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soulman

Clinton-Dix fitting in with Bears culture

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Monday, Aug 12, 2019 10:26 AM

clintondix_081219

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix can take pride in his quickness.

Quick to move in on an errant pass. Quick to fit into a new team. Quick to make up for lost time.

"Ha Ha's having a good camp," said coach Matt Nagy. "I love his mentality. He's come in and bought in completely into our culture. He's a team player. He's done everything we've asked — and more."

After an injury limited him for the first week of training camp, Clinton-Dix has sought a smooth transition into his role as the Bears’ new strong safety. The Bears returned nearly every other piece of the defense that allowed the fewest points in the league last season.

"I haven't been part of a group like this since I was a rookie in the league," said Clinton-Dix. "Being able to be around this many guys with this much talent, elite players in the front seven, it'll make my job a lot easier."

Clinton-Dix has some experience playing on Super Bowl contenders. In his rookie year, the Green Bay Packers went 12-4 and advanced to the NFC Championship Game. In 2016, a year when Clinton-Dix had a career-high five interceptions and earned his first Pro-Bowl invitation, the Packers made another playoff run, winning twice before falling to the Atlanta Falcons.

Even missing time, Clinton-Dix has worked to integrate himself into the Bears locker room culture. He speaks highly of Nagy's "be you" philosophy.

"I didn't take long, man," said Clinton-Dix. "Once I first came in here, guys showed me love and made me comfortable that I could just be myself. I've been doing that since I got here. And I'm excited."

Nagy echoed the strong safety's attitude.

"Once he realized the communication and how these guys are," said Nagy, "he sees that we like to have fun out there on defense. So, he bought right on in, and he's just being himself."

Since signing with Bears, Clinton-Dix has drawn repeated comparisons to his new team and the program at Alabama. In three seasons in Tuscaloosa, Clinton-Dix won two National Championships and helped recruit fellow safety Eddie Jackson to campus. Clinton-Dix sees a link between the two coaching staffs’ constant push for improvement.

"I got a lot of things I can work on," said Clinton-Dix. "Just sitting down, talking to coach [Chuck] Pagano, who reminds me of coach [Nick] Saban. He never allows us to get too comfortable and he's a defensive back coach. We were just speaking on some thing that I can work on today. So we got a few more games of preseason left, and you know it's time to roll."

Like many of his new teammates, Clinton-Dix has been willing to give voice to this team's ambitions. Signed to a one-year contract, he acknowledged that the structure of the league only allows for "a very short window" to win a Super Bowl.

Clinton-Dix watched a window close during his four and a half seasons in Green Bay, as the 12-4 team of his rookie year gradually became the 6-9-1 team that traded him midway through the 2018 season. Clinton-Dix joined the Washington Redskins just in time to see quarterback Alex Smith suffer a gruesome leg injury in Week 11. The Redskins, who entered the game 6-3 with playoff hopes, lost six of their last seven games.

Like he said, short windows.

The Bears will face the Packers Week 1, with the man Clinton-Dix replaced in Chicago, Adrian Amos, handling his old spot. Does Clinton-Dix feel any extra excitement to show off against his former team?

"I'm going to be honest with you: no," said Clinton-Dix. "The excitement is being a part of this group."

 

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It would also seem that being challenged for the SS spot has lit a fire under Deon Bush as well.

He's playing like he wants an extension and that SS job to himself.  Nice depth at Safety with both.

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Is their an actual open competition that anyone with the Bears has talked about regarding Haha and Bush?  I've only seen forum posters talk about that. It seems to be Haha's job.  Period. Only the little injury is when I saw Bush with the 1s. Does anone have a link to someone talking about this position battle?

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1 hour ago, Damikeeeee said:

Is their an actual open competition that anyone with the Bears has talked about regarding Haha and Bush?  I've only seen forum posters talk about that. It seems to be Haha's job.  Period. Only the little injury is when I saw Bush with the 1s. Does anone have a link to someone talking about this position battle?

I think the starting spot is Ha Ha's but as some of the Bears amateur analysts have pointed out Pagano will often use a "Big Nickel" defensive formation with three Safeties so Bush may see more snaps than we might expect.

One thing about him stood out to me watching the Carolina game.  He's much faster than Amos was so he can cover better making plays on the ball Amos could not and Bush is still able to play downhill and be that same kind of hitter.

Overall I'd say we look really good at Safety because we're three deep with two Pro Bowlers and a third whose also playing for a new contract and hopes for one that keeps him in Chicago as the 2020 starter at SS.

Pagano can rotate these guys when needed bringing in Bush if he needs a stronger guy against a team whose running on us more and he can also use HHC-D as a sub at FS for Jackson to give him a break if needed.

All three of these guys can be shifted around in the scheme making it easier to disguise coverages.  I like what we have.

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1 hour ago, soulman said:

I think the starting spot is Ha Ha's but as some of the Bears amateur analysts have pointed out Pagano will often use a "Big Nickel" defensive formation with three Safeties so Bush may see more snaps than we might expect.

Yes.  You see it in practice.   GB DC likes to do that too.  It's becoming a thing in NFL.  I think Seattle started it.  

One thing about him stood out to me watching the Carolina game.  He's much faster than Amos was so he can cover better making plays on the ball Amos could not and Bush is still able to play downhill and be that same kind of hitter.

Yes, I pointed this out in several breakdowns of HHCD.  Packers fans retort that they have same 40 times, but on grass in pads HHCD is clearly faster.  

Overall I'd say we look really good at Safety because we're three deep with two Pro Bowlers and a third whose also playing for a new contract and hopes for one that keeps him in Chicago as the 2020 starter at SS.

Pagano can rotate these guys when needed bringing in Bush if he needs a stronger guy against a team whose running on us more and he can also use HHC-D as a sub at FS for Jackson to give him a break if needed.

All three of these guys can be shifted around in the scheme making it easier to disguise coverages.  I like what we have.

 

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