Charles Tillman knows a thing or two about the new defense the Chicago Bears are installing. He played in it most of his career under Lovie Smith and then Ron Rivera. It is what helped him become arguably a future Pro Football Hall of Famer. That is why new head coach Matt Eberflus invited the former cornerback to speak to the team during spring practices. If anybody could help the younger generation understand the level of expectations in this system, it would be Peanut.
He covered several important points, from playing with maximum effort to forcing turnovers. That second part is the bedrock of the Tampa-2 system. Everything is geared around taking the ball away. Few cornerbacks in NFL history were better at it than Tillman. His career concluded with 38 interceptions and 45 forced fumbles. With only 16 takeaways last year, it’s easy to see why Eberflus wanted that speech to happen.
It turns out Tillman’s contributions didn’t end there. During an interview with NFL Network, the Bears head coach revealed that the former corner took rookies Kyler Gordon and Jaquan Brisker aside in the team cafeteria to give them several tips on forcing turnovers.
Charles Tillman seemed to have an effect.
Gordon and Brisker have given the Bears offense fits early in training camp, getting their hands on the football several times. It appears whatever Tillman told them had a positive influence. The rest is up to them to figure out. One has to wonder why the former Pro Bowler hasn’t considered coaching. The speech he gave to the team was outstanding. It feels like something he would be naturally great at.
Either way, this serves as another reminder of how great Charles Tillman the person is. Nobody disputes how superb he was as a player. Yet it’s his willingness to give back to the next generation like this that sets him apart from many other former Bears. One can only imagine how fans react when Gordon or Brisker deliver that first successful Peanut Punch. Soldier Field might come unglued.