After spending all of last season on the practice squad, 2012 sixth-round pick cornerback Isaiah Frey is looking like a very good nickel corner for the Chicago Bears this season.
It’s unfortunate that his rise came at the expense of a torn hamstring to veteran Kelvin Hayden, but that’s just the way it is in sports.
Last year, Frey — who attended the University of Nevada — didn’t seem to have a strong grasp of the defense, however, that couldn’t be further from the case in 2013.
Since training camp started, coaches and players on the Bears have raved about his playmaking abilities as they were on display nearly every practice. And that certainly translated over to the field this preseason as he has four tackles, a couple of pass breakups and an interception in the first three games.
He’s rarely been out of position, and plays with a ton of energy while relying on strong instincts and trust of their system. It’s a very good thing for the Bears as they’re trying to find younger faces to have for the future. If he continues to build on what he’s done so far, that would mean the secondary has three talented players all 25 years old or younger in him, Chris Conte and Major Wright.
The nickel position is extremely important to the Bears’ defense, and for pretty much all defenses in this passing league. In fact, the position is considered just as important as any other starting spot on the defense. Many feared this would be a glaring weakness when Hayden went down, but Frey has stepped up in his sophomore season and separated himself as a potentially dynamic playmaker at the spot.
Of course, doing well against the Carolina Panthers, San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders isn’t the most difficult thing to do. So, the first five weeks of the season will be very telling as the Bears take on the potent passing attacks of the Cincinnati Bengals, Detroit Lions and New Orleans Saints.
If he holds up well there, Bears fans, players and coaches alike can all feel much more comfortable with him on the field. All indications point to him being a solid contributor this year, and I’m definitely excited to watch him progress through the season.