Bears

Eddie Jackson healthy, ready to bring center fielder range to Bears' secondary

Eddie Jackson healthy, ready to bring center fielder range to Bears' secondary

Eddie Jackson’s senior year at Alabama was cut short by a broken leg, but the Bears’ fourth-round pick doesn’t expect that injury to affect him in 2017. 

Jackson suffered his injury Oct. 22 returning a punt against Tennessee and missed the rest of Alabama’s season. 

“I’m just ready to get there and work with the training staff at the Bears,” Jackson said. “I know I’m gonna be ready for training camp 100 percent, no limitations.”

When healthy, Jackson was an electric playmaker — nine interceptions, 12 pass breakups and five total touchdowns — who worked initially as a cornerback and later as a safety at Alabama. Two of those scores came in 2016 as a punt returner, a position where he could make an immediate impact for the Bears.

“(The Bears) told me they liked me as a returner,” Jackson, who averaged 23 yards per punt return, said. “That’s one of the things they want to try me at, or see how well I do. All I’ve got to say is I’m just ready to come in and compete and work. You know, take advantage of every opportunity that’s given to me right now.”

Jackson moreso fits a Bears need as a rangy free safety, though he wasn’t a sure tackler with 16 missed tackles in 122 attempts from 2014-2016, according to Pro Football Focus. In addition to those nine interceptions (six of which came in his junior year), Jackson broke up 12 passes in four years, and in 2016, he limited opposing quarterbacks to a 38.3 passer rating when they threw his way. 

And Jackson turned three of his interceptions into touchdowns. For some context: Malik Hooker, the Colts’ 15th overall pick who was regarded as the best “center fielder” safety prospect this year, had three touchdowns on seven college interceptions. 

“When I get the ball, I feel like I turn into a receiver,” Jackson said. “It’s my mindset. I don’t think about going out of bounds, or think about going down, I think about touchdowns.”

The Bears only intercepted eight passes as a team last year, a void the team began to address with the signing of Quintin Demps (six interceptions in 2016) in March. Jackson will push Adrian Amos, who doesn’t have an interception in over 1,800 career plays. 

“I just feel like wherever I’m needed I can do it all,” Jackson said. “I’ll have good coaching they can teach me what I need to be taught and they talked to me about playing safety and special teams. I’m just looking forward to come out there and earn a spot and hopefully take us to a Super Bowl. It’s possible.”

Bears reportedly sign Marqui Christian, add to secondary in need

Bears reportedly sign Marqui Christian, add to secondary in need

According to reports, the Bears have signed defensive back Marqui Christian: 

Christian's a four-year veteran who's spent his entire career with the LA Rams. Terms of the deal haven't been disclosed yet. 

Christian's played 55 games in his NFL career, with his lone start coming last season. More of a special teams guy, Christian played almost 80% of the Rams' snaps there last season. He'll more than likely factor into the Bears' safety battle, where Deon Bush and Tashaun Gipson were slated to take equal snaps with the starters. If he makes the team, he'll be suspended for the first two games of the season. 

 

Bears confident Ted Ginn still has speed to burn at 35 years old

Bears confident Ted Ginn still has speed to burn at 35 years old

Bears wide receiver Ted Ginn has always been known for one thing: Speed.

Even at 35 years old, Ginn is considered one of the NFL's most dangerous vertical threats. He's been that guy since the Dolphins selected him in the first round of the 2007 NFL Draft, and while he hasn't been the most productive receiver from a catches and yards standpoint, he's entering his 14th season in the league for a reason. Speed matters on offense, even if it's just to serve as a decoy.

"You know he's still a 4.3 and he's still got it and so that's that fear factor that he still has and we're glad to have it," Bears wide receivers coach Mike Furrey said last week. "And when he lines up DBs are going to be scared to death that he's going to take the top off on them but I think you can add his route running into that, that he's a very veteran route-runner."

The Bears could use Ginn's speed after cutting ties with Taylor Gabriel earlier this offseason. Aside from Allen Robinson, Chicago's wide receiver room is full of what-ifs and maybes. Anthony Miller might evolve into an exceptional playmaker this season, or he could continue his pattern of inconsistent and frustrating play. Riley Ridley and Javon Wims are bigger and more physical catch-point guys. Darnell Mooney is a speedy rookie who has to beat the odds stacked against a sub-180-pound wideout.

So that leaves Ginn, who at the very least will force cornerbacks and safeties to pay attention to him on third-level routes. As a result, he'll open the second level for players like Robinson and tight ends Jimmy Graham and Cole Kmet to make plays in the intermediate passing game.

Don't expect Ginn to light up the box score in 2020, but he could help Chicago light up the scoreboard on offense.

 

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