Bears issue at hand

Devin HesterNathan VasherJerry PorterIsrael IdonijeTrumaine McBrideBrendon AyanbadejoCharles Tillman

The Raiders said , and Bears fans everywhere were giddy with delight. I believe I predicted two touchdowns.

No, wait, I predicted three.

But the grand total was zero, and the yardage total was 48 on eight combined kickoff and punt returns. That's six yards per return, including two kickoffs. That led several folks on the Bear with Us to wonder what the heck was going on.

Hester: "I think it was just more what they were doing. They had a great punter, a great kicker, and that [takes] a big toll on the return game. They came out and did their assignments, did everything that needed to be done."

Defensive lineman/special teamer Israel Idonije: "They work hard, they're a fast team. At the end of the day, it comes down to us. It comes down to what we do. … We just gotta do a better job maintaining blocks. I know for me, I gotta do a better job. … [Janikowski] has a big leg. But at the end of the day, we got the ball in Devin's hands, and us as blockers have to do a better job blocking for him."

Special teams captain Brendon Ayanbadejo: "We got what we wanted, but I had a penalty so it kinda nullified it. But all we need is one. Devin had a long return on that and he just ran out of bounds 'cause he saw the penalty. So it would have been a touchdown. We got what we wanted, it just didn't work out. … They stayed in their lanes and they just covered really fast, whereas other teams cover real fast but they try to all go to Devin, so they kinda forget their responsibilities and they all try to just magnet toward Devin. This team, they went toward him but they stayed in their lanes while they did it. So really, you couldn't dance, you just had to go, you had to hit it. You saw a crease, you had to hit it. We left some yards on the field with penalties and whatnot."

As disappointing as the day was for the return units, it was a breakout day for seventh-round rookie cornerback Trumaine McBride. After his second batted pass of the game, JohnF, Mike and Volleydog all commented on what a remarkable game McBride was having. A seventh-round rookie shutting down Jerry Porter, how does that end up happening?

Cornerback Charles Tillman: "He's just getting a chance to play. I don't think he's doing anything differently. He's been consistent on making plays and just got his turn. … He's not scared, he's out there making plays. Everything about him is impressive. I don't know if I can say just one. He's not scared, he's challenging receivers, he's making plays, he's learning on the go, he's just playing good football."

McBride: "It feels good, a late-round pick and people saying I wouldn't even make the team. So it feels good to start and make plays. … [I wanted to work on] my ball skills. In college, I didn't have a lot of picks. I dropped a lot of picks, so just my ball skills I thought I could have gotten better. … Both [Tillman and Nathan Vasher] definitely helped me out everyday during practice. Both film and practice time."

He evidently improved on those ball skills, how did that happen?

Defensive backs coach Steven Wilks: "I think it has a lot to do with his confidence. A lot of the time, when you're not sure about yourself, you're not really trying to play the ball, you're just really locked in on the receiver. You can tell right now, he's playing with a great level of confidence. You see more and more of Trumaine being in position, making plays on the ball. The great thing about Trumaine, for me, he tries to perfect his technique. You can have great speed and all those kind of things, but if you're not technique-sound, you're gonna put yourself in bad positions. That's what he's doing right now, he's playing with excellent technique, putting himself in good position to make plays. His ball skills have improved just for that mere reason."

As for Rex starting, at least it's going to be exciting. You know, in that Bull Durham, "I don't know where he's gonna throw it next, honest," kind of way.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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