The Chicago Bears have long been one of the better defensive clubs in the NFL, carrying a tradition led by many Hall of Fame inductees. With some of the guys on the current defense aging, now is the time for the younger players to keep improving and stepping up into leadership roles for the team.
Third year safety Chris Conte is looking to do just that heading into the 2013 campaign. In his two years, Conte has gone from an unproven rookie to a solidified starter on the Bears and the coaches continue to like what he has brought to the club.
In 2012, Conte totaled 68 tackles, two interceptions, a fumble recovery and nine passes defensed. The former California prospect will likely improve upon those numbers in the coming season as he is excelling throughout this year’s training camp.
Conte has been one of the hardest-working guys on the field during camp so far, taking every single drill as serious as a live game. He has played especially well during the full-team scrimmages that the Bears have implemented throughout the practices this year.
The 24-year old safety already has a couple of interceptions in camp and each time has looked to take it all the way back for a score, causing the thousands of Bears fans watching in Bourbonnais, IL to erupt with excitement and approval. He represents the Bears’ mentality of flocking to the ball to the absolute fullest, never giving up on the play.
Conte possesses a unique frame, standing 6’2” and has increased his athleticism since entering the NFL. In his first season, he looked quite slow at times and his skills in the zone were still very raw. In just two short seasons, Conte has become a much better player overall and Chicago trusts him at the starting free safety spot.
I expect Conte to continue having success for the Bears this year, hopefully tacking on a couple more interceptions and furthering his skills in protecting the third level of defense. With his constant improvement and work ethic, Chicago could be set at the position for many years to come.