Yesterday we talked about the Bears’ need for an impact safety. We said the team could benefit from an in the box safety to help in run support and let Chris Conte fight for his job again.
Conte deserves another chance to be the starting free safety. It’s not the popular opinion but it’s the smart and logical move.
Was Conte bad last season? Yes. At times he seemed loss and uncomfortable and teams went out of their way to expose him week in and week out.
Flash back to two seasons ago. Conte played and started in 15 games and played well. Of course this was in Lovie Smith and Rod Marinelli’s defense. Brian Urlacher was in front of Conte, Lance Briggs was on the field for most of the season as was Henry Melton and Charles Tillman.
The point is, Conte suffered the most from the coaching changes and lack of talent on defense. The Bears play a Cover 2 style and if things don’t go according to plan, it’s the single high safety who gets burned the most.
It’s likely Conte will never be a superstar safety. He just doesn’t have game changing talent like an Ed Reed. He lacks the ability to make a big play but very few safeties in the league can do that.
What Conte does do well is play within the confines of a strong defense. He works best when he can stay in his lane and not have to take chances. He’s a smart player with good size who can’t be matched up against superior speed one on one.
Keep in mind Conte is only 25-years-old. He’s 6’2”. 200 lbs. and there’s no way a team should give up on a player with those attributes so early. If the Bears get rid of Conte now, another team can swoop in and reap the benefits of a player who will redefine himself.
What the Bears need is insurance. There’s nothing wrong with bringing in a veteran safety to push and compete with Conte for the starting role.
You will see what Conte is made of if the Bears opt to bring in some competition for him. If he’s the real deal, he will bounce back and win the job outright. If not, then the Bears know they have damaged goods and need to move on from the three-year man out of California.
Having a guy like Craig Steltz only made things worse last year. He’s a solid special teams player but is in no way a starter. The Bears were forced to stick with Conte and it became a bad situation that got worse from week to week.
Who are the veteran options to push Conte? Who is the impact safety who can line up next to him? Here’s the link again to the article from yesterday.