Sunday, July 7, 2024

Former Exec Warns Tremaine Edmunds Will Have Big Rebound Year

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Many players on the Chicago Bears defense were praised for their efforts in turning the unit around last season. Jaylon Johnson and Montez Sweat were at the forefront, dominating their respect duties. T.J. Edwards was also outstanding. Even rookies Gervon Dexter and Tyrique Stevenson were credited for their rapid improvement. Yet one name didn’t get much credit and seemed to catch a lot of ridicule for his play last season. That was middle linebacker Tremaine Edmunds.

Chicago signed him to a lucrative four-year deal in free agency last spring. GM Ryan Poles and head coach Matt Eberflus felt he had the size, length, athleticism, and speed to be a menace patrolling the middle of the field. On paper, he had a strong year with 113 tackles and four interceptions despite missing two games. However, lots of fans felt he underachieved. Even if that’s the case, former scouting director Greg Gabriel warns the doubters that Edmunds is poised for a major statement year.

Why? Namely, because his head won’t be swimming anymore.

Being that I’m from Buffalo and a Bills fan, I know how good Tremaine Edmunds is. We still haven’t seen that player, but I’m confident we will in 2024. One area where he shines is in coverage. With his height and length, he can be a force in the middle zones. His length makes it much more difficult for quarterbacks to throw over the middle. His four interceptions showed that.

Where I am looking for improvement from Edmunds is with his run defense. While he finished the year with 113 total tackles, he is capable of 130 or more. I felt that, being in a new scheme, he was reacting more than anticipating for a good part of 2023. His numbers will improve because he will be a better anticipator this year with his experience in the scheme. One thing is certain: there are few linebackers in the League that have the physical traits that Edmunds possesses, and this year will see a more dominant player.

The numbers back up this statement on Tremaine Edmunds.

Through the first half of 2023, his production wasn’t anything special. He had 63 tackles, one interception, and three passes defended. Then, the switch seemed to flip. Over his final seven games, he had 50 tackles, three interceptions, a forced fumble, and four passes defended. Edmunds was around the football a lot more. He also tackled far better. He missed ten tackles in those first nine games. That dropped to only four over the remaining seven. Edmunds was a much better football player down the stretch.

Gabriel is correct. Once he gained mastery of Eberflus’ defensive system, he started playing much better. Now, he will go into 2024 with no concerns about having to absorb a brand-new defense. He should have the calls and alignments down to a science. Making adjustments and getting guys in the right positions will be his bread and butter. If the front four does its job as intended, Tremaine Edmunds should make a lot of big plays this year. Maybe then the critics will learn to appreciate him.

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