Since the start of training camp, the Chicago Bears have played musical chairs with both of their safety positions. After having the worst safety tandem in the NFL last season, the Bears spent all offseason trying to improve the backend of the secondary via free agency and the 2014 NFL Draft. With numerous options in their possession, Chicago still hasn’t come close to anointing starters at either position.
Coming into camp, the Bears had Ryan Mundy and rookie Brock Vereen penciled in as the first-team strong and free safety respectively. As camp went on, Vereen then shared time in the secondary with M.D. Jennings. Later on, defensive coordinator Mel Tucker decided to try the combo of Danny McCray and 14-year veteran Adrian Wilson. Chicago’s latest practice had Mundy and Wilson together with the rest of the defensive starters.
Players who still haven’t had a chance to get into the mix are Craig Steltz and last year’s starting free safety Chris Conte. Both Steltz and Conte entered training camp on the physically unable to perform list with injuries to the groin and the shoulder respectively. Steltz will more than likely have a chance to make the 53-man roster strictly for his special teams skills, while Conte could actually compete for his starting spot.
From the look of things, this riddle among the safety positions won’t be close to being solved until the conclusion of the third preseason game against the defending Super Bowl champions, the Seattle Seahawks. That’s when the starters traditionally play the majority of the game. If you ask me, I still think that Wilson and Vereen are still the favorites to be the opening day starters at strong and free safety respectively.
Excluding Steltz and Conte, we will get the first real look at all of the safeties this Friday versus the Philadelphia Eagles, the Bears’ first preseason game.