Through three preseason games, the Bears still have a questionable nickel situation
One of the big battles this offseason for the Bears was the nickel position. It has been expected to be a battle between Cre’Von LeBlanc and Bryce Callahan. Both spent some time there in 2016, and both were brought back to jockey for position in 2017.
Callahan has missed the last two games with an ankle injury. It should have opened the door for LeBlanc to step up and grab hold of the job. However, he has yet to takeover in these past two weeks.
LeBlanc played most of the second preseason game. He had some ups, but they came crashing to a halt with some downs and big plays were given up. Week three saw a lot of the same for LeBlanc. He played almost the entirety of the game.
In some points, he was manning up on slot receivers and tight ends, showing his upside. In others, he was letting receivers get past him and was dragged for extra yards early by a rookie Taywan Taylor.
Without LeBlanc taking advantage, Callahan has been able to sit back, get healthy and maintain the same standing he had with the coaches before his injury. That is a huge plus to his stock. Of course, if he does not get on the field in week four of the preseason, it will not matter, the team will have to go with what they know in LeBlanc.
Still, to say that this is a fluid situation is a bit of an understatement. Every practice rep, every preseason snap and every injury status of Callahan should be monitored as the team tries to nail down their starting lineup in the next week or so.
At this point, the only thing that is safe to say is that the Bears nickel cornerback will not be the strongest unit of this defense entering the season.