2015 Chicago Bears Grades: Secondary in transition phase
2015 Chicago Bears Grades
The Bears big money additions failed to make a substantive impact to the secondary for the 2015 season. Nearly every free agent signing flamed out or ended in injury, however there remains hope for 2016 that the Bears secondary based off of the contributions of younger players and veterans that they can become a formidable unit in 2016.
Alan Ball — After being signed from Jacksonville for a $3M contract. Pro Football Focus rated him as the top defensive player from Jacksonville in 2013. After battling injuries in 2014, he signed with the Bears expected to compete for a starting job along side Kyle Fuller. Ball never really gained traction in Chicago after a brutal week one outing against James Jones, it wasn’t that Jones was beating him badly, but Aaron Rodgers put the ball in a perfect spot and made the pass indefensible. After a nice goal line stand at the end of the first half against Seattle, Ball was relegated to special teams duty for the rest of the year. Ball isn’t expected to be re-signed.
Tracy Porter — Tracy Porter signed with the Bears on June 8 for a league minimum contract. While he battled a hamstring injury throughout the preseason and the first few weeks of the season, he emerged as the Bears most dynamic cornerback in 2015. His biggest game was on Thanksgiving in Green Bay where he had an interception and helped slow the Packer passing attack enough to provide the Bears their only divisional win in 2015. Porter has had a relation with Bears GM Ryan Pace since their Super Bowl in 2009 and Porter played for Fox in Denver. It is expected that Porter will return and continue to thrive as a starter for the Bears in 2016.
Kyle Fuller — After getting drafted by the Bears in 2014, Fuller had a minimal impact after week 3, it was after week three that Kyle Fuller started to appear as an NFL caliber corner. He had brutal outings against Green Bay and Arizona to start off the year, and it required a public call-out by Vic Fangio for Fuller to improve his performance. He had an interception against the Vikings in November, but as a first round pick, he is expected to make impact plays more often and on a more consistent basis. He didn’t emerge as the playmaker that Phil Emery had in mind, and Ryan Pace and John Fox have to be considering tampering their expectations for him going forward.
#Bears GM Ryan Pace on Kyle Fuller: "I think he's an ascending player and we have a lot of confidence in him."
— Zach Zaidman (@ZachZaidman) January 4, 2016
Sherrick McMannis — After starting the year as the Bears nickel-back, McMannis had a rough year in coverage, rating near the bottom of Pro Football Focus’ list of cover corners. He was responsible for allowing a Stefon Diggs touchdown in Soldier Field. He had minimal contribution on special teams and shouldn’t be back as a Bear next year.
Bryce Callahan — As an undrafted free agent, Callahan was expected to make a limited impact on the year. As the year progressed, he gained trust from the coaching staff and emerged as a steady nickel-back in the second half of the season. He battled injury towards the end of the season, but he should have a chance to keep his position as nickel-back and compete for a roster spot in 2016.
Antrel Rolle A— fter being signed as a free agent, Rolle was expected to provide stability and leadership to a Bears secondary in desperate need of both after 2014. Unfortunately for the Bears and Rolle, Rolle battled injuries in 2015 and never could quite make the impact both the team and himself had in mind. He continued to provide leadership and coaching despite being injured but it’s not the same as stabilizing the defensive backfield on the field.
Adrian Amos — The only Bears defensive player to play every snap in 2015, Amos provided more than he bargained for as a fifth round pick. While he didn’t force a turnover, he was seldom out-of-place and his technique was sound. He emerged as a contributor and as a steadying force on the back-end of the defense for years to come.
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) November 20, 2015
Chris Prosinski — After being signed as a special teams player after week 3, Prosinski emerged as a starter after Rolle was placed on injured reserve. He had his best game against Green Bay forcing an Eddie Lacy fumble, but faltered in the weeks that followed and ultimately was replaced by rookie undrafted free agent Harold Jones-Quartley.
Harold Jones-Quartey — Another undrafted free agent who managed to contribute to the Bears secondary in 2015, Jones-Quartey spot started as a replacement for Antrel Rolle and Prosinski throughout the year. He looked steady and competent in limited action.
Overall, the Bears secondary remained a weak link on the team, however with another year of coaching by Vic Fangio and Ed Donatell, the Bears have a mix of young talent and savvy veterans that should make the unit take another step towards respectability in 2016 as the Bears look to compete for a playoff spot.