Brisker gives Bears taste of what’s to come in brilliant NFL debut originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
CHICAGO – There was a sequence Saturday during the first preseason game of the Ryan Poles-Matt Eberflus era that had to have the Bears‘ brass grinning from ear-to-ear.
Jaquan Brisker is built for this.
The Bears rookie safety delivered a bone-crushing hit that spun Chiefs wide receiver Skyy Moore like a top. Next, he came around the edge and lowered the boom on running back Derrick Gore.
Brisker saved his best for last.
As the deep safety in the Bears’ defense with Eddie Jackson already on ice, Brisker hung back as quarterback Shane Buechele scrambled. The rookie safety could have shunned his responsibilities and taken off to get a big lick on the quarterback.
Instead, Brisker’s elite instincts kicked in. He saw two receivers to his left and a quarterback under duress with two guys closing in. So, he hung back and baited Buechele.
Sure enough, the Chiefs quarterback tried to force a ball to tight end Noah Gray. But Brisker was on top of the tight end the second Buechele released the ball, darting in front of the tight end to knock the ball away.
The rookie probably should have notched an interception on the play, but a pass breakup and forced punt will do.
Those three plays are Jaquan Brisker in a nutshell. Fast. Smart. Intense. A finisher.
«They brought me in here to make plays, create turnovers, make big hits, and great tackles and lead them to a championship,» Brisker said in the Bears’ locker room after the win.
The Penn State product admits he was anxious for his first NFL action. He described himself as having «happy feet» early on, allowing Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes to get a read on the defense with the hard count. He also missed a tackle that helped lead to the Chiefs’ opening touchdown.
But the nerves settled after the first drive, and Brisker got comfortable in his new role as one of the poster boys for head coach Matt Eberflus’ HITS principle.
«The tackling, deflecting the ball,» Eberflus said of Brisker’s preseason performance. «I think he should’ve had maybe a takeaway or two. He was high-energy. Man, he likes to hit. I really liked that aggressive style for him, how he’s playing right now.»
That’s why the Bears raced to the phone on the second night of the draft to select Brisker. Defensive coordinator Alan Williams said during rookie minicamp that everyone who evaluated players pre-draft got to vote yes or no when the staff brought players up for discussion. Brisker was a unanimous yes.
It was easy to see why Saturday at Soldier Field.
Sure, in the grand scheme of things, it’s a meaningless exhibition game in August.
But there’s little doubt Eberflus and Poles left Soldier Field feeling good about the player they chose to be their culture-changer and lynchpin in the next great Bears defense.
When the Bears chose Brisker, many wondered if they made a mistake not using that pick on a wide receiver to help quarterback Justin Fields.
If any questions or doubts about Brisker remain, they’ll likely dissipate in short order.
After the game, Brisker stood at his locker smiling, breaking down an impressive debut in which he announced himself to the NFL.
When the story is written about Jaquan Brisker’s career, no one will remember the Bears’ 19-14 preseason win over the Chiefs in which Trevor Siemian engineered a second-half comeback. That part is irrelevant.
But maybe they’ll remember those three plays that showed everyone what the Bears believe is coming. Brisker certainly will.
«The one series where I had consistent plays,» Brisker told NBC Sports Chicago when asked what he would remember from his first NFL game. «Where I had back-to-back-to-back. Yeah, I’ll remember that. That’s who I am.»