Charles Tillman trading places for Bears

The Chicago Bears are hoping their defense is revamped this season with the addition of defensive end Julius Peppers and the return of middle linebacker Brian Urlacher from a wrist injury that cost him nearly all of 2009.

They traded for former Bear Chris Harris to plug in at safety and drafted Major Wright in the third round with the expectation that he will nail down a starting job at some point.

Part of the new defensive plan includes switching around some veterans, though, as the Bears flip-flopped cornerbacks Charles Tillman and Zack Bowman over the weekend during the team’s three-day minicamp. That meant moving Tillman, who has made 91 of his 94 career starts on the left side, to right corner. Bowman assumed his former spot at left corner.

The coaching staff said it was just exploring different looks, but Tillman said the move is permanent as best as he can tell, and it remained that way throughout the minicamp.

"Coach (Lovie) Smith just thinks it will be a better matchup for Zack and myself," Tillman said. "It gives our team the best chance of winning. As of now, I would probably say (it is permanent). But stuff is subject to change, and people go to different positions all of the time. It could change during the season."

Typically, teams that play a lot of zone defense – the Bears’ base scheme is the Tampa Two – put their best cornerback on the left side. Right-handed cornerbacks throw the ball that way more often. Bowman led the team with six interceptions last season and the thinking could be that he will be able to make more plays aligned on the left side.

The biggest thing for Tillman is that he is fully healed after suffering four broken ribs and a punctured lung in a vicious hit from teammate Craig Steltz as they converged on Minnesota Vikings tight end Visanthe Shiancoe during the Week 16 meeting at Soldier Field. Tillman, who has undergone two shoulder surgeries and two back surgeries in recent seasons, was not completely healed until late March.

“I am back and ready to play,” he said.

Maybe on the right side.

Follow me on Twitter: BradBiggs

Upcoming Games

Aug 18th, 8:00 PM

Chicago +3 -125

Seattle -3 -125


Aug 19th, 7:00 PM

Carolina -1.5 -110

New England +1.5 -110


Aug 19th, 8:00 PM

New Orleans +3 -125

Green Bay -3 -125


Aug 19th, 10:00 PM

Houston +2.5 -110

LA Rams -2.5 -110


Aug 20th, 1:00 PM

Detroit -1.5 -105

Indianapolis +1.5 -105


Aug 20th, 1:00 PM

Denver -1 -110

Buffalo +1 -110


Aug 20th, 4:00 PM

Washington +3.5 -105

Kansas City -3.5 -105


Aug 20th, 7:00 PM

Pittsburgh +2.5 -110

Jacksonville -2.5 -110


Aug 20th, 7:00 PM

Las Vegas -2 -110

Miami +2 -110


Aug 20th, 7:00 PM

Tampa Bay +2.5 -110

Tennessee -2.5 -110


Aug 20th, 7:00 PM

San Francisco +4.5 -110

Minnesota -4.5 -110


Aug 20th, 10:00 PM

Dallas +3 -110

LA Chargers -3 -110


Aug 21st, 1:00 PM

Philadelphia -3 -110

Cleveland +3 -110


Aug 21st, 7:00 PM

Cincinnati +2.5 -120

NY Giants -2.5 -120


Aug 21st, 8:00 PM

Baltimore +1.5 -110

Arizona -1.5 -110


Aug 22nd, 8:00 PM

Atlanta +1.5 -110

NY Jets -1.5 -110


Aug 25th, 8:00 PM

Green Bay

Kansas City


Aug 25th, 8:15 PM

San Francisco