LAKE FOREST, Ill. — A NFL team knows they have a good defender when someone going up against him has the kind of response that Justin Fields had at his news conference on Wednesday at Halas Hall.
“Goodness, gracious,” said the Bears’ signal caller when he was asked about the team’s biggest free agent signing whose size on the field has certainly stood out to the offense.
That’s because Tremaine Edmunds’ 6-foot-5 frame along with his athleticism has caused some problems for the Bears’ offense as the linebacker takes part in his first training camp with the team.
“Justin said it best the other day. We have a scheme that should take advantage of somebody in the middle of the field. But the dude’s like seven foot tall and the wingspan, that’s not happening – and he’s right,” said offensive coordinator Luke Getsy of Edmunds, who joined the Bears on a four-year, $72 million contract this offseason. “He shrinks the windows for sure in the pass game and then his ability to play sideline-to-sideline, it really challenges an offense to be able to capture the edges, too.”
Edmunds showed that ability during the first five seasons of his NFL career with the Bills, where he was a two-time Pro Bowler as he aided Buffalo’s rise toward the top of the NFL. It’s already shown up just a week into workouts, with Fields seeing it during a spirited practice on Wednesday that lasted over two hours.
“We had one play today where if it was any other linebacker in the country, he would have been open, but just his presence, he’s so huge,” said Fields. “He definitely covers ground well, too. “It’s been great for us as a team, as an offense to have him out there to challenge us every day and he’s been, of course, a great defensive leader so far.
“Tremaine’s been great.”
Such a presence in the middle is something the Bears will be looking for as they look to improve their defense after finishing last in scoring (27.2 points per game) and 29 in total defense (375.9 yards per game).
Last year, Edmunds had 102 tackles with six for loss along with a sack and interception in 13 gams with the Bills.
“I’m just focused on executing on a high level, making sure I get my assignments down, and just competing at a high level,” said Edmunds when told about the praise from offensive teammates. “Obviously, I understand what my size brings to the table, and I’m just working being able to mesh with my brothers and being able to go out there and execute and make plays.
“That’s what I’m focused on.”
Safe to say that those on the Bears’ offense are focused on him as they prepare for the 2023 season.