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Booker bides time, waiting for ball
By Bob LeGere | Daily Herald Staff

Charles Tillman of the Bears walks off the field as Tampa Bay kicker Matt Bryant (3) celebrates his game-winning field goal with holder Josh Bidwell on Sunday at Soldier Field.


Rick West | Staff Photographer

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Published: 9/23/2008 12:04 AM

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Wide receiver Marty Booker's streak of 60 straight games with a reception was snapped Sunday when he was blanked against Tampa Bay.

Booker, the go-to guy in his first go-round with the Bears from 1999-2003, has just 2 catches this season for 11 yards. He was asked if he's growing frustrated waiting for an opportunity to contribute.

"I've been waiting all my life," he said. "I don't know what's going on, man, I'm just going along with it."

Booker could see more playing time this week vs. the Eagles, considering Rashied Davis' drops the past two games, but he said he isn't aware of any lineup changes.

"I don't know what's going to happen," Booker said. "I'm just sitting here waiting my turn. Hopefully, I get some opportunities. If I don't, whenever I'm out there, I just have to do what I can."

Booker played about one-third of the Bears' 74 snaps vs. the Bucs, and he appeared to be wide open on at least a couple.

"He runs good routes," head coach Lovie Smith said. "We need to be able to hit him. He's been open a few times. We haven't been able to get the ball to him. That will all come in time. Our passing game took a big step this past week from the second game, and hopefully we'll see the same type of improvement this fourth game, and hopefully Marty will be a big part of that."

Taking the blame: Bears defensive linemen may have rationalized their inability to get to Bucs quarterback Brian Griese by claiming Tampa used maximum protection packages and Griese threw only quick three- and five-step drops, but Lovie Smith said the front four has to be held accountable.

"Everything starts up front with us," Smith said. "They did a good job blocking, but we haven't gone many games without a sack around here. We have a high standard, and you have to give (the Bucs) a lot of credit."

"But that many times throwing, whether it's three-step drop, one-step drop, we need to be able to get to the quarterback."