Chicago Bears: Way-too-early prediction of 2021 Week 1 defensive starters
These safeties are most likely to start Week 1 for the Chicago Bears
This is another easy defensive position to predict. Similar to the linebacker positions, the safety position is being manned by the same two players who filled the positions in 2020. When it comes to turnovers, specifically interceptions, the Chicago Bears defense only came away with 10 last season. This was tied for the fifth-lowest in the league. Interestingly, the defense grabbed the same amount in 2019. This is a big difference compared to what they did in 2018 (27).
Obviously, the secondary is not the only position responsible for grabbing interceptions, but the group must make a bigger impact. The starting secondary only had three of the 10 interceptions last season. Two were from the safeties and one from Kyle Fuller. Both positions must find a way to do better this year.
Starting Safeties: Eddie Jackson and Tashaun Gipson
It will be interesting to see how Eddie Jackson performs this year. He had a down year last year but was fabulous in both 2018 and 2019. His 2018 numbers were so good that people think he had a down year in 2019 too, but that’s not the case. Jackson might have only had two interceptions but he allowed less than 54% of the targets headed in his direction to be completed. He also only allowed one touchdown and a quarterback rating of 57.6. He will be fine this season.
Tashaun Gipson will be the first safety to lineup next to Jackson for the second year in a row since Adrian Amos. That was the year Jackson became one of the best safeties in the NFL. Could familiarity be the key to Jackson hitting on all cylinders? Gipson had an average year in 2020. He gave up 63.6% of the passes thrown towards him. He allowed three touchdowns and a 96.3 quarterback rating while being targeted also.
The hope here is that Jackson and Gipson can perform better than they did last year. This defense needs to have playmakers. Jackson has been one in the past, can he do it again?