Saturday, July 6, 2024

Another Mike Brown? Former Scout Thinks Bears Found It With New Arrival


The Chicago Bears have a long and storied history at the safety position. Richie Petitbon was one of the great ballhawks of his era, snagging 48 career interceptions. Gary Fencik was a smart, physical presence and one of the pivotal leaders of that iconic 1985 defense. Mark Carrier set a rookie record with 10 interceptions in 1990. Eddie Jackson was an All-Pro in 2018 with three interceptions for touchdowns. However, there is a special place in the hearts of Bears fans for Mike Brown. Many feel he was an underappreciated superstar who never reached his full potential because of injuries.

Brown was a two-time All-Pro, selected in the same draft class as Brian Urlacher. Thanks to his ball skills, physicality, and unequaled leadership, the Bears’ defense was always great whenever he was on the field. Many fans believe the team would’ve won Super Bowl XLI had he been on the field. The truth is the Bears have never quite found somebody like him since he left. Former scouting director Greg Gabriel believes that finally changed thanks to the team’s recent acquisition of Kevin Byard.

He believes the 30-year-old has the exact same qualities that made Brown great.

“Eddie Jackson was a good football player for the Bears, but he wasn’t exactly what was needed for the scheme to be efficient. What Jackosn lacked was a high degree of physicality in his game. Tacking and run support were not his strong points. With new safety Kevin Byard, that’s exactly what the Bears got. Byard is the same age as Jackson and has better ball skills, but he is much better in the run game. Byard is a big hitter and a sure tackler, and that type of play will make the Bears much better.

Kevin Byard is a player that I have long admired when he was with Tennessee. He was not only a playmaker but also a very physical player. Add to that his vocal leadership, and the Bears might have a safety who runs the back end similar to the way Mike Brown used to in the Lovie years. His leadership and presence will make the Bears’ D much better.”

Byard will embody what made Mike Brown great.

People should never underestimate what having an intelligent, charismatic safety can do for your defense. Jackson had the charisma, but it never felt like he seized control of how things were done. He left that to other guys. Byard has no problem speaking up when he feels adjustments must be made. It’s part of why he had so much success in Tennessee. The best part is that this defensive scheme under Matt Eberflus is tailor-made to his strengths as a player. The Tampa-2 loves versatile safeties. Ask John Lynch and Bob Sanders.

Mike Brown is obviously another. He always seemed to be in the right place at the right time, making things happen. Byard can do the same. Yes, the Bears may not have him around for long due to his age. Still, there is no reason to think he doesn’t have at least two good years left in him. If he plays at his customary level, then what Gabriel says is true. The Bears’ defense has found their sorely needed Brown 2.0, even if it’s for a short time. That can mean big things for 2024.

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Jul 6, 2024 8:44 am

Practically every other article poaches a quote from the Gridiron and Greg Gabriel. Someday maybe Lambert will have an original story. Na I doubt it. Not sure why I even come here to read this recycled old not really news. O ya I remember now…to Mock gena and sally for their arrogant ramblings. Have a nice day everyone else.

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