune reporter
8:21 p.m. CDT, October 4, 2012
Bears cornerback Tim Jennings stopped at his locker Thursday to talk about being named NFC Defensive Player of the Month for September, and he has his sights on winning again.
A Bear has won the award two of the last three times it has been handed out as end Julius Peppers won in November 2011. Jennings was a cinch after finishing the month with four interceptions — already a career-high — and six pass breakups, two of which turned into interceptions for teammates.
Jennings had two picks and eight pass breakups all last season. He has elevated his game after returning on a two-year contract.
"I take that as an honor," he said of the award. "But I've got to keep working and try to get another one next month.
"I always felt like I was a good player. I'm just making more plays this year. That's the key and that's one of the focuses I had coming into this year. I never doubted my athletic ability. I just wanted to work on making plays and making the best of opportunities."
Pick-6: The NFL did not change the scoring ruling on Lance Briggs' 74-yard interception return for a touchdown at Dallas, so Henry Melton was not credited with a sack. It was the 14th interception of Briggs' career and his first returned for a score since 2005.
Briggs said the Bears are not in a position to overlook any opponent, even the Jaguars, who enter with the league's 32nd-ranked offense and a second-year quarterback, Blaine Gabbert, who can be skittish in the pocket.
"It's discipline, not overlooking anyone," Briggs said. "The Jaguars have played some good football. They have some good players. For us, it's another game that we have to get sharper. We had a game against the Cowboys where we were productive in all phases. We need to be productive again, but we need to take it up a notch."
Cover-2 boredom: Middle linebacker Brian Urlacher, who is third on the team with 25 tackles, has said before he isn't a fan of the team's base Cover-2 defense because it often takes him away from the action with his assignment to run the deep middle.
"I'm being selfish," Urlacher said. "Unless they attack the middle of the field, I'm not really involved in the play. They throw checkdowns, I don't get to blitz or anything like that. I just kind of run through the middle and hope something happens.
"I'm really good at congratulating people, though, in Cover-2. I'm the No. 1 high-fiver when someone makes a play. I'm leading the team in that."
Health beat: Peppers was held out of practice, and coach Lovie Smith said his ankle "is still bothering him a little bit." Urlacher (left knee) and fullback Evan Rodriguez (left knee) also were held out. Rodriguez is unlikely to play against the Jaguars.
Running back Matt Forte (knee) and wide receiver Earl Bennett (hand) were limited. Jaguars wide receiver Laurent Robinson (concussion) and linebacker Daryl Smith (groin) were held out.
Extra points: The Jaguars will remove the tarp from an upper-deck section at EverBank Field that's typically closed and are selling those tickets for $35. … Robbie Gould is tied for fourth in the NFL with 16 touchbacks and has had only eight kickoffs returned. He is second with a net kickoff average of 45.83 yards, .23 yards behind the Seahawks' Steven Hauschka.