Perhaps it won’t matter come Sunday, but Houston Texans coach Gary Kubiak says he’ll make it a point to put his team on notice regarding the ability of Chicago Bears cornerback Charles Tillman to force turnovers.
The Bears host the 7-1 Texans on Sunday at Soldier Field, and Kubiak plans to emphasize ball security even more than usual in the week of practice leading up to the game.
“We’ll have to make a big point of it,” Kubiak said Monday. “One of the great things that this team does is when you make a play on them they don’t give up on the play. If you throw a slant route or your back gets out and busts the line of scrimmage, there are people working downfield to poke the ball out and finish plays. They are excellent at that. So we obviously have to hit our guys on it.”
The Bears forced five turnovers Sunday during a 51-20 shellacking of the Tennessee Titans. Tillman forced four fumbles. Linebacker Brian Urlacher forced and recovered another, in addition to running back an interception 46 yards for a touchdown. Kelvin Hayden scooped up two loose balls, and safety Chris Conte contributed another recovery.
In addition to running back two interceptions for TDs this season, Tillman has forced seven fumbles and recovered another for a Bears defense that has forced 28 turnovers thus far this season.
“We (emphasize ball security) all the time, but it’s going to be a big point of emphasis this week in practice, and when it’s all said and done, us protecting the ball will be huge in the game,” Kubiak said.
The Texans coach uttered a laundry list of attributes that make Chicago’s defense click, starting with head coach Lovie Smith, whose team has picked off 174 passes and returned 25 of them for TDs since 2004.
“They’re just physical,” Kubiak said. “First off, they’ve got two of the top defensive minds over the past 15-20 years when you think about Lovie (Smith) and (defensive coordinator) Rod Marinelli. They have one of the greatest players to play the interior in a long time with (defensive end Julius) Peppers. They have one of the best middle linebackers (Urlacher) that the game has seen in a long time leading the way. They are very well-built in what they do, and they’ve been together for a long time.
“A lot of players have played a lot of football together,” he added. “What they’re doing speaks for itself: five turnovers yesterday and I think seven touchdowns on defense this year. I could go on and on, but we have a serious task ahead of us.”