Training camp is scheduled for July 28, and for the first time in 18 years, the Chicago Bears won’t be in Bourbonnais. And because of the COVID-19 pandemic, fans won’t be allowed to attend practices at Halas Hall, either. With camp approaching, let’s take an early look at who’s on the team right now.
• 2019 stats: 2 interceptions, 5 passes defended, 60 tackles, 5 tackle-for-loss, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery, 1 sack, 66.8 grade from Pro Football Focus in 16 games
Tashaun Gipson Sr. or Deon Bush
• Gipson’s 2019 stats: 3 interceptions (1 pick-six), 8 passes defended, 2 tackles-for-loss, 3 QB Hits, 51 total tackles, 59.5 grade from PFF (14 games with the Texans)
• Bush’s 2019 stats: 0 interceptions, 2 passes defended, 8 tackles, 81.9 grade from PFF in 15 games
• DeAndre Houston-Carson, Jordan Lucas, Josh Simmons
What to Watch For:
Safeties Coach Sean Desai said an open competition would decide who starts with Jackson. So, that means I’m looking forward to a competition.
Modern safeties must cover ground in zone, lock up in man, and crash the box. In other words, Gipson’s versatility makes him the perfect fit.
On the other hand, let’s not short Bush. Because while not having Gipson’s résumé, Bush’s familiarity in this system could be valuable.
We Really Like:
What’s not to love about Jackson? For example, I can gush over his zone coverage, rave about his man skills, and laud his return skills when he gets his hands on a pick-six.
Three years into his professional career, Jackson has 10 interceptions, five defensive touchdowns, five forced fumbles, and four recoveries. Moreover, he’s been durable, having missed just two regular-season games. Above all, he is a game-changer who is a menace to quarterbacks and receivers alike.
We Might Be Worried About:
The Bears’ secondary is scheduled to face 16 of PFF’s top 30 highest-graded receivers in 2020:
1. Chris Godwin, Buccaneers
2. Julio Jones, Falcons
3. Michael Thomas, Saints
4. Davante Adams, Packers
6. Mike Evans, Buccaneers
11. D.J. Moore, Panthers
12. Robert Woods, Rams
14. A.J. Brown, Titans
17. Kenny Golladay, Lions
22. Emmanuel Sanders, Saints
23. Sterling Shepard, Giants
24. Adam Thielen, Vikings
26. Will Fuller V, Texans
26. D.J. Chark, Jaguars
28. T.Y. Hilton, Colts
29. Calvin Ridley, Falcons
The Bears are equipped to combat that type of firepower. But they could potentially start a rookie at corner. Therefore, Chicago’s safeties must be great behind him.
A whole lot of this:
Similarly, some of that from Gipson, too: