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Bears CB Tim Jennings’ can’t-miss prospects


Cornerback Tim Jennings makes one his team-high 10 tackles seasopener against Falcons. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

Cornerback Tim Jennings makes one of his team-high 10 tackles in the season opener against the Falcons. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

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Updated: November 18, 2011 12:22AM



Even in the Bears’ defensive scheme, when a cornerback has 10 tackles, it’s generally not a good thing.

‘‘It’s terrible,’’ said Tim Jennings, who tied linebacker Brian Urlacher with a team-high 10 tackles against the Atlanta Falcons last week.

But it wasn’t all bad. One of Jennings’ tackles came when he chased down Michael Turner on a breakaway, holding him to a 53-yard gain that the Falcons turned into a field goal. And he also had zero missed tackles.

That might be the more important statistic, with the Bears facing the Saints and Drew Brees on Sunday in New Orleans. The Saints lead the NFL in yards-after-catch since Brees became their quarterback in 2006.

‘‘As a corner, you never want to get that many tackles,’’ Jennings said. ‘‘But if the play comes to you, you want to make it and not have a negative play. If you have no missed tackles, you minimize the big plays.’’

Injury update

Running back Marion Barber (calf), strong safety Chris Harris (hamstring) and right guard Lance Louis (ankle) didn’t practice Thursday and are doubtful for the Saints game.

Wide receiver Roy Williams was limited in practice and is questionable.

Johnny Knox would start for Williams, and Chris Spencer or Edwin Williams will start for Louis. But it might take some juggling to fill Harris’ spot. Brandon Meriweather, free safety Major Wright or Craig Steltz could end up playing in Harris’ spot if he can’t play.

Champing at the bit

Wide receiver Sam Hurd, who missed most of the preseason with an ankle injury, had full participation in practice all week and is ready to go.

‘‘I’m very anxious — sometimes overanxious — and they’ll tell me to calm down in practice,’’ Hurd said. ‘‘I’m just ready to play some football. It’s been a long wait. I feel like I should be ready to rock and roll.’’

Hurd is a key four-phase special-teamer. It will be worth watching how many snaps, if any, he gets at wide receiver.

‘‘That’s what I want to know, too,’’ he said.

Getting closer

Second-year defensive end Corey Wootton, who missed most of the preseason after suffering a knee injury on the opening kickoff of the preseason opener Aug. 13., is cautiously optimistic he can play against the Saints after a full week of practice.

‘‘It feels good to be out there,’’ Wootton said. ‘‘I’m still not where I want to be. It’s just about knocking the rust off and becoming comfortable.

‘‘I’m hoping to play. But it’s really up to the [coaches and training staff]. I’m just doing everything I can to knock the rust off and get out there. ’’



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