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updated: 9/24/2012 11:44 PM

Jennings took advice; now he's taking away football

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Cornerback Tim Jennings has at least 1 interception in all four games since being benched in Week 16 last season.

Jennings was replaced by Zack Bowman, and he got a talk from coach Lovie Smith after repeatedly failing to make interceptions when he had opportunities.

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"(Smith) kind of pointed out a couple of opportunities that I missed, and I understood where he was coming from," Jennings said. "I thought I was playing good football, but I knew I was missing a whole lot of opportunities.

"He just wanted me to raise my play, and I accepted the challenge. That's what good coaching does. There's nothing threatening about it. They just want to make their player the best player he can possibly be.

"I knew if I got another shot at this in Chicago, which is a place that I really wanted to be, I wanted to make the best of it. I made a conscious effort just to go back to what I used to do.

"I really did think I had good hands. My confidence got kind of low. So I wanted to get back to the basics."

That meant forgetting about some minor finger injuries and spending hours catching hundreds of balls shot out of the Jugs machine during off-season workouts and in training camp.

"I know how to catch," Jennings said. "It's not like a science. I just had to go back to the basics and just work on it and get that confidence back."

Defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli began referring to Jennings as "Hawk" back in training camp when his rediscovered ball skills began to emerge.

"I had a pretty good camp making plays on the ball," Jennings said. "I didn't really want to buy into it just yet because it was still early.

"But I heard Brian Urlacher put it out there (after Sunday's game), so now you guys know about it. I kind of like it."

Group effort:

The sack attack by committee has been working will so far, with eight different players and seven different linemen getting to the quarterback already this season.

In addition, defensive ends Julius Peppers, Israel Idonije and rookie Shea McClellin, along with tackle Henry Melton, all have had individual games with multiple sacks.

"You would like to think all of them can have their day, and that's what we have had so far," coach Lovie Smith said. "We've seen Henry Melton with a good day (2 sacks in the opener), Shea McClellin (1 at Green Bay), Julius Peppers (2 vs. the Packers) throughout, Israel Idonije getting 2 (Sunday).

"They all can move into that one dominant position on any given Sunday -- or, hopefully Monday."

Helping hand:

Bears head equipment manager Tony Medlin kicked off the team's 24th annual coat drive Monday by announcing a goal of collecting 30,000 winter coats for disadvantaged children in the Chicagoland area.

New and gently used coats can be donated at any area Jewel-Osco stores through Dec. 16. The Bears, in concert with The Salvation Army and William Meyers Movers, collected 24,000 coats last year.

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