Remember Mike Brown? Of course you do. A player doesn’t return overtime interceptions for touchdowns in back-to-back weeks in miracle fashion and become forgotten.
Brown will live in Bears lore not only for those great moments back in the 2001 season, but also for his opportunistic playmaking skills throughout the early part of his career. He was a smart, educated player who was a student of the game. He was the quarterback of the secondary who made sure his teammates were lined up correctly. He put guys in positions to make plays, himself most of all.
Unfortunately for Brown, he seemed to be cursed by injuries in the latter half of his career. That was the Curse of Mike Brown back then. Ever since his retirement, the Bears have struggled to find stability at safety. Call that the Curse of Mike Brown now.
The Bears are hoping the additions they made this offseason can help clear up that problem. They brought in veteran Pro Bowl safety Adrian Wilson, as well as Ryan Mundy and M.D. Jennings. They also drafted Brock Vereen, a guy who comes from good family football pedigree. And don’t forget that Chris Conte guy. Then, there’s the wild card of Danny McCray, a veteran of the Dallas Cowboys who played most special teams. He’s turned some heads during training camp.
The problem the Bears now face is how to assemble a starting duo using all these pieces. Each one comes with both positives and negatives, starting with Wilson. Although he’s a five-time Pro Bowler and three-time All-Pro, he’s also set to turn 35 this October, so he’s only a short-term solution at best.
Mundy is a solid veteran but far from a spectacular player.
Packers fans will tell you about their disdain for Jennings, and he doesn’t appear to be in line for a starting gig.
Vereen may have the best upside but he’s a rookie who needs to learn the game at this level.
McCray will likely stay a special teamer if he makes the team.
And Conte… oy. I had high hopes for him out of college, but I was incredibly disappointed with his performance last year.
The preseason should hopefully solve some questions about the depth chart at safety, and maybe some tandem will emerge as the right pair to start the season.