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Super fans: Why the Bears are excited for 2012

  • (Chicago Tribune)
(Chicago Tribune)
September 06, 2012|By Jack M Silverstein | For RedEye

RedEye asked the Bears to single out which teammates they're most excited to see on the field—one each on offense, defense and special teams, and one rookie.

OFFENSE

Robbie Gould, kicker: Brandon Marshall. He's been great. He's a big-bodied receiver with a lot of ability. He'll be able to open the field up for the other receivers. And it's definitely a threat that the defenses are going to have to look out for.

Kelvin Hayden, cornerback: I'll have to go with Brandon Marshall. I'm excited to see that guy. He's bringing a spark to the offense that I think is going to be great for us. He's going to open up a lot of things for us, the running game, and he's going to open up the passing game as well.

Lance Louis, offensive lineman: Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall. Big guys that can go up and catch the ball, speed, route runners. I never really seen Brandon Marshall play in person until the preseason, but it's going to be exciting. I looked at Jeffery when he played in college and I liked him as a player, so I'm excited he's on our team and I'm looking forward to what he's going to bring.

Patrick Mannelly, long snapper: That's easy. Brandon Marshall. It's just everything. He's a complete receiver. I've never played with a receiver that has his ability with everything he can do. It's that simple, seriously. (laughs)

D.J. Moore, cornerback: Marshall. He's new. We never had a receiver like him, so I'm looking forward to seeing what he can do on the field. It's challenging [covering him in practice]. I like to guard the best, and when you guard him you can pretty much say how you would do against any good receiver in the league, because he's one of the best.

Adam Podlesh, punter: Brandon Marshall. He can make amazing plays, and what we've seen from OTAs and into the preseason is that he's got the capability of being a big-time playmaker in our offense. He obviously jells well with Cutler since they played with each other in Denver. So there's a lot of upside to that.

Major Wright, safety: I would go with Brandon Marshall too. Watching him at the Dolphins and in Denver, watching things that he do, it's exciting to see what he brings to this team.

Tim Jennings, cornerback: I would say Alshon Jeffery. I'm excited to see him play, to see what he brings to the team as a young guy, and to see the potential that he has in his career while he's in the NFL.

Eric Weems, return man: Matt Forte. I've seen him on film a couple times, running the ball real hard. making exciting plays. I'm really excited to see him get out there and run the rock.

Gabe Carimi, offensive line: Forte. I always like watching him. He's a great running back. I'm from a run school, so that's always fun to watch.

DEFENSE

Robbie Gould, kicker: Julius Peppers. He's always fun to watch. He's one of the most athletic guys in the National Football League at his position, and maybe even leaguewide. He's a big dude, so it's fun to watch him make plays.

Kelvin Hayden, cornerback: I'm a Julius Peppers fan. That guy, he can do it all. He can get after the quarterback, and he makes things happen for us in the secondary, so to see him do well, it means that only good things are going to happen for us in the secondary.

Major Wright, safety: I would say Julius Peppers. Every game, he brings his a-game. He gets to the quarterback. He creates turnovers. And that rush, that's what we need. So I'm just excited to see him go in and make his plays.

Adam Podlesh, punter: One guy I'm always excited to see is Peanut Tillman. just because I feel like whenever he's in on a tackle, we have a chance of getting the ball back. He's probably the best person I've ever seen at punching out a ball of a receiver or anyone he's tackling. You see him do it in practice all the time. It's like every time he comes in and tackles he punches the ball out and gets on the guy, so it's always fun to see him.

Craig Steltz, safety: I'm excited to see Charles Tillman. He continues to get better. He never becomes stagnant. He continues to work on his craft every year. And he seems to punch the ball out in every practice, so we're excited to see balls on the ground and lots of takeaways.

Eric Weems, return man: I would have to say probably Tillman. Peanut. He's one of the big hitters on the team, he's a great athlete, he's a ball hawk, he knows how to force turnovers, he has a knack for the ball. And he knows how to make turnovers when they need 'em.

Patrick Mannelly, long snapper: Urlacher. Looking forward to seeing him get back on the field. The way he approaches the game. You know, during the season when he's healthy, he never misses practice. He's always prepared. He's always up for every game, seems like he never has a bad game. Just the consistent high level he plays at I think brings the entire team up to his ability level.

Henry Melton, defensive lineman: I want to see my buddy Urlacher come back. I want to see him play healthy and be healthy and come back and be a captain of the defense.

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