Chicago Bears: Adrian Amos Could be Difference Maker


The safety position has been an issue for the Chicago Bears for a long time. After years of trying to get by with the likes of Major Wright and Chris Conte at the position, the Bears finally seem to be finding some legitimate NFL talent.

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Antrel Rolle was brought in as a free agent this off season, and he is the most established player in the entire Bears’ secondary and the best at the safety position since the Mike Brown days.

Fellow veteran safety Ryan Mundy expected to bring some nice depth to the position, but his recent placement on IR obviously puts a wrinkle in that plan. With Mundy on IR, there is little room for error at the safety position opposite of Rolle.

New Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio is bringing his 3-4 defense to Chicago this season, and it will show major changes across the board. In a typical Fangio defense, one safety plays primarily in the box, while the other plays coverage in the deep middle of the field.

Jul 30, 2015; Bourbonnais, IL, USA; Chicago Bears defensive back Antrel Rolle (31) during practice at Olivet Nazarene University. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Barring injury, the veteran Rolle will have the “in-the-box” safety position covered, but the deep coverage safety is a much bigger question for the team at this moment. Second-year player Brock Vereen received the first crack at the position, but it was not long before the Bears realized that he was not the best option.

Now listed as the first-team safety opposite of Rolle on the depth chart is rookie Adrian Amos, whose coverage skills make him a potentially dynamic player for this ever-changing Bears’ defensive unit.

The Bears drafted Amos in the fifth round of the draft this past spring. He starred in college for Penn State playing both the safety and cornerback positions. At Penn State, Amos’ natural athleticism and coverage skills showed up in an obvious manner.

Amos is a smooth defender. Watch him for just a few minutes, and you will not doubt his ability in coverage. However, his ability to step up and defend the run has always been questioned. That being said, in the early preseason action Amos has shown a nice ability to step up and make a play when needed.

As the deep safety, the Bears will rarely ask Amos to make plays in the box, but it has been nice to see him answer those questions about his game in the early going.

August 2, 2015: Fifth round rookie safety Adrian Amos during Chicago Bears Training Camp at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, IL.

A fifth round rookie being named a starter this early on in his career is an impressive feat. While it may say something about the Bears’ lack of defensive depth, it is clear that the that Amos has impressed the coaching staff early on. His ability in coverage makes him a great fit to be the last line of defense as the deep safety in Fangio’s defense.

The veteran Rolle sure appears to be a big fan of the rookie safety. “Amos has been good. I think he’s feeling very comfortable back there,” said Rolle, according to Mike DeCourcy of Sporting News. “There’s a lot of communication between him and myself and we’re only going to get better. That’s the plan.”

Another interesting tidbit from DeCourcy in that piece was his mentioning of Bears’ head coach John Fox comparing Amos’ situation to Denver Broncos cornerback Chris Harris. Fox coached Harris in Denver, and he has grown into one of the premier cornerbacks in the NFL after going undrafted in 2011.

"When questioned if it was odd to have a later-round pick in such a prominent position as Amos has assumed, new Chicago coach John Fox mentioned the name of Chris Harris, who made the Pro Bowl for him last season with Denver. “So you don’t know. These guys start the race all different places,” Fox said. “You just watch them compete and how they execute. He’s caught our eye for sure."

No matter how it is looked at, Amos is an extremely talented player who has supreme upside in Fangio’s new defense in Chicago. His ability in coverage should immediately help improve the Bears’ pass defense which ranked 30th in the NFL last season by allowing 264.4 yards per game through the air.

To be honest, it would be difficult for the combination of Rolle and Amos to be much worse than the players who the Bears have been throwing out there recently. Right away, I expect the position to be a major improvement this season. However, if Amos can show signs of reaching his potential this season, safety could quickly become a position of strength for the Bears’ defense in 2015.

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