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Bears' passing game makes use of all available weapons
By Bob LeGere | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 11/1/2008 12:10 AM

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Six Bears have more than 200 receiving yards, and Marty Booker is on the verge with 183. The last time the Bears had seven players with more than 200 yards was in 1989.

That even distribution of production can pose problems for opposing defenses, according to offensive coordinator Ron Turner.

"It's harder to defend, rather than having (just) one or two guys that carry the load - that's one thing we talked a lot about in training camp," Turner said. "I told the guys, 'We're not looking just at how many yards one guy rushes for or how many catches a guy has. It's what we do as a team.' And the way this offense is set up is, we're going to count on a lot of people, and we're going to utilize a lot of people."

That's why in seven games, six different Bears have led the team in receiving yardage.

"As a receiver, you might have a game or two where you're not getting a lot of catches," Turner said. "It's just the way the game goes, (and then) all of a sudden you get them. It's going as we had talked about. We use a lot of different people."

Remember who those seven 200-yard pass catchers were in 1989?

Wide receivers Ron Morris (486), Dennis McKinnon (418) and Wendell Davis (397), running backs Dennis Gentry (463) and Neal Anderson (434), tight end Jim Thornton (392) and fullback Brad Muster (259) all had more than 200, and backup tight end Cap Boso had 182.

Plan in place: Despite all the uncertainty in the defensive backfield this week because of injuries, the decision was made earlier in the week as to how the secondary will look Sunday.

But coach Lovie Smith declined to divulge that information after Friday's practice.

"We have decided already," Smith said. "We know who's going to start at corner, who's going to play at nickel and all of that."

All signs point to Nate Vasher returning to his starting spot on the right corner after missing more than a month with a wrist injury, and to Charles Tillman being back at left corner after missing one game with a shoulder injury.

Corey Graham, who filled in admirably for Vasher, is expected to move inside to the nickel back position, with safety Daniel Manning, the former nickel back, taking another week to rehab his hamstring injury.

Tillman, Vasher, wide receiver Marty Booker (knee) and defensive tackle Tommie Harris (knee) were all listed as probable Friday after a full practice. Manning, linebacker Hunter Hillenmeyer (thumb) and wide receiver Brandon Lloyd (knee) were all questionable after being limited at practice.

No excuses: Devin Hester refutes the theory that his increased activity as a wide receiver has taken something away from his productivity as a kickoff and punt returner, where his numbers have dropped significantly from his first two seasons.

"I'm not tired when it's time to return kickoffs and punts, so I wouldn't say that's a reason," Hester said. "But I do know that I have to get better and what I'm capable of doing."