Charles Tillman and Nathan Vasher form arguably the best cornerback combination in the NFC, but with Tillman nursing a sore ankle after a four-quarter slugfest with Dallas' Terrell Owens last week and Vasher dealing with a groin injury that looked pretty bad on slow-motion television replays, the Bears must prepare to face the No. 1 passing offense in the league with both of them more than likely out of the lineup Sunday in Detroit. That means nickel man Ricky Manning Jr. will now have to be on the field most every snap, and seventh-round draft pick Trumaine McBride might make his first career NFL start much sooner than Bears brass expected – or wanted. McBride turned heads in training camp with a solid performance and clearly outplayed rookie fifth-rounder Corey Graham, but he wasn't facing the likes of Pro Bowler Roy Williams in front of a hostile Motor City crowd down in Bourbonnais.
CB Trumaine McBride
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
"Actually, I felt pretty comfortable out there," McBride said Thursday in the locker room at Halas Hall. "I wasn't nervous or anything. I felt real comfortable when I was out on the field."
McBride may not have a lot of experience at the professional level so far in his young career, but he has a wealth of knowledge at his disposal and has been consulting the veteran defensive backs on the roster all week.
"I'm picking everybody's brain," he said. "I want to learn from all the guys: Peanut, Vash, Mike Brown, everyone. So I'm picking everyone's brain right now."
Hester admits trying to do too much against Dallas
Second-year pro Devin Hester is already bar-none the best return man in football and perhaps the most dangerous player in the entire NFL, but every now and then he's also a little bit dangerous to his own team. Hester has already scored once on a punt return this season in Week 2 against Kansas City and even had a kickoff return TD called back because of a holding penalty in that same game, and Bears fans have been clamoring for the converted cornerback to start making an impact at receiver for a struggling offense. However, Hester was a total disaster in the return game in prime time against Dallas, fumbling three times and repeatedly bringing back kickoffs that were six to seven yards deep in the end zone instead of just being happy with a touchback.
WR Devin Hester
Nam Y. Huh/AP Images
"I would say so," Hester said after practice Thursday at Halas Hall. "I'm going to be honest. I came out and didn't play a good game. It's a lot of pressure playing the Cowboys, and then there wasn't really nothing clicking on offense or defense or special teams. I kind of went out and tried to overdo it a little too much instead of just letting the game come to me."
Hester is yet to have a touch on offense in three games despite looking so good in training camp running routes and catching passes, but he feels the switch from Rex Grossman to Brian Griese at quarterback could be the spark that this team needs so desperately.
"I'm looking forward to it," he said. "There's been a lot of big changes going on as far as the Griese thing, and I'm just looking forward to the offense getting a little bit more better. A more exciting game. [I'm] looking for better things."
For the Bears, LB Lance Briggs (groin), OG Ruben Brown (ankle), DT Tommie Harris (knee), OT Fred Miller (knee), Tillman (ankle), and Vasher (groin) were all held out of practice again Thursday. S Adam Archuleta (hand) and RB Adrian Peterson (calf) were only able to participate on a limited basis just like Wednesday. DE Adewale Ogunleye (hip) and DT Darwin Walker (knee), on the other hand, are both feeling better and took part in all drills.
As for the Lions, LB Anthony Cannon (quad), RB T.J. Duckett (ankle), DE Kalimba Edwards (ankle), WR Calvin Johnson (back), LB Alex Lewis (hamstring), and OG Damien Woody (rib) were all held out of practice Thursday once again. OT Jeff Backus (rib), however, was able to participate on a limited basis.
John Crist is the Editor in Chief of BearReport.com and a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.