Ryan Mundy on Bears’ starting safety job: “It’s open competition”
BOURBONNAIS – Comfort should come from a few of his moments from the 2014 season.
Granted there weren’t a lot from a Bears season that finished with just five wins and a defense that was at the bottom of the league. It wasn’t for lack of trying on the part of Ryan Mundy.
In his first year with the Bears he led the team in tackles, interception and even scored the defense’s only touchdown of the season. Even with a new staff, Mundy should be viewed as one of the strong spots in a Bears team in need of a lot of tweaking.
But standing in front of the microphones on another warm day in Bourbonnais following the fifth practice of his second training camp with the Bears, his words didn’t make him seems as sure about his future as his play did last fall.
“From my understanding it’s an open competition,” said Mundy to reporters. “This is training camp and there is competition at every level of the defense.”
Really? Why would he think that? Especially with there not being a player on the roster likely to supplant him at that spot.
“That’s a better question for the coaches,” said Mundy. “My job as a player, I don’t always control the decisions that are made but I can control how I respond to them.”
That could seem a bit demoralizing for the six-year veteran who finally found a solid place as a starter after four years as a reserve with the Steelers and the Giants. He started just 14 games during those years in Pittsburgh and New York but beat that with 16 starts for the Bears last season.
His 103 tackles and four interceptions were a career-high by far in both categories and were also the top for the Bears on defense. An interception return of 45 yards in Week 3 against the Jets was the only defensive touchdown of the years for the Bears last year.
It would seem that Vic Fangio would want Mundy to have a starting role in the defense this year but the safety believes his job is wide open. Not like it’s getting him too down after five practices at Olivet Nazarene University.
“I’ve just been positive about it, uplifting my teammates and making sure they’re getting better, I’m getting better, and we’re out here working hard,” said Mundy of the first few practices of camp. “Last year was last year and even though I had a good year we sucked on defense last year. I don’t know if that cancels out anything.
“Just moving forward and excited about my opportunity here.”
It will come in Vic Fangio’s new 3-4 defense which can bring some changes to the secondary even though a lot of the differences come with the front seven. Mundy like everyone else will be judged on their ability to adapt to the scheme that tries to bring more defense to the field with the extra linebacker.
So how will Mundy’s progress be judged?
“All safeties should be judged on how often they get to the ball, how are they impacting plays and how are they affecting the flow of the game,” is how Mundy said he would judge his along with other safety’s progress in camp. “I just try to get to the ball as much as I can. Some plays can be in the middle of the field and the play may have nothing to do with me but I still need to run to the ball.
“I still need to take a good angle because at some point during the season someone might miss a tackle.”
If one of his teammates does, expect Mundy to be there. His job, maybe, depends on it.