BOURBONNAIS — When quarterback Mitch Trubisky decided to enter “Zero Dark 10” mode and take a break from social media, he did so to avoid everything, good and bad.
“I’m trying to put all my focus and energy into this game,” he said. “Whatever anyone else says on the outside, whether it be positive or negative or hype or just trying to tear me down, it really doesn’t matter to me.”
Trubisky has taken right guard Kyle Long with him off the grid. And if they’re looking for more teammates to delete some apps from their phones, it sounds as if fourth-year safety Adrian Amos would be happy to join them.
Similar to Trubisky, Amos has some hype and criticism to avoid. But interestingly, it’s the hype that has prompted the criticism.
Pro Football Focus — the notable analytics group that many teams, including the Bears, use in some capacity — graded Amos as one of the best safeties in the league last season. PFF put him on their All-Pro team with Vikings safety Harrison Smith.
But PFF wasn’t done there. It listed Amos among players who are on the cusp of becoming elite this season.
The result was probably more attention on social media than Amos’ play warranted.
The Bears saw improvement in Amos. Beyond being a reliable, physical tackler in 10 starts, Amos had a 90-yard pick-six against the Ravens. It was one of the highlights of the season. He also forced two fumbles.
By all accounts, Amos is a good player. He still should be considered on the rise, too, particularly on a defense with nearly every starter returning.
But “elite” players typically have more than one interception on their resume. Smith, for instance, had five interceptions last season, giving him 17 in his six-year career.
Smith also was named an actual first-team All-Pro safety last season with Kevin Byard, who had eight interceptions and two fumble recoveries for the Titans.
To his credit, Amos doesn’t seem to be reading too much into Pro Football Focus’ review of him.
“You just got to keep working,” Amos said. “It’s good to be put in the category with other great players and stuff like that, but it’s all just about that next game, that next practice and just trying to get better. I know there’s a lot of things I want to improve in myself.”
Of course, the improvement starts by producing more takeaways. Amos knows that.
“You want to get interceptions, you want to get takeaways,” he said.
Amos has the video-game world to ignore, too. Perhaps following PFF’s lead, “Madden NFL 19” made Amos the Bears’ highest rated player with a 90.
Players typically obsess over their Madden grades, good or bad. Just look at their responses on social media when grades are released. But Amos seemed unaffected by his rating. It’s more praise to ignore.
“I don’t know,” Amos said. “It’s cool. Maybe, I’ll put myself at receiver or something and see if I can run some routes. I don’t know.”
If anything, Amos deserves to be praised for how he became part of the conversation in the first place. His resolve and resiliency resonated with the Bears.
A year ago at this time, Amos became an afterthought in camp, despite starting 30 games in his first two seasons. He took a back seat to Quintin Demps, a veteran free-agent addition who was voted a captain, and Eddie Jackson, a 2017 fourth-round pick who quickly became a Week 1 starter.
Amos got his chance at redemption only after Demps suffered a broken arm in Week 3 against the Steelers. PFF didn’t have much to grade before that.
“I’m self-motivated,” Amos said. “I have my goals every year for myself, each and every season, each and every practice. Since I was young, I look to myself for my motivation.”
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