Roaring Thunder: Chicago Bears Training Camp Defensive Preview

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A new football season is right around the corner. Chicago Bears fans are looking forward to Bears Training Camp 2019. This is the Chicago Bears 18th year holding their camp at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Illinois. As The Bears arrive at ONU, we recap the new faces the Chicago Bears added on defense for the new season.           

The biggest addition to the Chicago Bears defense is new defensive coordinator, Chuck Pagano. Pagano comes to the Bears from the Indianapolis Colts where he spent five years as head coach. Pagano’s record, while he was with the Colts, was 53-43 during the regular season. Under Pagano, the Colts were led to two AFC South Championships 2013-14. The Colts made three consecutive playoff appearances 2011-14 as well as an appearance in the 2014 AFC Championship Game. Pagano has some big shoes to fill with former defensive coordinator Vic Fangio moving to the Denver Broncos as head coach.

Another new face on the Bears defense is safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. Clinton-Dix comes to the Bears from the rival NFC North team, the Green Bay Packers. He takes over the safety position for Adrian Amos, who signed with the Packers in the offseason. The upside to Clinton-Dix is that he is a former first-round pick, and a former Pro Bowler (2016). The downside is that this is the third team Clinton-Dix has been on during a calendar year. Clinton-Dix also came at a cheaper price tag than Amos.

Veteran cornerback Buster Skrine is a new face at Bears camp this year. This will be Skrine’s ninth season in the league. Skrine was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in 2011. He spent four years there before joining the New York Jets in 2015 where he also spent four seasons. Skrine brings veteran leadership to the cornerback position and he also can play in the slot. However, Skrine is notorious for being flagged with more penalties than any other player in the NFL since he was signed back in 2011. Skrine’s 74 penalties didn’t stop the Bears from rolling the dice on this veteran. We will have to wait and see if Skrine pays off for the Bears.

In this year’s NFL Draft, with the team’s sixth-round pick, the Chicago Bears selected cornerback Duke Shelley from Kansas State. The pros with Shelley is that he is a coverage corner that should have Bears fans buzzing.  Shelley, however, only played seven games in the 2018 season due to a toe injury cut his season. Will Shelley turn out to be that diamond in the ruff that Ryan Pace has found in the later rounds?

Stephen Denmark is a cornerback from Valdosta State who was picked in the seventh round of the 2019 draft. Denmark is a big cornerback at 6’3 and weighing 220 pounds. He clocked in a 4.46 in the 40-yard dash and had a 43-inch vertical jump at pro days. Denmark is a natural wide receiver who made the transition to cornerback in 2018. Denmark is explosive at the cornerback position and could just be that steal of a pick the Bears have been looking for.

The Chicago Bears defense was one of the main reasons the Bears had a 12-4 regular-season record in 2018. It was the first winning season the Bears had since 2012 and also marked their first playoff appearance since 2010. With their new faces on defense and returning players, the Bears will look to win the NFC North Championship and make the playoffs for the second straight year in a row.

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