(CBS) After winning with the Colts, linebacker Jerrell Freeman arrived in Chicago last year and experienced something he had never before as a member of the Bears.
Freeman was part of his first losing season, a miserable 3-13 campaign in 2016. The Bears are back to work this offseason as they prepare for a new campaign.
General manager Ryan Pace continued to revamp the team’s defense in his third offseason at the helm, adding Marcus Cooper, Prince Amukamara and Quintin Demps to a secondary that was seeking answers. They join a bolstered front seven that has benefited from additions like Freeman, Danny Trevathan, Akiem Hicks and Leonard Floyd.
In OTAs, Freeman sees the potential for a rebuilt Bears defense. He spoke of that Friday with Danny Parkins on the Spiegel & Parkins Show.
“The defense could be pretty good,” Freeman said. “I know for a lot of the season, we were top-10, top-five in a lot of categories, then the injuries happened. But that’s a part of the NFL. You know how that goes. If you’re not hurt or don’t have a little injury happening, you’re not playing. Everybody plays through things.
“The defense could be pretty good. I like the draft pick from last year (Floyd), especially. He’s going to be good for a while. With our linebacking core, our front seven and the new additions we have, we’re getting out there in OTAs now and seeing what guys can do, how savvy guys are. I think we can be pretty good.”
The Bears finished last season 15th in team defense but 24th in total points, the latter of which escalated late in the season as injuries stacked up.
Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio was seeking playmakers to add, and the Bears believe they’ve added those. Freeman is already encouraged by what he sees.
Listen to Freeman’s full interview below.