Chris Conte was exposed a little bit last season.
Did he have some tackling issues? Yes.
Did he make the biggest mistake of the year in the biggest game of the season? Also yes.
But you also should have learned that when a front seven can't get a hand on a running back, it affects the angles safeties take and the tackling attempts they make. Conte's teammates did him no favors last year.
I've never seen a defense get gashed like the Bears did last season. It was historically bad. Just awful, but if I were to run down all of their problems, Chris Conte would be way down the list.
He admittedly lost some confidence last year while his defense struggled and he worked through a shoulder injury, but now that the talent around him has been upgraded I think he'll be fine.
His shoulder is 100%, but he still has to be cleared from a concussion in the 3rd preseason game.
#Bears GM Phil Emery on Chris Conte: "He looks the best I’ve seen him in terms of his body and athleticism since he’s been in the league."— Mark Potash (@MarkPotash) September 2, 2014
Even though Conte is currenty listed as the back up strong safety, I believe the Bears like his range as free safety. Bears defensive coordinator Mel Tucker claims his safeties are interchangeable anyway.
One #Bears thought: Trestman's reluctance to name his starting safeties yesterday tells me Chris Conte has the job if cleared of concussion.— Adam Jahns (@adamjahns) September 2, 2014
Right now the Bears list Ryan Mundy and Danny McCray as the starting safeties. Mundy has been solid all off season and he has the experience to be an upgrade over Major Wright. McCray was signed to bolster the special teams, and I would imagine that's where he spends most of his playing time,
Hearing Chris Conte is your starting FS provided he's cleared to play, and he'll be opposite Ryan Mundy.— Michael C. Wright (@mikecwright) September 2, 2014
The Bears have stuck by Conte all off season and it was always evident to me that he was the best free safety on the roster. They brought in plenty of competition, but in the smidgeon of action he saw this preseason he flashed more than the other safeties.
Bears fans, are you still holding on to your distaste for Conte or are you ready to give him a fresh slate for 2014?