Tillman to Miss 7-10 Weeks

Lake Forest - The Bears secondary was considered a team strength heading into the season, but the third major injury and the second in days will hamper the effectiveness of the unit. The defense will be without Charles Tillman for the next 7-10 weeks because of a hairline fracture of the tibial plateau.

Tillman suffered the injury when he and Brian Urlacher collided. He sat out one play and then returned to finish the game.

However when swelling in his right knee increased on Monday, the team began the severity of the injury. Further tests revealed Tillman has a hairline fracture in the soft tissue on the outer part of the knee. While the injury will not require surgery, he will not be back until mid November at the earliest.

The news comes following the loss of Mike Brown for the year because of a ruptured right Achilles tendon. He's scheduled to have surgery Thursday and should be ready for mini-camp next April.

Jerry Azumah did participate in some team drills Wednesday, but according to Lovie Smith the soonest he'll be back on the field will be after the Oct. 10th bye.

In the meantime the Bears will need Todd McMillon and Nathan Vasher to play an increased role. Neither has officially been named the starter in place of Tillman, as the duo will split time.

Easing McMillon and Vasher into things will be difficult, as the Bears travel to Minnesota Sunday to play the Vikings, who arguably have the best receiver in the game in Randy Moss.

"That's an athlete right there," McMillon said of Moss.

The Bears might consider using R.W. McQuarters to shadow Moss throughout the game.

"We will consider everything Sunday," Smith said. "That's always an option to do that."

"You can't double cover him always, you have to be able to just man up from time to time and try not to let him get big plays as much as anything. We can live with him catching a couple short passes underneath. We would like for guys to catch the ball underneath and we like to sprint and get 11 guys taking a shot at him. That would be an ideal world for us. We of course assume they're going to try to throw it deep and throw it deep often."

When McQuarters missed the preseason finale with a hamstring injury, McMillon saw quite a bit of playing time and found out he was the target of the opposing offense.

"Yeah being a corner that's the name of the game. That's pressure being out there on that island by yourself," McMillon said. "If I was bigger I would have played linebacker, but I'm not so I'm a corner so I've got to deal with it."

There's no set formula with the Bears secondary. The coaching staff is going to try different combinations until something works.

That could mean Todd Johnson at free safety and Mike Green staying at strong safety. Another possibility is to slide Green to FS and move Bobby Gray into the starting lineup.

"Really you have to look at both combinations," Smith said. "This week we're going to look at both of them and kind of decide a little bit later on in the week exactly which way we'll go as far as who will start. All three guys will play, though."

The Bears have two sacks through two games. Minnesota could be the perfect opponent to get the pass rush on track.

Not only do the Bears need to attack Daunte Culpepper because he'll pick apart the secondary with time in the pocket, but RT Mike Rosenthal is out with a foot injury.

Meaning, Adewale Ogunleye will have the chance to take advantage of backup Adam Haaver.

"They know that we got to come after them, but I know he's not the starter so I'm going to try to work him over," Ogunleye said.


Bear Report Top Stories