UA-59049186-1 2021 Chicago Bears Preview: Safety - Good if it Goes

2021 Chicago Bears Preview: Safety

Pretend that says 4. (Photo credit: AP)

Eddie Jackson was a first-team All-Pro in 2018, recording six interceptions, running two of them back for touchdowns, and taking a fumble recovery to the house as well. Your author, as well as football YouTuber Brett Kollman, called him Ed Reed 2.0. Then Vic Fangio left to be the head coach of the Broncos and in came Chuck Pagano to replace him. Pagano coached Ed Reed in Baltimore, so one would think that he would know how to use someone with his skill set, like Eddie Jackson. One would be wrong, however, as Pagano routinely deployed Jackson near the line of scrimmage despite a mountain of evidence that that is not Jackson’s game. Jackson was a Pro Bowler in 2019, but that season was a clear step backward from his All-Everything Defensive Player of the Year candidate year the year prior. 2020 was more of the same for Jackson. While your author was still rather high on him, much higher than most of the fan base, his stats looked quite pedestrian. Jackson failed to record an interception, but did force three fumbles, recover one, and ran it back for a TD. Plus, he had a couple TDs called back by penalties of dubious merit. Chuck Pagano retired after the season and Fangio disciple Sean Desai figures to reinstate Fangio’s system in which the man known as BoJack flourished. This space remains bullish.

Tashaun Gipson returns after a solid 2020 as a Bear. Capable in both coverage and run support, your author was excited when the Bears brought him in because it meant that someone else could play up near the line and Eddie Jackson could play to his strengths. Chuck Pagano never got that memo and kept farting around with bringing BoJack down. From Gipson’s Welcome post:

“After four seasons in Cleveland to start his career, Gipson was allowed to walk after the 2015 season and signed with Jacksonville. Gipson spent three years there before becoming a cap casualty. Gipson signed with Houston before the 2019 season and was released after it. He’s picked of 23 passes over the course of his 8-year career, taking three of them back for touchdowns.”

Gipson recorded 2 picks and a fumble recovery last year for the Bears. If his 2021 looks like his 2020, that’s a win. Also, he’s staying with number 38 even after the number 39, which he wore for his entire career prior to coming to Chicago, was vacated by Eddie Jackson’s switch to his college number, 4.

Deon Bush returns for another year as the guy on whom your author and the coaching staff have the greatest difference in opinion. Bush was talked up as a potential starter before the Bears signed Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix in 2019 and was said to be in a battle for the spot with Tashaun Gipson last year before Gipson won it. Your author doesn’t see why. Bush is a guy. He’s a decent depth safety, but at this point, this space doubts he’ll ever be more than that. This isn’t a knock on the guy – the sixth-year pro out of Miami is capable in that depth role, but any future talk of him being a starter will be dismissed out of hand by your author.

DeAndre Houston-Carson is also back with the team. He’s also a sixth-year pro, like Deon Bush. He also recorded his first career interception a year ago, like Deon Bush. Between the two, your author thought Houston-Carson stood out more during the pre-season. Houston-Carson is also more of a strong safety, as opposed to Bush, who’s more of a free safety. Assuming Sean Desai’s system does look a lot like Vic Fangio’s, though, the safety spots should be more or less interchangeable.

Twitter: @KSchroeder_312

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