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Styf: Jennings off to All-Pro start

Published: Monday, Sept. 24, 2012 5:30 a.m. CDT

Tim Jennings would love for you to believe it's simple.

Like what he's doing for the Bears this season is easy.

His four interceptions would be a career season for him. In reality, it's the first three games of what looks like an All-Pro one.

“It's not a science what's going on,” Jennings said. “I'm able to catch them now.”

But that's simply not true. Because the ones that he's catching are just part of it.

He's also deflected two to teammates, including one that broke the game open Sunday when Major Wright caught it and ran it in for a 45-yard touchdown.

It's a combination of things. Jennings is putting himself in the right place, the defensive line is pressuring opposing quarterbacks into bad decisions and, as we saw when he leaped over a Colts receiver to intercept a pass in Week 1, Jennings is also winning individual matchups.

“He’s just out of his mind right now,” teammate Israel Idonije said.

In a lot of ways, Jennings is just a regular guy.

He Tweets about wishing he could eat McDonald's and whether or not he should buy Hunger Games on pay-per-view.

And he oversimplifies the reasons why, at age 28, he's playing far better than he has before, making the $6.6 millions two-year deal he signed in the offseason a true bargain.

“I've always been in good position, it's just that I wasn't catching them and taking the opportunity last year,” Jennings said.

The biggest question mark for Jennings is his size, listed generously at 5-foot-8. That size wasn't a problem against the Rams, or Green Bay's Jordy Nelson, but there were plays that Colts' wide receiver Reggie Wayne made against him in Week 1 that Jennings simply couldn't get to.

Other times, like the underthrown leaping interception of Andrew Luck, he didn't have an issue.

“Tim is about a 40 vertical guy,” coach Lovie Smith said. “I think size has been overrated for so many years.

“If there is a really big receiver, we'll put Charles Tillman on him.”

Next Monday in Dallas, against Dez Bryant, Miles Austin and Kevin Ogletree, that will come into play. But if Tony Romo makes a mistake, as he's prone to do, Jennings and his teammates know he'll be there to clean up.

“He’s got four in, what, three games?” teammate D.J. Moore said. “I’m buying my ticket. I’m going to go down and watch him in the Pro Bowl.”

If Jennings doesn't get hurt, he most certainly will be there.

• Northwest Herald sports editor Jon Styf can be reached at

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