Philadelphia Eagles News

Protecting The Ball Key Vs. Bears

It may be cliché to say that turnovers will decide a football game, but this Sunday, it's likely to be the truth. The Eagles lead the league with a plus-15 turnover differential and 26 takeaways. The Bears, meanwhile, are second with 25 takeaways.

The secret weapon of the Bears defense when it comes to forcing turnovers is the forced fumble. More so than any team in the league, stripping the ball carrier is something that is emphasized throughout the system. Right now, the Bears are fourth in the league with 14 forced fumbles, and that's a below average performance. Since 2001, the Bears have finished among the top 5 in the league in forced fumbles seven times and have led the league three times.

"They're excellent at that across the board," said Eagles offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg. "Every player on their defense does a heck of a job that way. We've got to have food ball security all game."

Bears cornerback Charles Tillman takes pride in his ability to strip the ball perhaps more than any other player. Including 2010, Tillman has been among the top ten in individual forced fumbles, an extremely impressive track record for a member of the secondary.

"We have to focus (on protecting the ball) on every play," said wide receiver Jeremy Maclin, who will be matched up against Tillman plenty on Sunday. "Ball security is always important, but we really have to focus this week."

For the Eagles, Michael Vick has done more than his part to protect the ball in 2010. He committed his first turnover of the season last week, when he fumbled in the pocket. He's still yet to throw an interception.

"You've got to do a great job protecting the ball against these guys," Vick said. "They make a living off of getting strips and turnovers, and it's something they do real well. You don't see too many teams stripping the ball the way they do, and part of that is a credit to just the players they have on defense and their mentality."

-- Posted by Bo Wulf, 10:00 a.m., November 28

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