After the Bears second day of veteran minicamp concluded, head coach John Fox made some interesting comments on the play of offseason acquisition Prince Amukamara.
“Well, he’s sticky,” Fox told reporters Wednesday. “‘I call him ‘Sticky Man.’ He sticks on guys. He’s got good explosion.”
For a head coach that is usually cut and dry when it comes to speaking with the media, this response will go in the archives of memorable Fox quotes. But the nickname ‘Sticky Man,’ is fitting and could be the reason why Amukamara will be the Bears most consistent defensive back this season.
Amukamara signed a one-year contract, with $7 million guaranteed. This will solidify the former first-round pick in 2011 a starting spot and the Bears will be banking that Amukamara can stick to opposing receivers this upcoming season.
With general manager Ryan Pace giving Amukamara a one-year prove-it deal, he will have to show the Bears his best football is still ahead of him.
Skepticism does surround Amukamara though, who has missed 26 games in his first five seasons with the Giants. Also, he only has seven interceptions in six seasons, none coming in 2016, which only furthers the doubt he can be a difference maker. The last thing the Bears need in the secondary is a player who is incapable of producing turnovers.
But that could all change with Amukamara now being a part of Vic Fangio’s defense. The former Jaguar was told by former coaches that he would love playing for the defensive guru.
“You get to have vision, you get to see the ball and you get to make plays on the ball,” Amukamara told Chicago Sun-Times’ Patrick Finley. “You get to challenge the receivers. I would say Vic is similar to Spagnuolo … just because they don’t like to wait for the offense to attack them.”
Fangio is not known for utilizing many blitzes in his defensive packages and will need corners who can lock up their man for the unit to be successful. In Fangio’s defense there will be more opportunities for Amukamara to jump routes, hopefully resulting in some much needed turnovers for the Bears’ defense. Even though the seven-year veteran will have his sights on the ball this season, it shouldn’t affect his abilities to stay disciplined in coverage.
Despite not producing eye-popping numbers on the stat sheet thus far in his career, Amukamara is still confident in his abilities.
“Stats are great for players when it works in your favor,” Amukamara told Chicago Tribune’s Dan Wiederer. “But when it doesn’t, I feel like you watch film and that’s the ultimate eye test. And on the stat sheet I didn’t look as sexy as the everybody else. But personally I really just believe that I’m a lockdown corner.”
At only 27-years-old, Amukamara is coming into the prime of his career and despite not creating any turnovers last season, he played well with the Jaguars. He started 12 games, had six pass defensed and accumulated 46 total tackles.
After watching some tape from last season, Fox’s comments about being sticky held true, especially in the Jaguar’s week one matchup against the Packers. When Packers’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers threw to Amukamara’s side he completed 2 of 13 passes. All game Amukamara was connected at the hip with the Packer’s receivers and didn’t give Rodgers much room to throw. When Rodgers extended plays with his feet, Amukamara didn’t separate from his man and broke up passes downfield.
Amukamara will have two more opportunities to face Rodgers this upcoming season and if he can produce similar numbers to what he did in last year’s meeting, his play might earn him a big payday.
As long as Amukamara sticks to his strengths he will be a key contributor to the Bears’ defense.