The Chicago Bears entered the offseason with the safety postion as the biggest need.
To help that position grow, the Bears brought in four new players to compete for the starting job at the position, and through the first practices in training camp, it would appear that Ryan Mundy is leading the charge.
“I’m feeling really good,” he said after Thursday’s practice. “We’re a work in progress, coming out here day after day knowing that we won’t be perfect. We are striving toward perfection though and trying to get to where we need to be. That’s what it’s all about.”
Mundy, a 29 year old who has played five seasons for the Pittsburgh Steelers and New York Giants, primarily plays free safety, but he’s been bouncing back and forth between spots as Trestman and Mel Tucker look for the two best players to man the strong and free positions.
Not having set guys means that it’s tough for new players to take their cues from anyone, but Mundy has found that working with the coaching staff has been just as helpful as having a mentor in the group.
“Everyone has been really helpful, but more so than anyone, the coaches have been extremely good since we set foot in Chicago for offseason workouts,” he said. “They’ve been coaching us hard and have been on us every day on the fundamentals. We’ve done a good job of responding to it I think, and we need to keep that up.”
Even though Mundy and the other new players at the position weren’t around the Windy City while the defense was having one of its worst seasons ever, all of the players are aware of the obstacles that they face as they look to rebuild, but they aren’t dwelling on the past as workouts continue.
“A lot of guys weren’t here for what happened last year, but we do know what happened and we’re choosing not to dwell on it,” he said. “We’re really hungry though, and looking to play well together and execute at a high level.”
With Chris Conte and Craig Steltz both sidelined with injuries, and the team looking to ease rookie safety Brock Vereen into the picture, it would appear that Mundy has the inside track to grab one of the starting positions, but despite those expectations, he isn’t feeling the heat.
“No pressure at all. I have high expectations for myself and I don’t really try to focus on what’s going on outside of me in terms of who I’m up against for a spot,” he said. “That’s a great thing about our group. There are a lot of guys who are working hard individually, and as we do that, it will push the next guy to work harder.”
That mentality is prevalent among the defense when they’re going up against some of the great weapons on the Bears’ offense. With players like Brandon Marshall and Martellus Bennett roaming the middle of the field, Mundy feels that the team benefits from having to find creative ways to stop those All-Pro caliber receiving threats.
“They make us better,” he said. “Hopefully we make them better as well, but there’s a lot of ebb and flow to it too. You always hear Coach Trestman talk about how it’s a zero sum game. On each play, someone will win and someone will lose. We’ll win our fair share and lose our fair share, but in those wins and losses there will be teachable moments, so it’s important we look at them that way.”