Bears Pro Bowl cornerback Tim Jennings is out of a job.
Well, not really. He’s just in a different spot as the Bears begin OTA’s that are bringing together their entire squad, and that includes No. 1 draft pick Kyle Fuller, who materialized during Tuesday’s practice session at Jennings’ left-cornerback spot.
But Jennings wasn’t replaced; he was just inside covering the slot receiver in the nickel packages. Fuller was on the outside, Jennings’ normal spot over the past two seasons.
Ironically, the switch is something Jennings has been in looking forward to.
“I’ve been kind of wanting to play nickel since I got here,” said Jennings, who signed a four-year contract extension immediately after last season ended. “So now that I have the opportunity, I’m kind of excited about it. We’ll see how it goes.”
Fuller has more outright speed than the veteran, and typically the outside receivers are faster than the ones working the slot and middle of the field in nickel sets. Also, Fuller will be learning the different assignments and is projected as a starting cornerback, so the more experience and study he has at that position, the better.
“We feel like we have to get Kyle on the field,” Jennings said. “We have to get him on the field running. So whether he has to play corner or I have to play nickel, we all have to take our jobs and do what they ask us to do and hopefully we can turn this thing around.
“[Early in his career] I wanted to get on the field as much as I can and as quick as I can. Whatever it was going to take. We had, it seemed like the cornerback spot was kind of solidified with the guy that were here before I got here so if I had to play nickel, I wanted to play nickel. I just wanted to get on the field. It’s the same mindset.”