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McCown a perfect fit for Bears as No. 3 quarterback

Published: Monday, Nov. 19, 2012 9:19 a.m. CST

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(MCT) — You might think Josh McCown won’t be around long enough for his cup of coffee to stop steaming.

Maybe you are right.

But don’t be surprised if McCown has an impact on this season for the Bears, or if he has an impact on seasons to come.

With Jay Cutler still feeling the effects of a concussion, McCown is the perfect solution for the Bears. He will be the perfect solution any time they have a quarterback injury because he knows the system and is an ideal fit in the locker room.

McCown and Cutler are the Felix and Oscar of the NFL. McCown gives the Bears better chemistry and better karma.

Oh, and he has proven he can win with this team.

McCown even could affect the Bears game Monday night. Don’t forget, he was in camp with the 49ers last year. He knows their offense, and he knows their defense.

One of the fatal mistakes of the 2011 season was waiting until the fifth game without Cutler before giving McCown a shot. If the offense doesn’t move with Jason Campbell, McCown is a legitimate option.

McCown has been around the NFL a long time. He has had his struggles. He is a journeyman, no more.

But it’s possible he is better prepared to get under center than ever. Last year before he came to Chicago, he took a volunteer job coaching quarterbacks at Marvin Ridge High School in suburban Charlotte, N.C. He did the same thing this fall.

He loved working with the kids, but there was an ancillary benefit.

“When you coach, you see a game through a different lens,” he said. “It was beneficial. It gives you an edge.”

Coaching, or perhaps a front office NFL job, could be in McCown’s future. In fact, the Bears gave him some feelers when they released him in training camp. But for now, maybe for a few years even, the 33-year-old wants to play. And he wants to play in Chicago.

“From a loyalty standpoint, I appreciated them giving me a shot last year,” he said. “I spent the offseason and camp with them. The people in the locker room, and the coaches, I really like this place.”

The Bears might cut McCown again. They might bring him back again. Maybe this will go on and on until his hair is gray.

But eventually, you get the feeling Josh McCown is going to have an impact somehow, someway on the Bears.

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Dueling Pro Bowlers

Tim Jennings and Charles Tillman have received more Pro Bowl votes from fans than any other NFC cornerbacks (Jennings leads Tillman by nearly 36,000 votes), and both could represent the conference at the game.

Having two cornerbacks from the same team seems unlikely, but it has happened five times since 2002. The latest Pro Bowl corners from the same team were the Packers’ Charles Woodson and Tramon Williams in 2010.

If only one Bear could go, who is worthier? Let’s compare them statistically, with a little help from STATS.

The first important thing to know is Jennings has been thrown at much more than Tillman. He has been targeted 80 times, Tillman 50.

Considering Tillman frequently has been matched against the opponents’ best receivers, that target number tells us opposing quarterbacks are shying away from him.

But they are connecting a greater percentage of passes thrown his way. Tillman’s “burn percentage” is .620, compared to .463 for Jennings.

Jennings has 18 passes defended and eight interceptions compared to eight and two for Tillman, so he clearly has been more aggressive going after the ball.

But when opponents connect, they have had bigger gains against Jennings. They have averaged 13.5 yards per completion at Jennings, compared to 10.4 at Tillman. Jennings also has been beaten for two touchdowns; Tillman has yet to give up one.

Of course, Tillman has forced seven fumbles and Jennings none.

Punting Podlesh

Wednesday the Bears worked out four punters — Spencer Lanning and Ryan Quigley, each of whom had been with the team in previous offseasons, and Chas Henry and Ryan Tydlacka.

This clearly is an indication the team is less than thrilled with the recent performances of Adam Podlesh, who ranks 30th in the NFL in punting average (41.7) and 21st in net average (38.4).

The workouts gave the Bears an idea of where each of the free agent punters are currently from an ability standpoint. If they have to make a move, they now know who they like the best.

But cutting Podlesh would be a last resort, because the Bears made a significant investment in him.

Before the 2011 season, they signed him to a five-year, $10 million deal. They gave him $2 million to sign and guaranteed him $3.5 million more.

If the Bears cut Podlesh this season, they will take a $1.4 salary cap hit in 2013 for a punter who isn’t even on their roster. And they will use up more cap space for another punter.

It’s not a pretty picture. So Podlesh’s contract may help him stay employed.

If he continues down his performance path, however, no contract is going to save him. That was the message that was sent Wednesday.

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