The Chicago Bears made one notable roster move on Monday, September 11, re-signing a linebacker with whom the team parted ways just days earlier.
Chicago brought back veteran defender Dylan Cole after terminating his contract on Saturday, per Windy City Gridiron. The 29-year-old linebacker had returned to Bears practice on Friday after missing several weeks with a lingering hamstring injury.
Cole has played 61 games and earned nine starts over his six-year NFL career, split between AFC South Division members the Houston Texans and Tennessee Titans. Cole has played 955 defensive snaps and 1,145 special teams snaps during his time in the league, per Pro Football Reference. He started eight games for the Titans in 2022, recording 64 tackles, including four for loss, one sack and one pass breakup.
Bears’ Run Defense One of Few Bright Spots in Week-1 Loss to Packers
Cole may not factor heavily into what the Bears do defensively this season — particularly not in pass coverage from the middle of the field as he was abysmal in that regard in last year, allowing opposing QBs to complete 29-of-32 passes thrown his way. However, Cole can potentially reinforce the special teams unit and bolster the Bears’ linebacking crew against the run.
Chicago was solid in run defense against Green Bay on Sunday, allowing just 92 rushing yards on 32 attempts for a meager average of 2.9 yards per carry. Those numbers are a little skewed based on two total rushing attempts from Packers backup QB Sean Clifford and rookie wide receiver Jayden Reed that combined to net -2 yards.
Primary Packers RB Aaron Jones put up 41 yards on nine carries for an average of 4.6 yards per attempt and added a touchdown. Quarterback Jordan Love scrambled three times for 12 yards, posting an average of 4.0 yards per rush. Chicago was able to stifle backup running back A.J. Dillon, holding him to just 19 yards on 13 carries and rendering him a non-factor in what ended up a 38-20 victory for the Packers.
Bears’ Pass Defense Abysmal Against Packers in Season Opener
While Cole may not help much in this regard, it was a breakdown in coverage from the linebacker position that allowed Jones to score a 35-yard receiving touchdown from Love on a fourth-down play in the middle of the third quarter. The TD broke the Bears’ collective back by opening up a 24-6 Green Bay lead.
Chicago linebacker T.J. Edwards, who the team acquired via free agency this offseason on a three-year contract worth $19.5 million, was in man-coverage on the play and beaten soundly by Jones on his route. The Packers running back scored easily.
The NFL shared video of the play on its official X account.
It wasn’t just Edwards who was roasted in pass coverage Sunday, as Love picked apart the Bears secondary to the tune of 15-of-27 passing for 245 yards, three touchdowns and a rating of 123.2.
Wide receiver Romeo Doubs led the Packers’ wide receiving corps with four catches for 26 yards and two touchdowns. Reed and rookie tight end Luke Musgrave each offered meaningful contributions with 48 yards and 50 yards receiving, respectively.
Chicago’s pass defenders finished the day with three pass breakups and zero interceptions.