Bears’ Tim Jennings to play nickelback, with rookie Kyle Fuller outsideContinue reading.
‘It took a little while’ for Bears’ Tim Jennings to adjust to new nickelback slot
He’s joked about getting bonus real money slots for sacks added to his contract, and laughed that he’d have to learn a sack dance before the season started.
But Tim Jennings, truth be told, found nickelback a challenging transition during mandatory minicamp, which ended Thursday at the Walter Payton Center, and organized team activities.
“I thought it would be a little quicker transition,” said Jennings, re-signed to a four-year deal this offseason. “It took me a little while, but I think now it’s starting to smoothen out for me and I’m able to get a lot more comfortable with the nickel position.
“You’re going from corner to nickel, so now your whole everything — your eyes and reading keys, everything — is a lot different now.
“You’re in the mix of things, so now you have to see the whole field.
“Instead of at corner, you’re just seeing one side of the field.”
Jennings said he didn’t play nickelback “a lot” in his first pro stop in Indianapolis.
“It was so early in my career, man,” he said. “This is new. I’ve had the experience — actually in college and then I came to Indianapolis and tried it.
“We had so many good nickels there that I really didn’t get thrown out there.
“This is all new. It’s kinda the same concept, but it’s been so long, so now I have to kinda get back in the groove of things.”
That groove might produce sacks. Defensive coordinator Mel Tucker said this week he could blitz Jennings at times.
“We look for mismatches,” he said .”Look to attack protections with linebackers and defensive backs — corners and nickels – and we want everyone to be a threat to come from every spot.”
Tucker said “it’s just a matter of becoming comfortable,” and Jennings is “working to do that.”
“But he has the traits,” he said.
“We played him some there last year in practice, and he has that in his background, so I think he gives us an excellent chance to have production at that spot.
“So it’s just a matter of getting the reps and making sure that he continues to work that – and he’ll do that.
“These guys, they want to be great, and they have a tremendous amount of pride. And when you ask a guy to do something new, they want to be great at it right away – that’s just how they are.
“So that’s his approach. He doesn’t want to just be a guy that goes in there and hangs out and maybe make a couple plays; he wants to be an excellent nickel and be productive, and then go out at corner and be excellent there.
“So that’s what you’re looking for at that spot — that’s what it’s going to take – because you’re going to spend half, if not more, of your snaps there during the season in sub packages.
“That’s just the way the league is right now.”