Right now, the Bears know they have a good amount of depth in their secondary. After that is when things get uncertain.
Between now and September 13th, the Bears have to figure out who's going to start next to Eddie Jackson, who's going to start across from Kyle Fuller, and who's going to fill in when (or if, but, you know) that first soft-tissue injury pops up. Depth and quality are by no means synonymous, but there's a lot of optimism inside Halas Hall that 2020's group of DBs are a special unit.
"We've got a safety situation where we've got great competition back there," defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano said during a call with media on Thursday afternoon. "We've got it at corner. For that matter, we always talk about, it's young guys' jobs to come in here and take old guys' jobs and it's old guys' jobs – veteran guys that have jobs – to hold those guys off. There's computation everywhere."
Still – from the sounds of it, the situation at corner isn't as murky as it's been made to be. Though many expected 2020 second-round pick Jaylon Johnson to win the CB2 job as a rookie, the odds are stacked pretty heavily against him right now; not only is Johnson still limited coming off shoulder surgery, but Pagano admitted that getting up to speed this quickly, under these circumstances, is a tall task. With vets like Buster Skrine, Kevin Toliver, and Artie Burns, the Bears feel like they have at least a little bit of time to let Johnson find his rhythm.
"They are starting behind the 8-ball, so to speak," he said. "Fortunately, we’re pretty deep at that spot ... so the good thing is it’s not like he has to come in and he has to be the No. 2 or No. 3 guy right now."
Behind them is where the real competition is, apparently. Technically Deon Bush is the incumbent, but he's been a special teams guy for the majority of his time in Chicago. The team signed Taushaun Gipson back in April, and conventional wisdom pointed towards Gipson and his 23 career interceptions (Bush: 0) getting the nod. But as Phase 2 of the Bears' ramp-up gets underway, that job's as open as any on the roster.
"When we talked to Tashaun about coming, we laid it all out there and we talked to Deon, and we we said, ‘Here’s how it’s going to roll,'" Pagano said. "They’re going to get an equal number of snaps with the 1's and they’re going to have to come in here and compete day after day after day. It’s going to be a little bit different, obviously, with no preseason but we’re going to create the competition and create the situations to where we can do an honest eval on those guys and give them both an opportunity to win that job."