UA-59049186-1 2020 Chicago Bears Preview: Defensive Interior - Good if it Goes

2020 Chicago Bears Preview: Defensive Interior

(Photo: Wikipedia)

Eddie Goldman has opted out of the season due to covid concerns after having issues with asthma in the past. The loss of Goldman is a big one, as he was a strong presence in the middle of the Bears’ defensive line a year ago. Goldman is a strong run defender and no slouch in the pass rush as well. This space looks forward to seeing him back on the field when the world isn’t a mess.

Bilal Nichols has been the one filling Goldman’s spot in camp and has drawn heavy praise in doing so. After a promising rookie campaign in 2018, Nichols looked just okay a year ago. He wasn’t very disruptive in the pass rush in 2019, tying with me in sacks after having 3 the previous season. Nichols was still solid against the run, though, so a move to nose tackle could be just what the doctor ordered to get his career back on an upward trajectory.

John Jenkins returns to Chicago to provide depth on the interior. After playing in eight games and starting one for the Bears in 2017, Jenkins headed to the Giants in 2018 where he appeared in seven games off the bench. He then took his talents to South Beach, where he appeared in every game for the Dolphins, starting five of them, and recorded his first sack since 2015. He should be an okay rotation piece; this space cautions against expecting any more than that.

Akiem Hicks returns this season. After suffering an injury a year ago, the team’s pass rush seriously fell off, as opposing offenses were able to commit half their blockers to containing Khalil Mack. Hicks has arguably been Ryan Pace’s best signing in Chicago, starting every game in 2016, 17, and 18 and racking up 23 sacks in the process. Last year, he had one in the 5 games he played. After strong outings the first three weeks of the season, Hicks missed the Bears’ week 4 game against the Vikings and then suffered a nasty injury in London during the Raiders debacle. Hicks returned to the field against the Packers late in the season and turned in another very good performance, but was shut down after that with the Bears out of contention. Hicks always seems to play with a chip on his shoulder, so he should be plenty fired up after what had to be a disappointing year for him in 2019.

Brent Urban returns after being signed during the 2019 season as a depth piece. Urban was released by the Titans last October and Ryan Pace quickly pounced. While Urban was quiet on the stat sheet, he generally acquitted himself well in your author’s grading. Expect an expanded role is Nichols is focusing on the nose tackle position. This space asserts that such an expansion would be just fine.

Roy Robertson-Harris is back for 2020. A year ago, your author looked at him as a potential major benefactor of the Chuck Pagano hire, as he can play 5-tech and 7-tech, as well as 3-tech in rush packages. That did not come to fruition, as even with an expanded role in the wake of the Akiem Hicks injury, he was still just okay. So this is just who Robertson-Harris is – a nice depth piece who won’t be a liability if pressed into a larger role. Every team needs guys like that, and thus, your author is happy to have him here.

 

Twitter: @KSchroeder_312

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