Thursday news and tidbits

January 15th, 2009 - 7:04 pm

Charles Tillman did not have one of his best seasons, and as of Thursday, we officially know why.

Tillman has undergone surgery on his shoulder, correcting an injury he suffered in a Week 4 victory over Philadelphia.  It is a testament to his selflessness and determination that he played the rest of the season with the condition.  He could have easily cut his season short and had the surgery in September.

Tillman is expected to make a full recovery and not miss any time for next season.  His health alone should help upgrade the poor pass defense, which was also aided this off-season by changes to the coaching staff.

Brown pleased with Marinelli: Defensive end Alex Brown visited Halas Hall to meet with new defensive line coach Rod Marinelli and was impressed with the former Lions head coach.

“He knows what he’s talking about,” Brown said. “He has the credentials. When you walk in the room, you respect him. You believe what he’s saying because he was there with [Warren] Sapp. He was there with Simeon Rice and those guys. He helped those guys dominate the NFL. With the guys we have here, I don’t see why we can’t do that.

“With the changes that we’ve made, we’re heading in the right direction.  The edge that we haven’t had, we’ll get it back. As far as the defensive line, with the man that I just sat down and talked to, we’ll get that edge back.”

New face in the NFC North: Bears fans, meet Jim Schwartz, the man presented with the challenge of turning around last year’s winless Detroit Lions.

Schwartz was hired by the Lions Thursday after spending 8 seasons as the Tennessee Titans’ defensive coordinator.

Titans head coach, Jeff Fisher, commended the Lions for their choice.

“In his eight years as our defensive coordinator, Jim has clearly put his stamp on that side of the ball,” Fisher said. “He is competitive, a tremendous communicator and motivator, and in our opinion, he has been ready for this next step for several years.”

Said Schwartz of the challenge that awaits him: “I don’t shy away from a challenge.  There’s no better feeling than turning a situation around.”

Differing views or cover-up?: Lovie Smith said this week that quarterback is not the Bears’ No. 1 priority, despite what general manager Jerry Angelo had said about needing to shore up the position in his season-ending press conference weeks ago.

Either Smith was correcting a misconception the media got from what Angelo had said, or Smith was covering up in a similar manner to what happened with Brian Griese last year.

Remember the Monday following the Bears’ 19-16 victory over Philadelphia in 2007, when Brian Griese trotted out in front of the Chicago media to contradict what he had said the day before?

Griese had said following that game that the audio device in his helmet had gone dead and he had to call all the plays himself.  The next day, Griese corrected himself and told the media that he was able to communicate with the sideline during the 97-yard game-winning drive.

Conspiracy theorists suggest that what Griese had said after the game made the Bears coaching staff feel inadequate and to restore their pride and dignity, they forced Griese to retract his statement.

Could something like that be the case here?  Is Smith trying to protect Kyle Orton from hurt feelings?  Or do Smith and Angelo have genuine differing views about the quarterback position?

I guess time will tell.