Blackhawks

Tillman: Best cornerback group in my 10 years

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Tillman: Best cornerback group in my 10 years

June is the football feel-good time and the Bears, like just about every team, do. Some feel even better than others.

Cornerback Charles Tillman, who came in the last draft of the Dick Jauron era, has seen cornerbacks from R.W. McQuarters to Nathan Vasher to Ricky Manning Jr. to Zackary Bowman. Vasher went to a Pro Bowl (2005). Bowman led the Bears with six interceptions one season (2009).

No group has impressed him to the degree that this one has, however, a fact perhaps all the more remarkable because the Bears have added only backups (Kelvin Hayden, Jonathan Wilhite) on top of Tillman, Tim Jennings and D.J. Moore.

In my 10 years of being here, Tillman reflected, I think this is the best group of corners weve had in just overall talent. Now, theyre still learning the defense, but as far as a talent standpoint, I think this is by far the best group of talented young men weve had.

The Bears ranked 28th in passing yards allowed last season but were top 10 in third-down efficiency and 13th in passing yards allowed per play. They allowed 250 or fewer passing yards in eight games and more than 300 just twice, in wins over Carolina and Detroit.

Not surprisingly then, coach Lovie Smith bristled Wednesday at a question about the struggles of his pass defense in 2011.

Lets go over that again, Smith said to the questioner. You said last year, we did what now? Exactly, you said we did what? We struggled against the pass? I dont see it like that.

I mean, a few games maybe we had a little bit trouble with the pass. But I think we played the pass fairly well. And the rest of your question?

Most impressive single defensive play so far? Nickel back Moore, whose eight interceptions over the past two seasons are tied with Tillman for team high.

Moore jumped the throw on a third-and-short out pattern from Jay Cutler to Earl Bennett and was in Milwaukee before anyone caught up with him. That was followed Wednesday by another pick in 7-on-7 work.

The Bears added significant depth at cornerback this offseason with Hayden from Indianapolis and Wilhite from Denver. But Moore, until now primarily the Bears nickel cornerback, shouldnt be ruled out as a possible factor at one of the spots outside.

Hell tell you he can play any position on the football field, said Smith. Hes not a guy thats lacking confidence and I think he can. Hes got great quickness. As I said, great hands; plays the ball well. Theres a lot of things we look for on the outside he can do.

Blackhawks edge out Senators in shootout: 'It was really nice to get a win'

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AP

Blackhawks edge out Senators in shootout: 'It was really nice to get a win'

It was a rare sight to see the Blackhawks in a shootout on Wednesday night.

It was just the second time this season — and first time at the United Center — that the Blackhawks made it past 3-on-3 overtime. 

The last came on Dec. 2, 2017, a 3-2 shootout loss to the Stars in Dallas. On Wednesday night, the Blackhawks were on the other end, beating the Ottawa Senators 3-2 in a seven-round shootout. Nick Schmaltz netted the game-winner.

"We'll take it," coach Joel Quenneville said. "I thought we had a decent game tonight. Overtime not so good, I liked the shootout victory, Fors made some big saves for us particularly as the game got deeper. Our third was OK, I thought our first two were way better, and overtime we gave up some high quality, some bells were rings for a bit there. But it was nice to see the shootout win."

Patrick Kane had a goal and an assist, recording another multi-point game, his 16th of the season.

"I mean we need every point we can get at this point," Kane said. "There's still belief in this locker room. Obviously we need to go on quite a run and have a big record here down the stretch. But take it a game at a time and nice to get two points."

Anton Forsberg was a big reason the Blackhawks even recorded those two points. The 25-year-old netminder stopped 34 of 36 shots and made a handful of big saves down the stretch.

"It was really nice to get a win for sure," Forsberg said. "I would love to have a lot more wins, but right now just gotta look forward and get as many wins as possible."

Added Quenneville: "I think it was good for him to win a game the way he did. Lot of shots were on the line, as we progressed, got deeper, hitting the point first was big for him and for us and then finding a way to get the extra one was a good win."

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Of Bulls and Blackhawks, which team will finish with higher draft pick?

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Of Bulls and Blackhawks, which team will finish with higher draft pick?

On the latest SportsTalk Live Podcast, Patrick Finley (Chicago Sun-Times), Hub Arkush (ProFootball Weekly) and Jason Goch (SB Nation) join Kap on the panel.

The guys debate which team will finish with a higher draft pick when the season ends: Bulls or Blackhawks?

Plus, hear their reaction to the MLB’s new pace-of-play rule change.

Listen to the full SportsTalk Live Podcast right here: