Camp Chat: CB Corey Graham

The Chicago Bears have moved Danieal Manning all over the place during his NFL career. They are starting to do the same thing with Corey Graham. Is this helping or hurting their development in the secondary? Here's what Graham told Bear Report after practice Thursday in this exclusive interview.

John Crist: Trumaine McBride got a bunch of starts in 2007, but then it was you getting the love in the offseason. Then you got a bunch of starts in '08, but now Zack Bowman is getting the love in the offseason. Why is the depth chart at cornerback so unpredictable on this team?

Corey Graham: To be honest, I don't know. That's just how it seems to be right now. Zack's stepping up, he's playing well right now and it just seems to work that way. Unfortunately, I was at a different position. I wasn't even playing corner. They had moved me over to safety, so I was trying to learn safety and stuff like that. And when somebody tends to play well and you're not there and they're not seeing you there, it doesn't look good. So that had something to do with it, and then just the fact that he's playing well. I'm back at corner now, playing some corner, some nickel, starting to get back in the swing of things, and hopefully I'll be back to what I was doing last year. But when you're doing something else and not working on techniques and stuff like that, you've got to get back in the groove of things.

JC: Danieal Manning is a guy that's been moved all over the secondary during his Bears career, and coach Lovie Smith says that's going to make him a better defensive back in the long run. Since you have flip-flopped back and forth between corner, safety and nickel lately, do you feel the same way?

CG: That's what they say. They say you play all the positions, the more valuable you are and stuff like that. But that's just how it is. You try to learn everything, and in the end hopefully it will pay off and you will know the defense more and be better at things. At some point, you want to know what you're going to play. But you go out there and play, and just whatever they want you to do, you just go and do it.

JC: I always make sure to ask this question of the players lining up at nickel: What is it about that particular position that makes it so dificult to learn and so hard to play?


Graham gets time at corner and nickel in camp.
AP Images: Charles Rex Arbogast

CG: It's tough, to be honest with you. We're a Cover-2 defense, so we play a lot of nickel. It's a lot of the same techniques, and there's a lot going on in there. So you've really got to know a lot of what's going on on defense. You've got to know the defense well as a whole, so it's a tough position to play. But if you can grasp it and catch on to it, I think you can make a lot of plays at the nickel position.

JC: Tell me what it's like playing for your new defensive backs coach, Jon Hoke, thus far. He seems to jump all over you and your teammates when you make a mistake.

CG: Yeah, he's a tough guy to play for. He wants everything to be perfect and things like that, but he's a great coach. He's a specialist. He works a lot on our techniques and things like that, and I think as a whole our defensive backs are going to be a lot better this year.

JC: I imagine it's different for the secondary in training camp this season just because Jay Cutler is throwing the football now. What kind of an effect has he had on your coverage out there?

CG: Yeah, it's definitely a big difference. He's got a heck of an arm. He can make every throw out there possible. He's definitely getting the defensive backs better. He's making throws that a lot of quarterbacks won't even attempt to throw, so it helps us all. It helps our receivers, but it helps our defense as a whole also.


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John Crist is the Publisher of Bear Report and a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.


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