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How have Bears fared with short week?

Posted Sep 12, 2012

Larry discusses how the Bears have performed in Thursday games, their backup long-snapper and why Charles Tillman plays special teams.

Wondering about a player, a past game or another issue involving the Bears? Senior writer Larry Mayer answers a variety of email questions from fans on ChicagoBears.com.

I am a little nervous about having a short week to prepare for the Packers. How have the Bears fared when they've played on Thursday following a Sunday game?

Ryan L.
Columbus, Ohio

Prior to this season, the Bears were 2-3 on Thursdays after playing a Sunday game. They lost to the Cowboys 21-7 on Thanksgiving Day in 2004 and have split four Thursday night contests, beating the Saints 27-24 in overtime in 2008 and the Dolphins 16-0 in 2010 while losing to the Redskins 24-16 in 2007 and the 49ers 10-6 in 2009.

Watching the Raiders lose to the Chargers Monday night mainly because their backup long-snapper did such an awful job made me wonder who the Bears would use if Patrick Mannelly got injured.

Tom J.
Rolling Meadows, Illinois

If Patrick Mannelly was injured during a game, the Bears would probably turn to tight end Matt Spaeth, who worked extensively on long-snapping in Tuesday's practice, according to special teams coordinator Dave Toub. Toub told reporters: "He got a whole period, surprise, surprise. It wasn't just because of the game [Monday] night, but it definitely makes you think about it. He's been working on it and he's been doing it pre-practice."

I firmly believe that the Bears need Charles Tillman on the field as much as possible on defense, especially this week against the Packers. I understand he got injured while blocking on a punt return in the season opener. Why do the Bears play such a valuable starter on special teams?

Edward S.
Baltimore, Maryland

Bears coach Lovie Smith places a huge emphasis on special teams play, and that has translated into great success year after year under coordinator Dave Toub. The special teams units have helped the Bears win many games. Part of that includes playing starters on return and coverage units. Said Toub: "It's Lovie's philosophy every starter can play one phase if they are the best guy, if it makes you better on special teams. He allows them. We ask them to and it's not like Charles doesn't want to be there. That's important to him. He is one of the best. A lot of time he is out there singled up on a gunner. He can block that guy by himself, which a lot of the guys in the league can't do."

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