My first step when working on this project each year is to jot down more than ten names of Chicago Bears players and/or coaches, just to get a sense of who I think will play an important role in the team’s success the coming season. I next shuffle them around, while hacking off the occasional name or two, to get something close to an ordered list.
Then I stare at the group a bit, hemming and hawing, before finally settling on the precise order of my ten. I walk away, and when I come back I always make more changes.
There’s usually one person I try to talk myself out of, and this year that guy ended up at number 10, nose tackle, Eddie Goldman.
Putting a player more known for anchoring against the run on a list of most important Bears for the 2021 season wasn’t what I was expecting, but the more I went through my names, the more I kept thinking about how he solidifies what the Bears want to do up front on defense.
Goldman may only be on the field about 45-50% of the time, but his presence allows Bilal Nichols to not have to play the nose. And that’s a bonus, because I’m expecting Nichols to build off his career best 2020 season. Goldman also commands the occasional double team which puts offenses in a pick your poison scenario with Akiem Hicks or Khalil Mack, both of which are also outstanding against the run.
Stopping the run my be Goldman’s primary job, but he’s also quite capable of collapsing the pocket. Sure he only has 12.5 sacks in five years of play, but up the middle pressure tends to get quarterbacks skittish, and Goldman has bull-rush power to make a difference.
We’re still waiting on official word about Goldman’s intentions this season, but it really seems like a no-brainer that he plans to play in 2021. While the Bears are planning on him being back, they did give themselves a plan B by adding about 1,000 pounds to their d-line in Khyiris Tonga, Mike Pennel, and Angelo Blackson. Tonga is the only true back up nose tackle among those three, but none of those players are Eddie Goldman.