The accolades continue to pour in for safety Adrian Amos, whose resurgence has lifted the Chicago Bears’ defense to new heights.
Pro Football Focus placed Amos on its midseason All-Pro Team, in part because of how he’s stepped up to face (and conquer) the challenges set in front of him this season. Sam Monson explains that even though opposing quarterbacks have made Amos one of the most oft-targeted safeties (11.5 snaps in coverage per target is a lot), Amos has allowed just 0.21 yards per coverage snap – which stands as the 11th-lowest among safeties.
Amos was a two-year starter before losing his spot to rookie Eddie Jackson earlier this year, only to return to the lineup in place of Quintin Demps who went on injured reserve with a broken arm. The third-year Penn State product has always been a sure-handed tackler, but his improvement in the passing game has made the Bears’ defense one of the first half’s most pleasant surprises.
- One explanation for the improved secondary play (which isn’t limited to Amos) is that the front seven has taken major strides in the pass rush department, thus, leading to a more opportunistic secondary. Leading the charge is second year edge rusher Leonard Floyd, who CBS Chicago’s Chris Emma writes is adapting and improving. Floyd recorded a sack in each of his last two games and in four of his last five. Brandon Staley, who is in his first year as Bears outside linebackers coach, sees Floyd as a player with a lot of talent who is just starting to scratch the surface of his potential and will continue to do so as he gains experience. “The more experiences that he has, the more aggressive that he’s going to be and the more he’s going to be able to counter those double-teams and some of those designer protection plans for him,” Staley told Emma.
- JJ Stankevitz of NBC Sports Chicago writes about a play that underscores how great the Bears’ defense has been this season. Stankevitz details how the Bears stopped Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton on a 4th-and-short by stopping the QB Power play, which often leads to a first down. Naturally, Leonard Floyd was in on the play … as were Eddie Goldman, Akiem Hicks, Danny Trevathan, and Adrian Amos. The improvement of the Bears defense has come from players taking steps forward and producing when called upon. This particular play highlights something GM Ryan Pace has done well since taking over in Chicago, and that’s scoop up high-end defensive talent via the draft (Goldman, Floyd, Amos) and in free agency (Hicks, Trevathan). That this defense is playing well because those players are leading the way is no coincidence.
- Perhaps there is something to be said about Floyd’s week-to-week development as he learns the ropes in the NFL in just his second year. Since starting the season with three consecutive weeks without a sack, Floyd has five since the team’s Week 5 contest against the Green Bay Packers. The Bears were facing a decimated line then, and could be in a similar position again because Green Bay is without starting right tackle Bryan Bulaga, who suffered a torn ACL in the Packers’ loss to the Detroit Lions on Monday Night Football.
- Bulaga isn’t the only high-profile Packers player who will miss Sunday’s game. Michael Cohen of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports tight end Martellus Bennett is out too, meaning there will be no Bennett reunion at Soldier Field this weekend. That obviously hurts the Packers’ passing game, but also the offense’s ability to help the line protect the quarterback by chipping with tight ends.
- The Packers’ walking wounded also includes safety Morgan Burnett, who played just 43 of 68 defensive snaps on Monday Night Football. Burnett had just returned to the lineup after dealing with a hamstring injury, but the safety who starts opposite of HaHa Clinton-Dix has already been ruled out.
- As we know all too well from watching a John Fox coached team pick up three relatively ugly victories, there is more than one way to
skin a catwin football games. It’s now up to Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy to conjure up a winning game plan without a quarterback. “We had an injury to Aaron Rodgers and nobody’s stepped up,” McCarthy told reporters in Green Bay. “No group has stepped up yet. We’ve had two games that were very similar in nature.
- All things considered, this could be why oddsmakers installed the Bears as early 3-point favorites. And to think, the line has only grown since Monday:
— Adam Hoge (@AdamHoge) November 8, 2017