Running Game Concerns, Extending Goldman, Jackson's Breakout, Spotlight on Bullard, and Other Bullets

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Running Game Concerns, Extending Goldman, Jackson’s Breakout, Spotlight on Bullard, and Other Bullets

Chicago Bears

Fast forward to a week from today and we’ll be simultaneously breaking down the Chicago Bears’ performance at the Hall of Fame Game and preparing for our trip to Canton.

  • Can’t believe we missed Tarik Cohen’s birthday. This set of highlights at the top of today’s Bullets should count as a belated birthday gift:

  • Judging by this chart, Cohen and the rest of the Bears’ running backs could have some issues from a fantasy perspective:

  • Only four opponents have a tougher projected strength of schedule against rush defenses than the Bears. Looking at the season-ending stretch with the Bears trying to run against projected top-10 defenses in each of the final three weeks isn’t for the faint of heart, especially if you’re a Jordan Howard owner who happens to be making a playoff push.
  • Oh, and in case you’re curious: The Bears project to be the 20th toughest team to run on this season. That’s not bad.
  • Speaking of being hard to run on, Bleacher Report’s Kristopher Knox views nose tackle Eddie Goldman as the Bears’ best candidate for a contract extension. Goldman was a second-round pick in 2015 who has established himself as one of the league’s better 3-4 nose tackles as he enters the final year of his rookie contract. Even though the big numbers aren’t there in the sack department, Goldman is a steady presence on the line and has excelled as a run-stopper. Goldman turned 24 in January and should be seen as a core member of a top-10 defense because of how he has performed during his first three seasons.
(Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
  • Browsing through the depth chart reveals no immediate challenges to replace him, so the Bears would be wise to get a deal done with him sooner, rather than later. To be clear, there is no hard deadline on getting something done at this point. Remember, the Bears didn’t lock in significant extensions until late last summer when they secured long-term deals with left tackle Charles Leno Jr. in August and defensive end Akiem Hicks in September. As of this point, it doesn’t sound like there hasn’t been any major movement even though GM Ryan Pace is pleased with the progress that has been made in that particular arena.
  • Steady pressure up front would make Eddie Jackson’s job in the secondary that much easier. The second-year safety is a breakout candidate, writes The Athletic’s Dan Durkin. Jackson was a rookie fourth-round pick who was making his way up the depth chart at this time last year, but now represents one half of a safety tandem that is viewed as a team strength. It’s been a while since we’ve been able to point at Bears safeties and share positive thoughts/feelings/opinions, so we’re almost unsure what to add here. Jackson showed a knack for making plays and came away with five takeaways as a rookie. If he can build on that, Jackson could be a star on the rise on a defense that could use one.
  • Elsewhere in the secondary:

  • Can’t stop ’em all!
  • Larry Mayer fields camp questions in his mailbag over at the Bears’ official website, and shares that Prince Amukamara is looking quite fine during practice season. Amukamara has been breaking up passes and hauling in picks, which is a positive sign for a player who has set some lofty expectations for his 2018 season.
  • Michael Joseph knows a thing or two about making tough climbs, so it’s no surprise that he’s putting up a strong fight to break the preseason on the Bears’ 53-man roster. Bears play-by-play guy Jeff Joniak writes about the local product as someone who has caught his eye in camp as Joseph looks to author a Cinderella story of his own at Bourbonnais.
  • There is a ton of focus on the young players at camp who will have to do a bunch of heavy lifting if the Bears are going to be competitive in 2018. Over at 670 The Score, Greg Gabriel writes about the spotlight being on a three recent high-round picks. We already know about what first-rounders Mitch Trubisky and Leonard Floyd need to do, but let’s not let defensive end Jonathan Bullard fly under the radar. The Bears picked Bullard in the third round in 2016, but he failed to find solid footing as a rookie. Bullard stepped in for Mitch Unrein in 2017 and put forth a strong bounce-back year, playing well enough to allow the Bears to walk away in free agency.
  • And because the Bears could still use some pass-rush help, Matt Eurch of 247Sports lists some defenders who are still on the open market who could provide a training camp boost – if not upgrade the collective profile of the group. This wasn’t a great offseason to be searching for edge rushing reinforcements, but you can always find a diamond in the rough if you look hard enough.
  • In the end, a common thread I’m noticing is that the Bears are about to go to battle with a bunch of players they drafted and are currently developing. It’s a distinct change from last year when the team was banking on free agent signings at quarterback, wide receiver, and at several positions on defense. When it comes to the grand scheme of things, I can totally vibe with that because that’s generally how competitive teams get built.
  • I’ve never been cool enough to be in a member’s only club. But if I was, I’d dream of being cool enough to have an RV that I shared with fellow cool kids where we couldn’t talk about what happened in the RV. First rule of Quarterback RV Club is that you can’t talk about Quarterback RV Club:

Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.