The Chicago Bears excel at forcing turnovers.
More than that, they excel at scoring off of those turnovers.
“Chicago’s doing a great job defensively forcing turnovers, particularly not only taking away the football, I think they might be ranked fifth, it’s what they do with the football after they take it away,” Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy said after Friday’s practice. “It’s something we’ve very conscious of and it’s definitely been highlighted this week.”
The Bears have returned three interceptions for touchdowns this season and also returned a fumble for a touchdown. Chicago has turned its 18 takeaways into 69 points. Only San Francisco, with 82 points, has scored more points off of turnovers.
While the focus is on Charles Tillman – since entering the NFL in 2003, he leads all defenders with 41 forced fumbles and is tied for fifth with 36 interceptions – fellow corner Tim Jennings has two pick-sixes this season and leads the NFL with interceptions since the start of 2012.
“They’re good players,” offensive coordinator Tom Clements said. “They’re athletic, they catch the ball when they get their hands on it. They’re smart. They can read routes. They’re two very good corners.”
Tillman has forced 11 fumbles in 19 career games against Green Bay.
"He’s a Pro Bowl corner, experienced veteran, savvy veteran, ballhawk," receivers coach Edgar Bennett said. "He’s an attention-to-detail type player. He gives tremendous effort. And you’ve got to always have some awareness about him certainly from a ball-security standpoint."
Packers injury report
Out: TE Jermichael Finley (neck), OLB Clay Matthews (thumb). Did not participate: OLB Nick Perry (foot). Limited: WR James Jones (knee), TE Ryan Taylor (knee). Full: ILB Brad Jones (hamstring).
The Packers’ report was unchanged from Thursday. Jones ran routes during the portion of practice open to reporters, with McCarthy saying he’d know more after watching the practice video.
Bears injury report
Did not participate: LB Lance Briggs (shoulder), QB Jay Cutler (groin). Limited: CB Charles Tillman (knee). Full: WR Joe Anderson (abdomen), LB Blake Costanzo (knee), S Major Wright (knee).
Two starters in the secondary were upgraded. Tillman went from did not participate to limited and Wright went from limited to full.
-- The Packers’ game at the New York Giants on Sunday, Nov. 17, was moved from a 7:30 p.m. kickoff to 3:25 p.m. as part of the league’s flexible scheduling. With the Giants a bumbling 2-6, NBC decided to move the Kansas City at Denver game into the marquee “Sunday Night Football” slot.
-- The team has until Tuesday to promote offensive lineman Derek Sherrod to the active roster from the physically unable to perform list, with Sherrod winding down on his third week of practice. “I think he’s doing a fine job,” offensive line coach James Campen said. “He’s a guy that just got another day in pads today, which was very big for him to go through that. Took a ton of reps. He’s progressing nicely. I’m excited to see what’s going to happen there.”
-- Not only is Cutler out, but the Bears will go without Lance Briggs. Briggs is second in the league with nine tackles for losses on running plays. STATS calls that a “stuff” and Briggs has 80 of them since 2003. Baltimore’s Terrell Suggs is a distant second with 65 stuffs.
-- No decision has been made on who will return kickoffs, with Micah Hyde replacing indecisive Johnathan Franklin in the Minnesota game. “It's a growing process and right prior to the half last week, I thought that he had indecision -- you know obviously what he did there -- and he can't do that because the coverage team is closing in on him,” special teams coordinator Shawn Slocum said. “You have to be precise in what you do, and either you're going or you're not.”
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.