Javon Wims may have been the headline-grabber from the Chicago Bears' 17-16 loss to the Baltimore Ravens in the 2018 Hall of Fame Game, but it was three young players in the defensive secondary who earned rave reviews from Pro Football Focus.
Doran Grant, 25, had the best overall grade of all Bears players with a 91.5. He excelled in coverage (91.9), snagging an interception off an ill-advised throw by Ravens rookie Lamar Jackson. Grant played 31 snaps.
Former fourth-round pick Deiondre' Hall, 24, played 44 snaps and finished the Hall of Fame Game with an 85.4 overall grade. He looks much more comfortable at free safety and scored well in coverage (80.8).
Deon Bush made his presence felt early in the game when he broke up a pass by walloping a Ravens receiver with a clean, but brutal, hit. It was part of a good all-around night for him, one that resulted in an 84.8 grade.
Other Bears defenders who graded well include nose tackle John Jenkins (77.9) and defensive linemen Nick Williams (76.2) and Abdullah Anderson (75.7).
NFL.com recently ranked all of the league's head coaches, because the football season may end but creating content never will.
The top tier consists of all the usual suspects ... except for the guy that literally won the league's award for best coach last season.
Matt Nagy came in at 14 on this list, and not even the highest-ranked NFC North coach. The reasoning is a tad suspect; here's what they had to say:
Matt Nagy more than delivered in his first year as the Bears' head coach, taking Chicago to the postseason for the first time since the 2010 season. What's interesting about Nagy is that his side of the ball is offense, and prior to getting hired by the Bears, he was known for his work with quarterbacks in Kansas City. Yet, it was Vic Fangio's defense that did most of the heavy lifting to get Chicago to the playoffs. A head coach does much more than run one side of the ball, though. In fact, some of them don't do that at all. They run the office, in some respects. Nagy clearly set a tone in the building, so to speak, which should not be taken lightly. Nor should Nagy's work with Mitch Trubisky, who showed improvement from Year 1 to Year 2. Why is Reich ahead of Rivera but not Nagy? Well, Nagy has yet to achieve postseason success and had stronger personnel than Reich did in 2018.
Is this fair? Probably not! But is this important? Definitely not! Still - give your incumbent COY some more love, NFL. Club Dub! Yelling boom! The visors!
Pro Football Focus doesn’t seem to expect much regression for the Bears defense, at least when it comes to run defense.
PFF analyst Mike Renner ranked every team’s ability to stop the ground game, heading into 2019, and Chicago remains on top.
The team retained its entire front seven, top-to-bottom, with the exception of Sam Acho, who spent most of last season on injured reserve anyway.
One of the biggest keys, in Renner’s analysis, is Akiem Hicks, who was among Pro Football Focus’ top performers in the running game.
“The former Saint is proving himself one of the best free agent additions in recent memory,” Renner wrote. “His 13.3 run-stop percentage was the second-highest figure of any interior defender in the NFL last season.”
The Bears allowed the fewest rushing yards and rushing touchdowns of any defense last season, and the 3.8 yards per attempt they gave up was fourth best.
With the whole gang back together for 2019, the team is in a great spot to run it back under Chuck Pagano.