Bears Coach Issues Challenge to Veteran Defender, Calls Out Slow Start

Eddie Goldman

Getty CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - OCTOBER 03: Eddie Goldman #91 of the Chicago Bears rushes against Jonah Jackson #73 of the Detroit Lions at Soldier Field on October 03, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Lions 24-14. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Chris Rumph openly acknowledges Eddie Goldman hasn’t looked like himself this season.

The veteran nose tackle for the Chicago Bears opted out last year due to concerns about COVID-19, and he missed the first three games of the season while dealing with various ailments. Rumph, Chicago’s defensive line coach, says it was obvious the team’s stalwart run-stopper wasn’t himself during the first several games, but notes he’s encouraged by Goldman’s most recent performance against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

“He wasn’t back,” Rumph said about Goldman, via Alex Shapiro of NBC Sports. “Sometimes you just hear the name and think the name is enough. As you find out, he wasn’t totally back. And then had other guys injured, so those guys were never really able to groove together. Now he’s clicking and starting to feel it and get his legs back under him. It will be exciting going forward.”

Rumph then laid down a challenge for Goldman moving forward.

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Rumph on Goldman: It’s Time for Him to String Some Solid Performances Together

Goldman is having a down year any way you slice it. He is currently ranked 125th out of 128 interior defensive linemen by Pro Football Focus, and his current overall grade of 38.5 is by far the lowest of his career.

The six-year vet had a QB hurry and a season-high four tackles (one for loss) Week 9 against the Steelers, which Rumph found encouraging.

“It was his best game,” Rumph said. “He looked dominant out there. … I tell those guys all the time ‘Just make your plays. If you make your plays, that’s enough. Don’t go out there and try to mow someone else’s grass.’ I thought he handled his business real well, it was good to see him.”

Rumph then laid down a challenge for Goldman. “Now it’s time for him to put a couple games back-to-back. I think his legs are starting to get back to him, he’s starting to get a feel for it a little bit. We will see what happens this week but all indications are he will continue to get better.”

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Next Several Games Will Be Huge for Goldman

Since his decision to opt out last year, there have been rumors Goldman could retire. Top Bears insider Brad Biggs of The Chicago Tribune has suggested that could be the case multiple times. Biggs said on November 3 that it’s also possible Chicago might choose to part ways with Goldman at season’s end if this lack of production continues.

The 27-year-old d-lineman has been a core member of the team’s interior since his arrival in 2015, but he has yet to register a sack this year, and, as Rumph noted, hasn’t looked like his old self much in 2021. Thus, the second half of the season will be key for the veteran NT. If he can show flashes of the run stopper and dominant defender he has been previously, the odds he remains in a Bears uniform next year get significantly better. If he doesn’t stack some good performances together, as Rumph hopes he will, things could get pretty murky for Goldman. We’ll see what happens over the next eight games.

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