Do the Bears really have a glaring need at left cornerback alongside Charles Tillman, who made the switch from LCB to RCB last year? A lot of names have been floated here on WCG the most notable one being Raiders shutdown CB Nnamdi Asomugha. Asomugha might arguably be the best CB in the league as he is very technically sound at the position, can play both press and off coverage effectively well, and is very good in zone coverage. While Asomugha could put this defense a little over the top, his skills would be handicapped in a system that's mostly zone coverage.
Another name that has been tossed around is Jets CB Antonio Cromartie. The problem with this is that Lovie puts an emphasis on his corners to be effective tacklers, and Cromartie hasn't shown in the past that he's a willing tackler. Other names like Carlos Rodgers and Richard Marshall have been thrown out there, but are they more important than signing an offensive guard or wide receiver to help out your franchise QB?
The Bears have a need at CB, but they also have some decent young talent at the position to develop in Tim Jennings, Joshua Moore, and Zackary Bowman who's in today's player spotlight.
Who is Zackary Bowman?
College Transaction courtesy of chicagobears.com
Attended the University of Nebraska (2005-2007) after spending two seasons at New Mexico Military Institute... Saw action in 22 games, including 9 starts as a Cornhusker... Compiled 56 tackles (46 solo), 17 PBUs, 3 INTs and 2 TFLs in Lincoln... Suffered torn ACL during fall practice of his senior season and redshirted... Earned junior college All-America honors and was the No. 2 junior college recruit in the nation in 2004 according to Rivals.com... Notched 10 INTs - including 2 for TDs - and 22 PBUs at New Mexico Military Institute.
Bowman made a name for himself in a 2008 week 10 game against the Vikings on a game sealing interception on then QB Gus Frerotte. Unfortunately that would be the last game he would play that season as Bowman torn his bicep and would be placed on injured reserve, but Lovie saw enough potential in him to give him an opportunity to compete for the job in 2009. Despite impressing coaches with his ball skills and coverage, Lovie decided to go with Nathan Vasher mainly because Bowman missed time in training camp with an injury. When Vasher lost his job, Bowman stepped in and never looked back that season leading the Bears in interceptions that season with 6. Bowman walked into the 2010 off-season workouts with much confidence from the coaches. So much that they switched Bowman to LCB, a position that was held by Tillman for many years. The Monday night week 3 game against the Packers is probably a game that still burns in Bowman brain today as he was benched supposedly for poor tackling and zone coverage assignments. Tim Jennings would step in his spot and become the starter for the rest of the season.
Coach Lovie Smith has indicated this off-season that Bowman will compete with Jennings for the starting job. What Bowman needs to do to get his starting job back is mainly improve on his zone coverage. He most likely will need to show Lovie that he can be consistent in that department. He also needs to improve on his tackling ability. These are areas that Jennings excels at better than Bowman, which is why he will go into camp as the starter in front of Bowman. While Jennings is good in those departments, Bowman is a better cover corner and he has the best ball skills of any DB on the team. If he shows improvement in zone coverage in training camp then it would be hard for Lovie to deny Bowman the starting spot.