For anyone wondering why a Pro Bowl cornerback like Charles Tillman was playing on the punt-return team Sunday when he suffered a shin injury, the answer is simple: He's great at it.
"He's one of the best," special teams coordinator Dave Toub said. "He's a shutdown corner. There are a lot of times he's out there singled up on a gunner (the player split wide on the punt-coverage team). "He can block that guy by himself, which a lot of the guys in the league can't do."
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Seven Bears starters play on at least one phase of special teams, an element of the game that coach Lovie Smith has always emphasized.
"It's Lovie's philosophy that every starter can play one phase if they are the best guy; if it makes you better on special teams," Toub said. "He allows them (to do it). We ask them to, and it's not like Charles doesn't want to be out there. That's important to him."
Tillman is expected to play tonight against the Packers, but he is listed as "questionable," after being limited at Wednesday's walk-through.
Actions speak loudly:
While a lot of highly drafted wide receivers struggle to contribute as NFL rookies, second-round pick Alshon Jeffery already has gained the confidence of Jay Cutler.
"He's a guy that I think more and more, when we start getting one-on-one looks,
he's a guy that I'll just throw it his way," Cutler said of the 6-foot-3 Jeffery. "He's going to be like a (Brandon Marshall). You just put it in his area, and he's going to make a play for you. He's going to protect you.
"It comes over time, trusting him and believing in him and doing it in games. That's what he's been doing. He doesn't say much but he gets the job done."
So happy together:
After one victory, offensive players are being portrayed as one big, happy family. That might be a bit premature, but offensive coordinator Mike Tice believes it's a good sign, even though he hasn't experienced the camaraderie first-hand.
"I haven't been in the locker room," Tice said, "so I can't tell what's going on in there. But it sounds like and it feels like the guys are believing in what we're doing. And it sounds like and it feels like they like each other, and they like playing with each and competing together, and so they respect each other, and that's all part of being a winning football team. If you can get that chemistry, that's a big, big thing."
Linebacker Blake Castonzo was the first unrestricted free agent the Bears signed in the off-season, and he was targeted because of his special teams ability, which he displayed in the season opener, making a team-best 2 tackles in kick coverage.
"Castonzo was our point-production leader for last week," special teams coordinator Dave Toub said. "That was what we expected to get from him; that and the leadership."
Linebacker Brian Urlacher (knee) is "probable," after full participation in Wednesday's walk-through.
Tight end Kyle Adams was limited and is questionable. Offensive tackle J'Marcus Webb (thumb) was removed from the injury report.
For the Packers, wide receiver Greg Jennings (groin) did not practice and is "doubtful," along with running back James Starks (toe) and cornerback Davon House (shoulder), who were limited. Linebacker Jamari Lattimore (ankle) and defensive end C.J. Wilson (groin) are "questionable." Linebacker Terrell Manning is out with a concussion.