Tremaine Edmunds

New Bears linebacker Tremaine Edmunds making impact at OTAs already

Edmunds is a big presence in the middle of the Bears defense. Like really big.

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The Bears say they’re excited about all the additions they made to their roster over the offseason, but when we hear about new middle linebacker Tremaine Edmunds the excitement sounds a little different. The Bears need an impactful player at the second level of the defense who can both fly to the ball and defend the pass reliably. They believe Edmunds can be that guy.

It’s easy to see why, he’s athletic, by all accounts he’s a heady player, and he’s big. Like really big.

The Bears list Edmunds as 6’5” and 250 lbs. It’s one thing to read that and think to yourself, yep, that’s a large man playing linebacker. It’s another thing to see it, and Edmunds has made his size felt just a few weeks into camp. At the first OTA open to the media, Edmunds stepped in front of a P.J. Walker pass for an interception, and his sheer size blocked out whoever Walker was targeting. Edmunds made the play look easy.

“When you play a lot of zone defense and you’re 6’4½”, you can take up a lot of space and fill up windows in zone coverages,” said linebackers coach Dave Borgonzi. “So it definitely helps the coverage part of it because he is such a big person.”

There’s an expectation that Edmunds can step in right away and succeed, too. When asked, Bears coaches say they basically want Edmunds to enter the defense and keep doing what he’s done. They’re not going to ask him to do anything radically different from what he did in Buffalo.

“We don't want him to change,” said defensive coordinator Alan Williams in early May. “We want him to be more of what he is.”

“It’s football,” said Borgonzi. “There’s terminology stuff (to learn). That’s really the biggest thing. Kind of hey, we call it this and he used to call it this at a different place. A lot of it’s the same ask, we’re just calling it something different. Really it’s more verbiage than anything.”

In fact, the Bears may ask Edmunds to do less, which they believe can help him even more.

“We don’t have a hundred different calls, so our guys are going to know what to do and they’re going to play fast,” Borgonzi said.

Edmunds also has a rare blend of ample NFL experience and youth on his side. He’s only 25, but entered the league when he was 19, so he’s already a six-year veteran. Accordingly, Borgonzi hopes Edmunds’ best football may still be ahead of him, and has high expectations for the new leader of his linebackers room.

“Ultimately you want to take the ball away,” Borgonzi said. “When we have a chance to make a play, not just get a PBU, you really want to get an interception. I think he’s at an advantage just because of his size, he’s able to fill up the windows and he’s got long arms, so hopefully he’ll get his hands on a lot of balls and not just get PBUs but get interceptions.”

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