It would appear, after several seasons of futility, that the Chicago Bears may have found some capable talent at the safety position. With guys like Quintin Demps and Eddie Jackson to go along with Adrian Amos and Deon Bush, the safety position will be more stable in 2017. But which players will start? Who will sit and who won’t make the roster?
Let’s find out as we look at the projected depth chart for the Bears’ safety position this season.
The Bears came into camp with eight players at the safety position. The projected players at strong safety include Quintin Demps, Deon Bush, Harold Jones-Quartey, and Deiondre Hall. At free safety, Chicago went into camp with Adrian Amos, Eddie Jackson, Chris Prosinksi and DeAndre Houston-Carson.
Demps was a big free agent acquisition from the Houston Texans this past March. He was the only player the Bears brought in at safety in free agency. They did tackle the problem at the position the draft too by taking Alabama’s Eddie Jackson. So far, Jackson has had a strong preseason.
The Bears’ starter at the free safety position this year is going to either be Adrian Amos or Eddie Jackson. Amos has been the starter for the last two seasons but, with a good preseason, Jackson will take over as the starter. The Bears have lacked playmaking ability at free safety and Jackson will bring that. If he holds up, you should expect Jackson to be the starter in 2017.
Chicago signed Demps, formerly of the Houston Texans, with the idea that he would start at the strong safety position. His ability to force turnovers is promising, and his leadership has value. Besides seeming a little bit sluggish in some drills, Demps had a good camp and promises to have a great season. He will start at the strong safety spot, and if he can stay healthy, he will have a great season for the Bears.
The Bears do have a drop off in talent with the backups at both safety positions. At the free safety spot, Amos will back Jackson up if he doesn’t earn the starting job. Amos has experience, but he doesn’t have fantastic big play ability. Prosinksi will be in the mix too, but he is much more valuable on special teams than he is at safety. Don’t expect him to see much time at safety unless there are significant injuries.
DeAndre Houston-Carson is someone who needs to step up and play well to secure a roster spot. He had a good game against the Cardinals deflecting two passes but needs to be more consistent. If he can, then he will make the roster, but he’s on the outside looking in right now. Consider him to be one of those difficult decisions the coaching staff needs to make.
The back-ups at the strong safety spot are a little bit harder to pin down. Jones-Quartey has been with the Bears for two seasons and has started 16 games. However, while he is a great tackler and likes to hit, he struggles in coverage and doesn’t make quick decisions. The Bears like him for his aggressive tendencies, but he is a liability in coverage. Still, Jones-Quartey will stick with the team because of his knowledge of the defense.
Next up on the depth chart at the strong safety position is Deon Bush. Bush started six games last season as a rookie but wasn’t that productive. He had just one pass defended, but his biggest problem was that he was not ready to play in the NFL. With some more experience, Bush could develop into a decent backup.
Deiondre’ Hall is the last player on the depth chart at the strong safety position. Hall, a rookie in 2016, was a cornerback last season but moved to free safety during the offseason. This may give him a chance to make the roster if he can prove that he can play the position right. Heading into the end of the preseason, Hall will be on the bubble, and he may not make the team. If he doesn’t, he could end up on the practice squad.
The Future of the Safety Position
If Demps and Jackson end up starting during the entire season, the safety position will be stable. If they miss time due to injuries, then Chicago will struggle with the depth that they currently have.
They do have some playmakers at the position this season so there should be no reason why the secondary doesn’t do better. The Bears will need to re-tool a bit next offseason, but they are headed in the right direction.
After seasons of futility, it looks like the Bears are finally starting to the right the ship at safety.