Not so long ago Chicago Bears fans wanted to upgrade the secondary by either trading for Asante Samuel or Nnamdi Asomugha given they were Pro Bowl CBs who were on the move. Both players wound up with the Eagles, Samuel via trade and Asomugha signed with the Eagles as a part of the Dream Team. The guarantees of a Super Bowl titles began to roll in for the Eagles and Bears fans were miffed with what they were left over with.
Two years later the Bears' strategy of standing pat with Peanut Tillman and Tim Jennings has paid off in spades. In 2011 Tillman and Jennings put together their best career efforts, and now in 2012 the Bears' duo is tops in the NFL.
What a difference two years makes for this CB duo, Jennings was forced to compete for a starting job now leads the NFL with six interceptions on the season. Tillman earned his first Pro Bowl nod last year is now in line to earn All Pro honors for the first time in his career. Jennings too should earn his first Pro Bowl nod with the Bears for his overall dominant play.
ProFootballFocus even adds to the support for Jennings and Tillman being the best in the league this year. To quote the article: "The only other choice would be Seattle’s duo, but the Bears’ corners have them bested in NFL Rating, Yards per Snap, touchdowns, and interceptions."
Those stats combined with the forced fumbles, and touchdowns put this duo as far and away the best in the NFL. Tillman has built upon his strong 2011 campaign to turn out his best season thus far.
Peanut has been his nickname since birth, but it may be changing to Optimus Prime given his dominance of Megatron, Calvin Johnson.
Jennings on the other hand has taken his strong off-season, pre-season and training camp and parlayed it into his best season ever. Part of the coaching pointers Lovie Smith had for Jennings was to make more plans on the football, and Jennings has answered in spades. Jennings also leads the NFL in passes broken up with 13 on the season.
The production from this cornerback has been excellent, beyond expectations? Possibly but the ability has always been there. Now the hope is they can continue to be a part of a defense that has Super Bowl championship potential.