DETROIT, MI - NOVEMBER 28: Reggie Bush #21 of the Detroit Lions tries to get around the tackle of M.D. Jennings #43 of the Green Bay Packers after a second quarter reception at Ford Field on November 28, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
With the Chicago Bears’ training camp in Bourbonnais just around the corner, Grizzly detail is taking a look at some of the new players donning jerseys this season, and in this edition we turn our attention to the defensive secondary, as new safety M.D. Jennings is put under the microscope.
The former Green Bay Packers safety comes to the Bears as a free agent after appearing in 47 games for the team’s NFC North rival. In those games, Jennings had 91 tackles, three passes defended, and three stuffs to his credit. He started all 16 games for the Packers last year, racking up 59 tackles and recording his first career sack in the process.
What the Bears Hope He Will Bring:
Obviously the Bears aren’t going to be looking for Jennings to make a massive impact on the team, but with a rookie in Brock Vereen and an injured Chris Conte serving as his competition at one of the two safety spots, they’re going to hope that he can at least produce at a decent level for the squad. Ryan Mundy is certainly a more viable option as a starter, at least initially, but Jennings could still see some serious playing time if Conte and Craig Steltz remain hampered by injuries.
The Packers didn’t tender Jennings as a restricted free agent, and there’s likely a good reason for that. He is a solid player, but he certainly isn’t a special one, and the team is going to have to keep their expectations reasonable with him. Signing Adrian Wilson to compete for a spot indicates both that the Bears aren’t confident in Conte and Steltz’s recovery from injuries, and also that they don’t want to rush Vereen or Jennings into a job they may not be ready for.
That being said, extra depth at a position is never a bad thing, and Jennings could surprise us all with what he brings to the field during training camp and the preseason. He’s definitely a guy to keep an eye on, but our recommendation is that fans shouldn’t be holding their breath for a ready-made replacement for Conte or Major Wright.