Veteran safety Antrel Rolle doesn’t know what the vibe at Halas Hall was like last season. But he’s been told it’s strikingly different these days.
“It’s been cool,” Rolle said. “I hear guys who were here last season saying how things have changed already — for the better. That’s a positive.
“You always want to keep it that way. You always want to keep it uplifting and just keep trying to be the best we can be.”
It helps that Rolle, who signed a three-year contract, has had someone to connect with immediately. He joins former teammate Ryan Mundy at safety. They started nine games together for the New York Giants in 2013, and they’re excited about their reunion.
“We had a good run in New York – a really good run,” Mundy said. “I loved playing with Antrel. … I definitely think he’ll be a difference-maker for us.”
The Bears definitely need them after the two worst defensive seasons in team history.
Right now, Rolle and Mundy are the projected starters. But safety definitely remains a work in progress for general manager Ryan Pace during the draft and beyond. Rolle and Mundy are 32 and 30 years old, respectively.
Alabama’s Landon Collins was the only safety to attend the draft in Chicago and he wasn’t selected in the first round. Overall, it’s considered a weak draft at the position, but the Bears have done their due diligence looking at Alabama’s Nick Perry, Ole Miss’ Cody Prewitt and Northwestern’s Ibraheim Campbell.
The Bears did sign safety Malcolm Bronson 90 minutes before the draft opened. Bronson spent the 2013 season on the Kansas City Chiefs’ practice squad after going undrafted out of McNesse State. He had taken part in the Bears’ voluntary minicamp on a tryout basis and now joins second-year safety Brock Vereen as a reserve.
But again, it all starts with Rolle and Mundy.
“We definitely understand that our communication is pretty much the same,” Rolle said. “We understand each others’ eyes. We understand our weak points, out strong points and so far it’s been great. Communication is always good to start.”
Mundy said that in New York it helped that they weren’t limited to typical strong or free safety responsibilities. They moved between both spots.
“That played to our strengths,” Mundy said. “It would really give quarterbacks different looks.”
As far as the Bears’ scheme changes, Mundy said their 3-4 scheme is very similar to what the Pittsburgh Steelers run. Mundy spent four seasons with Pittsburgh.
“I’m just every excited,” he said. “Antrel, he’ll have a blast.”