UA-59049186-1 Chicago Bears 2020: Training Camp Preview - Defense and Special Teams - Good if it Goes

Chicago Bears 2020: Training Camp Preview – Defense and Special Teams

Defensive Interior

Thing I want to hear: The Bears sign Snacks Harrison. Eddie Goldman has opted out and John Jenkins is on the reserve/covid list. That leaves Bilal Nichols as available possible NTs.

Thing I don’t want to hear: Anything negative about Akiem Hicks’s health. We saw how important he is to the pass rush last year and with Goldman already opted out, I don’t think the line can handle another loss.

Thing I will dismiss entirely: Any idea that the loss of Goldman isn’t a big deal unless the Bears sign Snacks. Goldman doesn’t get the credit he deserves as a major presence on the D-line. There’s no two ways about it, that loss hurts a lot.

Edge Rusher

Thing I want to hear: Robert Quinn is dominating. Khalil Mack was much better than he stats show in 2019. Thanks to limited production from Leonard Floyd and an injury to Akiem Hicks, teams were able to focus extra energy on containing Mack, and often, it worked. If opposing teams have to pick their poison, this front seven can be scary good.

Thing I don’t want to hear: Trevis Gipson is struggling to adapt to an edge role. Gipson was a 3-4 DE in college, so coverage wasn’t an issue. He’s got a long frame at 6’6, 260 and the Bears intend to use that as an asset on the edge. He’ll need to learn to cover on occasion, though. Here’s hoping he’s able to do it, because there’s not much depth here.

Thing I will dismiss entirely: Ideas that Barkevious Mingo will be anything more than maybe a special teamer. Belichick couldn’t get anything out of him. He’s not going to all-of-a-sudden turn into a player at 30.

Inside Linebacker

Thing I want to hear: Roquan Smith is ready to go full Derrick Brooks. Watching Smith’s college tape evoked memories of the Hall of Famer. Smith’s rookie year looked like he might be on that path, but then he stagnated a bit in year two. While his 2019 season wasn’t bad by any stretch of the imagination, I still want to see more.

Thing I don’t want to hear: The team is searching for depth. With Nick Kwiatkoski now a Raider and Kevin Pierre-Louis now a…Football Teamer?, the Bears need someone to step up into the backup roles they vacated.

Thing I will dismiss entirely: TV announcers’ various butcherings of Joel Iyiegbuniwe’s name. I will actually allow some Ledarius Mack hype. I was surprised he went undrafted, because when I watched him play, I thought there might be something there. He doesn’t have the size to play off the edge in the NFL, but could be a solid player at ILB. If anyone asserts that he can be as good as his brother, I will totally dismiss that and demand that person get his eyes and head examined. I do, though, think the younger Mack brother can be a serviceable backup.

Cornerback

Thing I want to hear: Kevin Toliver’s light has come on. Tre Roberson was waived after breaking his foot training for the season, leaving Toliver, Jaylon Johnson, and Artie Burns to compete for the starting job opposite Kyle Fuller. We know who Artie Burns is and he isn’t very good. I liked Toliver as a UDFA pickup. Hopefully, he’s ready to join the ranks of strong NFL DBs from LSU.

Thing I don’t want to hear: Jaylon Johnson looks like a rookie. See above.

Thing I will dismiss entirely: Stephen Denmark hype. Until I see otherwise, I still believe he’s better suited for safety.

Safety

Thing I want to hear: Tashaun Gipson is fitting in well at strong safety. In theory, Gipson represents the happy medium between Adrian Amos and Ha-ha Clinton Dix, a safety capable of both making plays near the line and dropping deep into coverage, even if he isn’t outstanding at either.

Thing I don’t want to hear: Eddie Jackson is still playing near the line of scrimmage. The man is arguably the best free safety in football. Let him play to his strengths. Putting him in the box is like buying a Lamborghini to take the kids to soccer practice.

Thing I will dismiss entirely: Deon Bush hype. The Bears apparently like him. I haven’t seen much from him that supports the idea that he can hack it if called upon.

Special Teams

Thing I want to hear: Nagy doesn’t feel the need to bring in everyone in the tri-state area with two functioning legs because somebody has clearly won the kicking job.

Thing I don’t want to hear: Kickerpalooza 2: Upright Boogaloo.

Thing I will dismiss entirely: Patrick Scales’s Madden rating.

 

Twitter: @KSchroeder_312

 

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