When the Bears signed Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix they essentially gave their defense the best ball hawking rangy Safety combination in the league. Dix gets a bad wrap for his tackling but he’s probably a better and more physical tackler than Eddie Jackson and no one is clamoring to upgrade for him anytime soon. When you have Deion Sanders you don’t bitch about his tackling. Not saying he’s Sanders. Just that on a smaller scale it’s comparable.
What Dix brings is range and instincts. Just like his new backend mate Jackson. This has a hidden yardage type effect but on the opposite side. It dominoes to the Cornerbacks on down. It allows the Cornerbacks to play aggressively and press or even blitz. That allows the Linebackers to be involved in the pressure scheme. Pagano can now be ultra aggressive without fear of getting beat deep.
Of course, they will sacrifice something with the running game. Adrian Amos was a pretty good run defending safety. I know I said Dix is a better tackler than Jackson but that isn’t exactly comparing him to 49er great Ronnie Lot. Dix and Jackson aren’t earning a living bringing down Running Backs.
There may be times when Pagano has a blitz on requiring a stunt or twist and the offense guesses right and hands the ball off on a delayed handoff and he runs through a gaping hole and there’s Dix or Jackson one on one with a hard charging 230 lb back. It won’t always end well. However, you gladly sacrifice that for what they both give you as far as making plays on the ball.
Bears fans should be pretty familiar with Dix from his years with the Packers. What Dix brings with him is his plus ball skills. In 5 seasons Dix has 14 interceptions and 28 passes defended. In two seasons Jackson has 8 interceptions and 21 passes defended. Good luck trying to pass a ball over the top on this defense with these two patrolling the the deep third.
They’ll also knock the ball out and scoop it up. Dix has 4 forced fumbles and 2 recoveries in his career. Jackson has 3 forced fumbles and 4 recoveries in just 2 seasons. Jackson will also score it as we know with 3 interceptions taken to the house and 2 more via fumble recoveries. Dix has yet to score a touchdown in his 5 seasons.
They are also close friends winning a national championship together with Alabama. Reports are Dix turned down significantly more money to play on this defense with Jackson. It makes sense for him coming to the number one defense in the league. He could increase his already significant production and cash in free agency next off-season. Maybe even with the Bears.
One thing is for certain. An already imposing secondary has just become even scarier to throw against. Considering the Bears were the number one run defense in the NFL, solving this defense will take a monumental effort in game planning and execution. With a great defense upgraded and the Bears likely making leaps and bounds in return rankings from placing dead last in kickoff returns with the addition of Cordarrelle Patterson not to mention having an All Pro punt returner in Tarik Cohen, the Bears offense looks to benefit from gaining better field position as well as more possessions from the increase in turnovers by replacing Amos with Dix.
In this GIF cut up the Bears new safety it shows his willingness to engage in the physical aspects of paying Safety which will likely have him playing Strong Safety beside Jackson more than Free Safety although the Bears say both spots are interchangeable in their defense. On the second one you see him dislodge the ball from then Jaguars Wide Receiver Allen Robinson which we have found out is no small task.
In this GIF, Dix shows his athleticism and concentration high pointing the ball and staying in bounds while taking contract.
On this play, Dix shows of his ball skills diving for a ball and reeling it in showing off receiver like hands.
Here, Dix shows off his range by catching an interception while on the dead run to the middle of the field (also showing plus Ball tracking ability) coming over from his right boundary spot to pick off than Bears Quarterback Matt Barkley.
On this GIF, Dix shows his ability to impact the run game by throwing a shoulder right on the ball and causing a fumble which resulted in a takeaway for the Packers.
As you can see, the Bears added yet another playmaker to the mix in Dix. With Amos they had a safe player who rarely made mistakes and someone who preferred to get a big hit on a receiver than make a play on the ball. The Bears added more of a risk taker but on this team with this defense that type of stuff is rewarded. Now with Jackson beside him Dix can even be more aggressive knowing the rangy Safety will have his back. This has the making of being an even more fun defense to watch in the upcoming 2019 season.