Assuming a role that formerly belonged to Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs is making steady progress as he adapts to calling defensive plays for the first time in his 11-year NFL career.
“It’s getting better and better each day,” said Bears defensive coordinator Mel Tucker. “I think he’s gaining confidence in what he’s doing. The players are gaining confidence in him getting us lined up. He’s doing a great job with the checks and the adjustments.
“Our players are commenting on it in between series on the sideline, saying, ‘Hey, Lance, you’re doing a great job’ or ‘that was a great check.’ It’s a work in progress, but it’s been getting progressively better and that’s what you want to see.”
Briggs is also adapting to several new faces in the linebacker room. With Urlacher retiring and Nick Roach signing with the Raiders, the Bears revamped the position by inking veterans D.J. Williams and James Anderson in free agency and drafting Jon Bostic and Khaseem Greene.
“It’s competitive in that room, but they do work with each other and they’re a fun group to be around, a loose group,” Tucker said. “But they take tremendous pride in their ability to play the game, and so as a coach when you walk in a room like that you have to be on top of it.
“They’ll ask great questions and we get a lot done each and every time we go into the meeting room. We go into meetings at one level and we come out at a higher level.”
Tags: Lance Briggs
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Free safety Anthony Walters is expected to make his first NFL start Sunday against the Lions, but linebacker Lance Briggs isn’t worried about the second-year pro’s lack of experience.
“Even though a lot of us haven’t seen Walters on the field on Sundays, we’ve seen him plenty on the practice field,” Briggs said. “The guy is capable, smart. He understands where he needs to fit, and that’s what’s most important. You have 10 other guys out there on the field that are very familiar with what we’re doing. He’ll feel comfortable. He’ll fit right in with the rest of us.”
Walters recorded two tackles in the second half of last Sunday’s win over the Cardinals after Chris Conte exited with a pulled hamstring. The 6-1, 207-pounder has appeared in all 15 games this season and is tied for third on the team with 10 special teams tackles.
Walters insists he isn’t nervous joining a defense that features veteran stars such as linebacker Lance Briggs, defensive end Julius Peppers and cornerbacks Charles Tillman and Tim Jennings.
“I think those guys can help take some of that pressure away,” Walters said. “All I have to do is be where I’m supposed to be when I’m supposed to be there, and those guys make plays.”
Tags: Anthony Walters, Lance Briggs
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While wondering why it has taken so long, Bears linebackers Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs are happy that teammate Charles Tillman is finally getting the recognition he deserves.
A year after being voted to the Pro Bowl for the first time in his career, Tillman was named NFC defensive player of the month for October after winning two weekly awards and was praised by President Barack Obama during a nationally-televised interview the night before the election.
“Charles Tillman has been an integral part of our defense since he’s gotten here in 2003,” Briggs said. “He’s getting a lot of attention now. He should have been getting it for the past 10 years. He’s played at a high level. He’s an elite player and has always played at a high level. Now in Year 10 he’s taken it up to another level. He’s a defensive player of the year type player.”
In October, Tillman returned interceptions for touchdowns in back-to-back road wins in Dallas and Jacksonville, setting the Bears’ all-time record with eight defensive TDs. He also held Lions Pro Bowl receiver Calvin Johnson to three receptions for a season-low 34 yards.
Tillman then forced a career-high four fumbles in last Sunday’s 51-20 rout of the Titans, increasing his season total to seven and giving him 36 forced fumbles in his career, the most among NFL defensive backs since he entered the league in 2003.
Urlacher doesn’t know why Tillman didn’t receive the credit he deserves until the past two seasons.
“Peanut should be getting a ton of recognition,” Urlacher said. “He’s played great the last four or five years. Look at his stats. He’s caused  fumbles, has  picks. It didn’t happen in the last two years. He’s played 10 years. He’s had those picks and all those big plays his whole career. It’s not just the one year he’s done it. I’m glad he’s getting it now because he deserves it.”
Tags: Brian Urlacher, Charles Tillman, Lance Briggs
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