The Bears defense as a whole had an up-and-down start to the season between Week 1 and Week 2. But one constant was the effective play of their run defense. So far this year, the Bears are surrendering a pedestrian 3.3 YPC average, which ranks fifth-best in the NFL. The scary part is, it could get even better.
After missing the first two weeks of the regular season, there’s a chance Eddie Goldman could return to the defensive line when the Bears take on the Browns.
“Oh man, I love that dude, man,” said Khalil Mack earlier this month. “I love Eddie G. Yeah. He does everything you need him to do: rush the passer, play the run, take up double teams. And he does it very, very, very effectively. Just knowing the type of person that Eddie is, he does it and don't even care about all the extra things that come with it. And that's the type of guys that I love playing with.”
Whenever Bears defenders start talking about the most underrated players on their side of the ball, Goldman’s name seems to always come up. It’s because, like Mack said, Goldman does a whole lot from the nose tackle position. By soaking up blocks, clogging rushing lanes and pushing the pocket, Goldman not only affects the game himself, but also makes everyone else’s job easier.
“A lot of the guys feel real confident in Eddie,” said Sean Desai. “He’s a big, physical presence in the middle of the defense, and that becomes a real calming factor for a lot of guys that are around him, to his left and his right and the guys stacked behind him. I think the guys will be looking forward to it and I know Eddie’s looking forward to getting back.”
Even guys who haven’t played with Goldman yet, like Robert Quinn, are looking forward to his return and seeing how he can elevate their play.
“Since I got here all I’ve heard is good things about Eddie G,” Quinn said. “Him taking on double and triple teams and still knocking the back in the backfield. You put up the whole line. Are you going to double team Khalil? Eddie? Bilal? Akiem? Me? You’ve got to pick your poison... Eddie, from what I see, can handle the run by himself, and that creates longer down and distances. So I think it’s just overall going to be a great thing for the team. I’m a newer guy here and all I heard was good things, so I’m just ready to see him get active out there.”
When he’s not out there, Goldman is still helping the team. Although he’s known as a pretty chill, quiet, low-key dude, he’s taken up a mentorship role with some of the other linemen.
“Eddie will come to me after a series in the game, whatever the case may be, practice, whatever, and be like, ‘I really like the way you took on this block, you did a really good job,’” said Bilal Nichols. “Or he’ll tell me, ‘You want to clean this up, clean that up.’ He’s been huge. Even though he hasn’t been able to physically be on the field, his presence is still there.”
While his presence may be felt, even on the sideline, there’s no replacement for his presence on the field. If things keep trending the way they are now, Goldman may finally take the field, for the first time since 2019. Opposing running backs, beware.