The Chicago Bears support Eddie Goldman in his decision to opt out of playing this 2020 season. Given how COVID-19 impacts bigger people and his own prior health issues? It is understandable why he did. That being said, there is no way to sugarcoat it. His exit leaves a giant hole in the middle of their defense. One that could prove disastrous.

Believe it or not, the Bears have seen a situation almost exactly like this. In 2001, they had one of the best defenses in the NFL. It allowed the fewest points in the league. Their biggest selling point was an excellent run-stopping unit that allowed just 3.5 yards per attempt. A huge part of that group was All-Pro nose tackle Ted Washington. Opponents couldn’t move him all year long.

Then two games into the 2002 season, Washington fractured his leg and was done for the year. How much was the loss felt? The Bears went from 2nd in run defense the year before to 26th that season. Opponent gouged them for 4.1 yards per rush and topped at least 120 on the ground seven times after he went down. The Bears never found a way to cope with it.

That is the danger this 2020 team is flirting with. That is how much Goldman means.

Replacing Eddie Goldman is vital for the Bears

Here’s the thing. The Bears spent a ton of money to upgrade their pass rush this year. Robert Quinn arrived as a free agent. He’ll be teaming with Khalil Mack to hunt quarterbacks. The problem is that goal becomes much more difficult if the other team is able to ram it down your throat on the ground almost every week.

The list of running backs they’ll have to face isn’t exactly weak.

  • Saquon Barkley (week 2)
  • Todd Gurley (week 3)
  • Christian McCaffrey (week 5)
  • Alvin Kamara (week 7)
  • Derrick Henry (week 8)
  • Dalvin Cook (week 9)

That’s just before the bye week. Those are some excellent backs the team is fixing to take on. All of whom can take over a game if not contained. Goldman was a vital part of that plan. Now he’s out. The Bears would do well to take his loss very seriously.