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updated: 10/29/2012 9:54 PM

Tillman's takeway ability is contagious

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  • Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) fumbles into the air as he is sacked by Chicago's Julius Peppers and Henry Melton during Sunday's game at Soldier Field in Chicago. The Panthers recovered.

      Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) fumbles into the air as he is sacked by Chicago's Julius Peppers and Henry Melton during Sunday's game at Soldier Field in Chicago. The Panthers recovered.
    Rick West | Staff Photographer

  • Chicago Bears defensive end Julius Peppers (90) and defensive tackle Henry Melton (69) converger for a sack of Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) during Sunday's game at Soldier Field in Chicago.

      Chicago Bears defensive end Julius Peppers (90) and defensive tackle Henry Melton (69) converger for a sack of Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) during Sunday's game at Soldier Field in Chicago.
    Rick West | Staff Photographer

  • Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith reaches down to congratulate Tim Jennings after his second quarter interception during Sunday's game at Soldier Field in Chicago.

      Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith reaches down to congratulate Tim Jennings after his second quarter interception during Sunday's game at Soldier Field in Chicago.
    Rick West | Staff Photographer

 
 

Five Bears have at least 2 interceptions and four defenders have scored touchdowns, but there's one player whose contributions are unique to the NFL's highest-scoring defense.

"No one has a Charles Tillman," coach Lovie Smith said. "There's no one out there like him.

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"When you're on the team and you see a guy like that, who has a knack for (creating turnovers), others want to do it. And that's where we are."

Since he became a Bear in 2003, Tillman has 32 interceptions and 32 forced fumbles. Since Smith took over in 2004, the Bears have 287 takeaways, the most in the NFL.

"I just know how we coach it -- the emphasis is there," Smith said. "Players know about it. That's a given now. That's what we do; we keep practicing it each day, and we have special guys that know how to do it."

Changing the rotation:

Defensive tackle Nate Collins was active for the first time Sunday, and the 6-foot-2, 296-pound three-year veteran had 3 tackles.

"Nate Collins has been practicing well, giving a great look, and we think he's a pretty good player," coach Lovie Smith said. "He just hasn't had an opportunity to play.

"Amobi Okoye has been doing some good things, but not his best work the last couple of weeks, so it's as simple as that. Nate had a better week of practice, deserved that opportunity to perform, and he did some good things in the game."

Tough decisions:

Defensive tackles Matt Toeaina and Amobi Okoye were inactive Sunday.

Toeaina started 12 games last year and 22 the past two seasons, but he has been inactive for five games this season.

Okoye played in all 16 games last season and started once, but he was inactive for the second time this year.

Coach Lovie Smith said the past can't be factored into his decisions about what 46 players will be active on game day and what gives the team the best chance to win each week.

"We can't worry about what has happened in the past," he said. "This is what players expect. They're talking about now and who deserves to play based on production, performance, how you practice that week.

"We base it all on that. It's about what is happening right now. What has happened, you can't look at those things. It would be unfair if you did."

Making a donation:

Wide receivers Brandon Marshall and Earl Bennett each were fined $10,500 for wearing orange cleats in the Monday night game against Detroit in Week 7, but that's not a major concern for Lovie Smith.

"I think there are some big things you put a lot of thought into and worry about, and then there's others that you don't," he said. "And that's one of them that I'm not going to put too much emphasis on.

"Our play on the football field, I really will pay attention to that. But their shoes and how high their socks are up, no.

"If you've got money you want to give away, you go right ahead."

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