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Tillman: Defensive players need to 'man up'

Posted Oct 11, 2011

Members of the Bears defense no doubt spent Tuesday not only licking their wounds but scratching their heads, wondering how to right the ship after a fourth straight poor outing Monday night in Detroit.

Members of the Bears defense no doubt spent Tuesday not only licking their wounds but scratching their heads, wondering how to right the ship after a fourth straight poor outing Monday night in Detroit.


Defensive end Israel Idonije records the Bears' only sack in Monday night's 24-13 loss to the Lions.
The unit allowed an average of 14.8 points and 295.2 yards over the first five games last season. Operating the same scheme with most of the same players, those numbers have ballooned to 24.4 points and 419.6 yards after five games this year.

“We need to get back to the fundamentals of football,” cornerback Charles Tillman said after the Bears gave up touchdowns on a 73-yard pass and an 88-yard run in a 24-13 loss to the Lions. “I feel like our scheme is not difficult. We are doing the same thing we did last year. It’s the same defense, same players.

“I respect coach [Lovie] Smith and coach [Rod] Marinelli. They will be men and blame themselves, but it really falls on the players. They’re doing everything in their power and I think we as players can definitely ‘man up’ and make the plays.”

After Monday night’s loss, the Bears defense ranks 29th in total yards.

“I don’t think anyone could foresee us being ranked that [low],” Tillman said. “It’s time to do some soul searching and see what each of us is really made of. We can either tuck our tails between our legs and go run away or man up and fight and get this thing turned around.”

Roster moves: The Bears on Tuesday elevated safety Anthony Walters from the practice squad to the active roster and released undrafted rookie safety Winston Venable.

The team made other practice squad moves, signing receiver Max Komar and defensive end Jake Laptad and terminating the contracts of receiver Kris Adams and running back Armando Allen.

Walters has spent the first five weeks of the season on the Bears practice squad after signing with the team as an undrafted rookie free agent out of Delaware.

Komar appeared in eight games with the Arizona Cardinals last season, catching 12 passes for 117 yards. The 5-11, 202-pounder entered the NFL in 2010 as an undrafted free agent from Idaho, where he caught passes from Bears rookie third-string quarterback Nathan Enderle.

University of Phoenix

Not close: Bears general manager Jerry Angelo told reporters before Monday night’s game in Detroit that receiver Earl Bennett probably would be sidelined “a few more weeks” with a chest injury he sustained in a Week 2 loss in New Orleans.

“I don’t know that he’s close [to returning],” Angelo said. “He didn’t break anything; that’s the good news. It’s an injury that every player’s body handles differently, so we’re just going to have to be patient and wait and see.”

Angelo feels that the Bears offense has really missed Bennett, especially on third downs.

“I would’ve felt better if we’d have been able to keep Earl in the mix,” Angelo said. “Earl established himself with Jay [Cutler]. He does the dirty work, particularly getting those third-down plays. That was a real role for Earl and that was critical for Jay.

“A lot of the things that have hurt us are dropped passes, and a good handful of them have come on third downs. So you stop one drive that might have led to a pretty good drive. They all go hand-in-hand.”

Making progress: Angelo also discussed the slow start by Roy Williams, who has just six receptions for 81 yards in four games. The veteran receiver was slowed earlier in the season by a groin injury he sustained in the opener.

“Roy Williams has got to start stepping up,” Angelo said. “I think we’re going to see the best of him as well. I feel like he’s finally got his feet on the ground with us. Maybe it came a little slower than we’d like.”

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