The 2019 Chicago Bears’ training camp is under way and the team’s August 8 debut at home against the Panthers around the corner, let’s take an early look at who’s on the team right now.
The Starters: Eddie Jackson (6 interceptions, 15 passes defended, 51 tackles, 2 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery, 3 defensive touchdowns, 1.0 sack; 93.2 PFF grade), Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (3 interceptions, 6 passes defended, 93 tackles, 2 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery, 1.0 sack; 79.3 PFF grade)
The Backups: Deon Bush, DeAndre Houston-Carson, Josh Simmons
Potential Training Camp Star: Eddie Jackson is already off to a running start. His interceptions and pass breakups of Mitch Trubisky early in camp had me flashing back to last regular season when the All-Pro safety was snagging seemingly everything thrown in his direction. Jackson has a knack for the ball, good hands, and quality instincts, so any risky pass Trubisky throws against the first-team defense could be picked off at a moment’s notice.
We Really Like: The potential coverage area Jackson and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix can lock down is the stuff dreams are made of when you draw up an ideal secondary. Jackson earned PFF’s best coverage grade (94.7) for a safety last season, but Clinton-Dix (82.0) checked with the 13th best coverage grade. That makes Jackson and Clinton-Dix the only pair of teammates who rank among the 15 best coverage safeties in football, per PFF’s grading scale. BOING.
We Might Be Worried About: Depth behind the starters is somewhat of a concern. Deon Bush filled in admirably for Jackson at the end of last season and has been holding it down with the first unit while Clinton-Dix was sidelined with a knee injury. But if Jackson was a starting-caliber safety on a Super Bowl defense, the Bears probably would have just gone to battle with him in the final year of his rookie contract rather than roll the dice on a one-year “prove it” deal for Clinton-Dix. DeAndre Houston-Carson is a fine special teams contributor, but has limited experience as a defender.
2019 Forecast: Good luck throwing against these guys: