The Chicago Bears defense dominated throughout the early portions of training camp but the biggest boost of all to the defense was the return of defensive tackle Eddie Goldman. After opting out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19 concerns, Goldman returns to the NFL, after not having playing since week 17 of the 2019 season.
With Chicago breaking in a new defensive coordinator in Sean Desai, adding Goldman to a front seven that includes Khalil Mack, Akiem Hicks, Roquan Smith, and Bilal Nichols means that the Bears are looking to crank up the pass rush. Luckily, Goldman’s presence allows the Bears pass rush to be more aggressive.
By taking on multiple double teams, Goldman sets Hicks and Mack up in one-on-one situations, making it easier for both to get after the quarterback. By being a presence in the running game, Goldman will let Smith’s speed flourish as Smith will be free to get into the backfield to make plays easily.
Cranking up Chicago’s pass rush buys the Bears secondary time in pass coverage. After moving on from Pro Bowl cornerback Kyle Fuller earlier in the offseason, the Bears will look to second-round pick Jaylon Johnson and veteran Desmond Trufant to fill the void.
“It feels amazing,” said Nichols regarding Goldman’s return.”Number one, we all know what type of caliber player Eddie is. Pro Bowler, best in his position. Just to have a dominant guy like that, right back with you, holding down the middle with Akiem on the other side, it’s amazing. We feel like we back to full strength now.”
When the Bears take the field on September 12th against the Los Angeles Rams, Goldman’s impact will be noticeable the first time that the defense takes the field. As Chicago continues training camp, Goldman’s progression from his year-long absence will be one to continue monitoring.