Former Chicago Bears cornerback Charles “Peanut” Tillman is the man who created the so-called “peanut punch” to cause fumbles throughout his professional career, and Tillman sees that same skill set and aggressiveness in Ravens cornerback Marlon Humphrey.
Humphrey has been with the Ravens since he was the team’s first-round draft choice in 2017. Prior to this year, he only had a total of three forced fumbles. But something must have clicked for him; he has forced four fumbles through just six games, including one in each of the Ravens’ past three games.
Humphrey is on track to challenge Tillman’s single-season record of 10 forced fumbles in 2012. Tillman is glad to see a young defender who is actively trying to force turnovers, and he has nothing but love for Humphrey.
“I’m excited for him,” Tillman said on Glenn Clark Radio Oct. 26. “I’m just glad someone else is doing it because in my opinion, it’s something very easy to do. I’m glad Marlon is having an amazing season and I wish him the best. I like watching him play. I think he had one last week, and I tweeted him. I was like, ‘Hey man, you’ve got a fan in me. I love what I’m seeing.'”
Tillman recognizes the potential Humphrey has now that he is consistently forcing more fumbles. It’s all about the mindset a defender has when approaching the ball carrier — there can’t be any fear or hesitation, according to Tillman. Tillman always was primed to punch the ball out and get his offense on the field.
“Two hands, one hand I don’t care how the ball is covered. My mindset — or the mindset you have to have — is that the ball is going to come out. You need to take that,” Tillman said.”You need to think that, ‘I don’t care how many hands you get on the ball, I can force any fumble no matter how you carry it.’ And that was the mindset that I had, and I’m pretty sure Marlon has that same mindset because he’s been fairly effective.”
Tillman recorded a total of 44 forced fumbles throughout his 13-year career (2003-2015). Every season but his last came with the Bears. Tillman was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2011 and 2012. In 2011, he forced four fumbles and scored two defensive touchdowns. In 2012, he was a first-team All-Pro selection after posting 10 forced fumbles and three touchdowns.
Tillman also helped lead the Bears to Super Bowl XLI in 2006. Although they ended up losing, 29-17, Tillman had impressive numbers in the playoffs. He forced one fumble, had a fumble recovery and made 24 tackles.
Tillman explained the proper form he used to use to force so many fumbles. He did not haphazardly go about trying to knock the ball out.
“Sometimes people try to punch and not tackle. … It kind of has to be a punch-tackle at the same time,” Tillman said. “If I grab them, most ball carriers they tend to tuck the ball because they feel that contact. But if you punch and tackle at the same time? If you don’t get the ball out, worst-case scenario you make the tackle right there wherever you are, and you bring the ball carrier down.”
Tillman compared his Chicago defenses to how the Ravens’ defense has been playing since last season, referencing something that one of his former defensive coordinators used to say.
“Defense wins games and I think, historically, Baltimore has always had a really good defense, similar to how Chicago is,” Tillman said. “And one of the mantras that we have: Rod Marinelli used to say, ‘You have to send every blade of grass.’ And that’s kind of what Baltimore’s defense is doing. It looks like they send every blade of grass. To me it’s refreshing.”
For more from Tillman, listen to the full interview here:
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