The Magical, Mysterious Bears Secondary

NFL combine leads to Bears questions about corner, safety spots

If an impartial observer had to classify one Bears unit as its worst in 2008, it would have to be the secondary, right? The front seven on defense weren't great, sure, but at the very least they stopped the run on occasion. The secondary -- Mike Brown, Nate Vasher, Charles Tillman, and a coterie of young safeties -- showed little inclination toward actually, you know, stopping people from throwing the ball all over the field. That Falcons last-second loss is a perfect example, and in the end, was one key reason the Bears didn't sneak into the playoffs.

There's no question the Bears have to improve that unit. That's fair. How they go about doing it is the next question, and if this weekend's goofiness in any indication, it won't be by moving Charles Tillman. Lovie Smith laughed at that idea on Saturday. He has a point: Why move your best corner to safety? Corner is a prime position and though you wouldn't know it by watching the Bears, safeties are typically a little easier to find and develop. (They're also cheaper.) Despite the usual media rumbles, Tillman seems to be staying put.

That's not necessarily the case for Nate Vasher, who got called out by Jerry Angelo this weekend, and has to be feeling rather a lot like Kyle Orton right now:

"I don't know where he is now," Angelo said at the NFL scouting combine. "He's got to re-establish himself. He's competing to start. He's got to take his game to another level. I feel he can. I didn't see anything, physically speaking, that would tell me that he can't. When we gave him his contract extension ... he needs to be a better player."

Vasher says he hasn't heard anything from the Bears about a potential move, but Vaughn McClure surmises the Bears might go to their young prospects or Corey Booker to provide an opposite-side corner for Tillman. That in itself is a testament to how far Vasher's stock has fallen. Just two years ago the Bears signed he and Tillman to be their corners of the future. A few injuries and some bad play later, and neither player remotely resembles a sure thing.

Eamonn Brennan is a writer, editor and blogger hunkered down in Lincoln Park. You can also read him at Yahoo! Sports, FanHouse, MOUTHPIECE Sports Blog, and Inside The Hall, or at his personal site, eamonnbrennan.com.

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