BEARS: Confident in Steltz - Tough guy. Good leader. Good communicator
We do have solid depth at safety.
LINK to the article
Bears confident in safety Steltz Secondary coach believes backup is solid fill-in while Conte's shoulder heals http://www.trbimg.com/img-5035772f/t...120822-001/600
Craig Steltz during training camp.
By Brad Biggs
, Chicago Tribune reporter 7:08 p.m. CDT, August 22, 2012 The coaching staff repeatedly raved about improvements second-year safety Chris Conte made during training camp.
But with the starter out for Friday night's game against the Giants, Craig Steltz will slide into the starting lineup at MetLife Stadium. He fared well starting the final four games of 2011 and also has been impressive in camp.
"Craig has had good camps since I have been here," defensive backs coach Jon Hoke said. "He's just consistent. He's in position where he is supposed to be in position and his anticipation is a little bit better than it has been. He has a better understanding of concepts and understands offenses a little better now. He's a tough guy. Good leader. Good communicator."
Nevertheless, the plan now is for Conte to return for the start of the regular season.
What Steltz lacks is the athletic ability and range of Conte and Major Wright. But the way the Bears go through players at the position, it would be a surprise if Steltz doesn't play a key role this season.
The question now is how the depth chart unfolds behind him. The status of rookie Brandon Hardin remains unknown. His absence is providing Anthony Walters, who spent a month on the 53-man roster last season as an undrafted free agent, another opportunity to make the team.
"He has matured a lot and he handles himself well," Hoke said.
Walters also has become smarter when it comes to the scheme, proving he continued to advance while on injured reserve during the second half of the season with a pulled hamstring.