Seahawks present special test
Bears prepare to face one of the
NFL’s top special-teams units, special teams coach Dave Toub’s
players are coming off one of the best games under his
Toub, whose unit was ranked No. 1 by the Dallas Morning News in
2006 and 2007, saw his charges play a key role in the
Bears’ 23-6 victory over the
Carolina Panthers last Sunday.
”Overall, pretty much all phases, we were happy with the
results,” Toub said.
Devin Hester and Danieal Manning didn’t score, but their
combined return average was the second best under Toub. On six
returns, Manning and Hester averaged 33.5 yards, second only to a
Dec. 11, 2006 performance when Hester returned two kickoffs for
touchdowns against the St. Louis Rams.
Would Toub rather have a score or a well-rounded performance
”There really isn’t a preference — those are both good days,”
Toub said. ”The days I want to stay away from are the days where
you’re not getting anything and having a hard time getting the ball
past the 20.”
Bears will have their hands full
against the Seattle Seahawks, who lead the league, allowing an
average starting point of 21.4 yards on kickoffs.
Manning is fifth in the NFL, averaging 29.8 yards per kickoff,
but he hasn’t run one back for a touchdown since 2008.
Seahawks kickoff returner Leon Washington has scored twice, and
he’s averaging a league-best 40.4 yards per return. Former Notre
Dame receiver Golden Tate is second in the NFL with an average of
18.0 yards per punt return.
Cornerback Charles Tillman (calf) returned to practice after
sitting out Wednesday. But linebacker Lance Briggs (ankle), guard
Roberto Garza (knee) and safety Major Wright (hamstring) did not
practice. Linebacker Brian Urlacher fully participated after being
limited by a groin injury Wednesday.
Defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli was asked about Israel
Idonije’s production at defensive end: ”It’s his job. It’s part of
his responsibility to pass rush. If he’s not, he’s not doing his