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Corey Graham Improves, Robbie Gould Goes for Distance and More Favre

With Charles Tillman out for personal reasons Corey  Graham has seen a lot more quality playing time and has been the most impressive player at camp so far.

Training camp always includes a small group of players considered pleasant surprises. This summer Graham tops that list for the Bears. The fifth-round pick from 2007 has been playing left cornerback with the No. 1 defense, replacing starter Charles Tillman as the Bears allow Tillman time and space to address personal issues.

At 6 feet and 193 pounds, Graham fits the prototype of the ideal Cover-2 cornerback and has improved the way he uses his hands to impede a wide receiver's release. Graham is over the ankle injury that nagged him last year and his speed has been obvious as he stays in step with speedy receivers on deep patterns. His field awareness no longer looks like a weakness. And he has good hands

This camp coaches and kicker Robbie Gould have been working on the one thing that he has never been able to do...consistenly kick for touchbacks.

He had three touchbacks last season after recording 11 in 2006, but the Bears were still tops in the NFL in kickoff coverage at 19.3 yards per return. Gould's hang time always has been good -- at or just above four seconds -- and the Bears hope a change in mechanics will allow him to keep that while driving the ball farther.

Special-teams coordinator Dave Toub and assistant Chris Tabor worked with Gould this spring on lining up a little deeper and wider. So far, it has worked well.

''You are always looking to improve,'' said Gould, who cashed in with a $15.5 million contract extension in the offseason. ''You're kicking in Chicago. You're not going to have 27 touchbacks. It's just not going to happen.

''Would you like to see more? Absolutely. But at the same time, when you're kicking the ball over 4.0 [seconds] inside the 5 or deeper, and your guys are covering the ball inside the 20, that's just as good as a touchback.

''We changed up my approach, and we think it's going to help at least have more hang time and/or hit it a little deeper. I'm just trying to get more consistent with it.''

Seems the Packers are getting a bit desperate and may consider trading Brett Favre inside the division. 

A source close to the situation told the Journal Sentinel on Wednesday that the Packers were considering seeking a deal with one of their division rivals, most probably the Minnesota Vikings or Chicago Bears, if backed into a corner by the National Football League and public sentiment.

Of course their management denies that, so take it for what it is.  But if the Packers did make that decision I'd have to think they would opt for the Bears first.  Do you want to put Favre on a team that has a defense, a top 2 running back and a brand new deep threat?