Training camp generally is a zero-sum game — a good defensive play usually is a bad one for the offense and vice-versa. So take it for what it’s worth that the beleaguered Bears secondary produced four interceptions in practice Sunday.
Regardless, any time defensive backs take advantage of an opportunity for a takeaway, it’s usually a good thing. Two of the interceptors were particularly noteworthy: Cornerback Kyle Fuller made a dazzling, diving interception along the sideline of a Mark Sanchez pass for Kevin White. And rookie safety Eddie Jackson showed good anticipation in picking off Mitch Trubisky on a ball intended for Rueben Randle.
Prince Amukamara, the only sure starter at cornerback intercepted a Mike Glennon pass for Deonte Thompson and second-year safety DeAndre Houston-Carson intercepted Sanchez just prior to the Fuller pick.
“I’ve always been a believer that you get what you emphasize, and we’ve emphasized it quite a bit as a staff … since last season was over,” Bears coach John Fox said. “You gotta walk before you run, so this is a good place to start, practicing it and seeing what the results are.”
The Bears have had little sustained success in recent years signing veteran defensive backs to solidify the secondary and help develop their home-grown talent — cornerback Tracy Porter and safeties Ryan Mundy and Antrell Rolle. All three ultimately were done in by injury issues.
Amukamara is another roll of the dice — he’s had injury issues the past three seasons, is on his thire team in three seasons and had no interceptions with the Jaguars last year. But safety Quintin Demps seems like a veteran the Bears can hang their hat on. He’s coming off a career year — six interceptions with the Texans in 2016. And the team he left wanted him back.
“He’s a veteran guy who had a heck of a year getting the football,” Bears secondary coach Ed Donatell said. “He’s good. He brings a veteran calmness to our secondary, which is important.”
Amukamara had a good offseason, Donatell said.
“We’re tapping into his coaching and his experiences, and we’re looking for a career-best year for him,” Donatell said. “We’re looking for his ball production to spike. He’s transitioning to our team quite well.”
Jackson is an x-factor. He’s finally fully recovered from a broken leg he suffered on a punt return against Texas A&M last Oct. 22. He was a playmaker in the secondary and on punt returns in college. Donatell said Jackson, coming from Alabama, is “primed” to make the transition to the NFL.
“When he gets his shots, time will tell,” Donatell said. “We’ll see what he’s got.”
Fox has liked what he’s seen from Jackson.
“My experience has been when a guy has punt return ability they can play and track the ball a little bit like an outfielder,” Fox said. “He’s got good ball skills.”
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