Last year was great, but cornerback Tim Jennings moving on
BY KALYN KAHLER Staff Reporter August 7, 2013 8:30PM
Updated: September 9, 2013 2:51PM
Cornerback Tim Jennings is tired of facing the same question each day in the wake of his Pro Bowl season in 2012.
‘‘Everybody is asking me and trying to figure out, ‘How are you going to top that year?’ ’’ Jennings said.
To free himself from those questions, Jennings will have to prove 2012 was no fluke.
‘‘My main thing is not to try to go out there and do the exact same thing and set a new mark,’’ he said. ‘‘I really just want to continue to do what I did last offseason, which is work on my hands each and
every day before practice.’’
Jennings’ focus on hand posi-
tioning resulted in a league-leading nine interceptions, a huge
increase from two in 2011. His play earned him his first trip to the Pro Bowl, where he started alongside teammate Charles Tillman. It was the first time two cornerbacks from the same team were named Pro Bowl starters since 1988.
Topping last season will be a challenge, but defensive backs coach Jon Hoke said he expects nothing less from Jennings.
‘‘I expect Tim to have the same type of year he had last year,’’ Hoke said. ‘‘He’s off to a good start.’’
Along with improving his ball skills, Jennings also worked on his body positioning. He was second in the NFL with 30 passes defended last season, according to league statistics. He had only 12 in 2011.
‘‘I started to see things a little bit quicker,’’ Jennings said. ‘‘I started to dissect route combinations. . . . I just positioned my body to be in those positions where we have weaknesses in the defense.’’
If Jennings could coin a mission statement for the Bears’ defense, he’d make it ‘‘wreaking havoc.’’
As a team leader in disrupting offenses, Jennings said he will aim to put up another Pro Bowl season by ‘‘running to the ball, wreaking havoc and creating turnovers. . . . If it moves, hit it.’’
Jennings has even more motivation to play well this season. He’s in the final year of his contract and will be playing for a new deal.
‘‘It has to affect your playing style because you are playing for your livelihood,’’ Jennings said. ‘‘You have to leave it all out there on the field because it may be your last.’’