The Bears opened their offseason training activities (OTA’s) on Tuesday and immediately had a surprise-cornerback Tim Jennings played the slot corner in the defense’s nickel package. The move allowed this year’s first round draft pick Kyle Fuller to play the left cornerback position.
Jennings is a two-time Pro Bowler playing the outside left corner position. He has thirteen interceptions in the last two seasons.
The move is expected to be a permanent one if both he and Fuller can get acclimated to their positions. “We’re going to try it out,” Jennings said. “Hopefully it will be a full-time thing. It’s a little different for me. I’ve got to get back acclimated to playing nickel and playing two positions on defense. Once I get that going, it’ll be a good transition.”
It was expected that Fuller would play the slot on nickel, but the teams figured they would prefer a veteran at that position, and have Fuller play his natural position. Fuller is four inches taller than Jennings, so having him at corner on passing situations gives him and the Bears an advantage. Having Jennings on slot would help Fuller ease in a little easier.
“It’s a little different,” Jennings said of playing slot. “You’re just another linebacker, an athletic linebacker, so you have to be able to see a lot more things. You have to be able to see a lot more backfield sets. It’s a lot more reads, a lot more keys that you have to get.
Jennings is taking the move like a leader. “Now that I have the opportunity to, I’m kind of excited about it,” he said. “We’ll see how it goes. We feel like we have to get Kyle on the field running. So whether he has to play corner and I have to play nickel, we all have to take our jobs and just do what they ask us to do, and hopefully we can turn this thing around.”
Things are looking good for the Bears, but they need the defense to drastically improve. Tim Jennings’ action shows the players are buying in and are willing to try anything to get things done.