How Brisker impressed the Bears in the NFL’s first offseason originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
LAKE FOREST. When Matt Eberflux, Ryan Poles and the Bears staff played Jaquan Brisker’s record, they saw an old-school safety that embodied the M&M philosophy they want to mold into their version of the Bears.
In six weeks of his first NFL offseason, Brisker delivered everything they had hoped for and more.
“He was really good, very good,” Eberfluss said Thursday at Halas Hall after Bear completed his mandatory mini-camp. “Actually, I just talked to [defensive coordinator] Alan Williams about him on the field, and we’re just in awe of his talent, you know, his mentality and just who he is and where he’s been at so far.
“He raises the defenses,” Eberfluss later said. “He raises the defense, he communicates with others. He keeps up with the times, so we are very happy for him.”
Brisker played for the first team throughout the off-season. The Penn State product isn’t surprised by how quickly the Bears throw things at it. He had no doubt that his time at Happy Valley had prepared him to make an immediate contribution to the NFL field.
“I feel like I’ve grown in the game book,” Brisker said Thursday when asked where he’s made the biggest improvement since he was drafted. “I feel better and more comfortable, I know what I’m doing, I know what my teammates are doing. You know and just play fast.
The Bears believe that Brisker, a strong guard, is the perfect complement to seasoned guard Eddie Jackson, who is at his best when he can be a free playmaker on the back end.
Together, it’s easy to see how Brisker and Jackson are a ferocious security duo that serves as the foundation for Eberflus’ loss-focused defense.
“Just to have that connection, you know, on and off the field,” Brisker replied when asked why he and Jackson could succeed. “Just knowing we’ll be teammates and things like that and just trusting each other, and when you trust each other, we can play fast.”
The Bears had one of the worst pass defenses in the NFL last season. However, with the addition of Brisker and fellow second-rounder Kyler Gordon, Eberflux and Poles looked to have taken a weakness and turned it into a strength with two astute picks.
Both rookies have shown a knack for creating losses this offseason. But it was Brisker, who was unanimously drafted in the Bears’ draft room, that made Halas Hall buzz with his versatility, intensity, and high football IQ.
“We have some similarities,” Jackson said of Brisker. “He tells me he likes being in a box. Just having it right there, he wants to be there and I can be in the back and be free. We can change it at any time, but just having some resemblance would be fun.”
Ultimately, a successful first period of OTA and mini-camp means little to Brisker or the Bears.
But the rookie safety made the most of first-team representatives this offseason and is on track to become exactly what the Bears envisioned — a tone-setting player who can free Jackson to rediscover his All-Pro form.
If this comes to fruition, Eberflus will have the first part of what could very well be the next great Bears defense.