The Chicago Bears didn’t add a marquee safety this offseason to upgrade a huge position of need, though they did at least re-sign Charles Tillman and draft impressive first-round pick Kyle Fuller to help boost the cornerback position. Chris Conte isn’t a terrible player, but he sure as heck had a terrible year under defensive coordinator Mel Tucker. Departed starting safety Major Wright was even worse, though, to be fair, both players were severely impacted by arguably the league’s most porous front seven.
Today, Michael C. Wright of ESPN Chicago reports that the Bears will employ Conte and offseason signing Ryan Mundy as their starting safeties, with Mundy playing an in-the-box role and Conte starting at FS. These two should have clearly defined roles, as Conte, contrary to his horrific blown coverage on a fateful play I don’t need to describe in detail, is more a coverage safety, whereas Mundy is clearly more of a run-support player.
It isn’t a surprise to hear that the Bears are rolling with Conte and Mundy as their starting safeties, as these were the projected starters assuming Conte was healthy. That said, this could be a really bad safety duo if Conte doesn’t bounce back, because the onus is on him to provide steady downfield coverage. If he can’t do that, then Mundy could also get exposed badly when he does have to cover faster wideouts vertically. Their starting jobs are far from safe, of course, as rookie Brock Vereen will continue to be a darkhorse.
Per Wright, Conte’s starting spot is contingent on him being medically cleared from offseason surgery.