With training camp starting later this month, CSN Chicago’s Chris Boden and JJ Stankevitz are looking at three burning questions for each of the Bears’ units heading into Bourbonnais. Today’s group: The safeties.
1. Who starts at free safety?
Adrian Amos and Eddie Jackson appear to be the headliners of this competition heading into training camp. Amos is an interesting player, not having an interception in over 1,800 career plays but receiving high marks from the folks at Pro Football Focus, who dubbed him a “secret superstar.” (https://twitter.com/PFF/status/883827042168565761) But coming off a season in which the Bears only forced 11 takeaways, Amos is hardly guaranteed to keep his starting gig. Enter Jackson, the fourth round Alabama safety who has good range and showed solid ball skills while in college. Provided he’s fully recovered from a broken leg suffered in October, Jackson will have a shot to start as a rookie.
“He’s wired right, he understands the game, in the classroom setting, questions and answers, he gets it,” coach John Fox said of Jackson. “He’ll get plenty of time in Bourbonnais.”
2. What will Quintin Demps bring to the secondary?
Demps is 32 years old but doesn’t feel like an elder statesman — “I’m still in my prime, man,” he said last month — but was signed to bring a steady veteran presence to a malfunctioning secondary. Demps picked off six passes — more than half of the Bears’ turnover total — in 2016, but a year before that only managed one interception with the Houston Texans. But that fluctuation didn’t worry Demps, who said his mentality is to tackle first and cover his assignments and let turnovers come to him. It’s a mindset he’s already working to impart on his fellow safeties, even if he doesn’t see himself as the old guy of the group.
“There’s no formula to it,” Demps said. “Just do your job the best you can and you gotta use your instincts a lot. But you gotta do your job first and help out, and they’ll come to you.”
3. Will Deiondre’ Hall stick at safety?
Hall flashed potential at cornerback last year but the Bears (and Hall) saw a better opportunity to get him on the field by teaching him some flexibility at safety. The 6-foot-2, 201 pound Hall played some safety at Northern Iowa, so he’s not foreign to the position. The hope for the Bears is, at the least, Hall can provide depth at one position, but his ability to play cornerback as well should help strengthen his case to help out the Bears in 2017.
‘He had some experience there in college,” defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said. “When it comes down to picking your team and you’re taking nine or 10 DBs, if someone’s got versatility to play both of those spots, that helps, so we’re gonna see if he’s one of those guys.”