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Chicago Bears Should Sit Charles Tillman Against Calvin Johnson

Charles Tillman Calvin Johnson

Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

How could I say such a thing? Sit down a guy who covers Megatron better than maybe any other player in the league, and I think it’s a good idea?

Well, that’s exactly what I’m hear to say. Charles Tillman should not play for the Chicago Bears this week against Calvin Johnson and the Detroit Lions.

He’s dealing with a groin injury based on reports, and it’s noticeably slowed him down over the past couple of games, as we’ve seen him on the sideline multiple times. Now, was it the same problem each time he’s come out? That we don’t know, but what I do know is that he’s been held out of practice and is being listed as “day-to-day.” With groin injuries, that’s kind of how they always stay unless you give them the proper time to rest and heal before they become a real issue.

That said, Marc Trestman would be wise to let Tillman rest it against one of the most physically demanding receivers in the NFL. The Bears don’t have anyone other than Tillman who even has a shot against Johnson one-on-one, but with a bad groin, who’s to say Zack Bowman wouldn’t do just as well (or not so well) this week on No. 81. And I put it like that because I don’t think you can just slap 5-foot-8 Tim Jennings on him and expect the little guy to be able to do anything except run underneath him — Bowman, at least, is 6-foot-1.

Regardless of who ends up guarding him, it simply shouldn’t be Tillman. He’s far too important to risk in a Week 4 matchup, even against a divisional rival. The Bears have enough on the team with their newly found confidence on offense to have a good shot at beating the Lions anyway. Because of that, Chicago can allow Tillman to get better with an extra week of rest, and thus hopefully have him for much more important games down the stretch.

Heck, hold him out of the New Orleans Saints game in Week 5 too if that’s what it takes. The fact of the matter is that he’s such a crucial piece on defense creating turnovers and shutting down big receivers by himself that it’s just not worth it. They’ve already lost Henry Melton for the year, they can’t lose another key piece of the defense. I mean, they already have a pathetic pass rush so far this year, so losing their best cover man for an extended period of time would be the beginning of the end of the phenomenal play the defense is accustomed to.

So, Bears, if you’re listening (which obviously you should be… Right?), sit Tillman. Don’t let these two games — even though they’re against marquee passing offenses — get in the way of much bigger goals this season.

Even if for some reason they fall to 3-2 without the help of Tillman, they’d still be first or second in the division and get back one of their best players at 100 percent, and that’s invaluable.

And Tillman, the only Peanut Punches I want to see from you are the punching of actual peanuts. On the sideline. Far away from Megatron or any other large, groin-threatening opponents.

Brian Neal is an NFL and NBA contributor for Follow him on Twitter @brianneal23, “Like” him on Facebook and add him to your network on Google+.


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