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Bears lined Bilal Nichols up at nose tackle today

Here’s all the juicy info from today’s first padded practice at Halas Hall...

Dallas Cowboys v Chicago Bears Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

When starting nose tackle Eddie Goldman elected to opt of of the 2020 season due to COVID-19 concerns, it likely caused the Chicago Bears to reassess their depth on the defensive line. Considering they didn’t make any roster moves, they must have felt they have enough in-house to make up for the loss, and today’s revelation at who was getting reps at the position could provide a peek as to why.

While he’s currently listed at 6’3”, 313 pounds, the work out videos that Bilal Nichols posted this offseason seems too indicate he may have slimmed down a bit, but we’re still talking about a large and powerful man.

Nichols may not be able to control two-gaps like Goldman or a traditional nose tackle could, but the Bears run plenty of one-gap stuff for the nose as well. Plus don’t forget that he has some experience at the position in the with the Bears the last couple years, and that was also where he spent some of his time in college at Delaware.

Last week Bears’ d-line coach Jay Rodgers met the media, and he did say that Nichols, along with John Jenkins, Abdullah Anderson and Brent Urban, would all be getting reps at nose tackle during camp.

“We’d like to have options,” Rodgers said via the team’s website. “What you’d like to have is the best two, three, four guys out there on the field that you could possibly put out there with the ability to substitute when you need to and not have any drop-off. So we’re going to continue to train everybody at every position.”

Chicago's most powerful defensive lineman, defensive end Akiem Hicks, could also kick inside on occasion, and Roy Robertson-Harris could find himself inside in some sub-packages too.

“Roy has established himself to be a really good defensive end in our 3-4 system and he has played a lot of three-technique or what we’re calling inside-one technique in our sub defenses,” Rodgers said. “He has never played a nose position in base defense, but that’s OK. You’re playing in the ‘A’ gap (between the center and guard) once you get into your sub world.”

The Bears were only in their base 3-4 defense about 30% if the time in 2019, and if the league continues to get more pass happy that number could decline even more.

Goldman was a Pro Bowl alternate last year, so they’ll definitely miss him, but the current roster is deep on the d-line and they should be able to work around his absence.

In some other training camp news from Halas Hall today...

  • Free agent cornerback Artie Burns got some reps with the starters today.
  • Deon Bush was with the ones at safety.
  • Cordarrelle Patterson was working out with the running backs.
  • Outside linebacker Robert Quinn was dealing with a personal issue today, so he was held out of team drills, but they plan to bring him along slowly anyway.
  • Safety/special teamer Sherrick McManis was held back some with a shoulder issue.
  • And for those of you looking for anything on the Mitchell Trubisky vs Nick Foles QB battle, check out the quote from Matt Nagy below.