Tim Jennings has been a consistent performer as a starter for the Chicago Bears from his cornerback spot the last two seasons. Jennings, however, hasn't always been seen as a playmaker, and he was benched for one game last year.
The benching lasted one game, as Zack Bowman performed horribly in his place. Jennings took over and finished the season on a high note.
But this didn't stop the Bears from bringing in Chicago native and former Colts CB Kelvin Hayden to directly compete with Jennings for his starting spot. Hayden was the Bears' No.1 free-agent target a few seasons ago.
He has since battled injuries, which have limited his time on the field and his overall production. Hayden, however, enters camp healthy and in shape and has been making an impact throughout the first four practices.
Hayden is bigger than Jennings by three inches and is a much more physical player. He's been noticed most recently for the way he shut down Brandon Marshall during one-on-ones.
Marshall has been able to dominate just about every CB in front of him, but Hayden got the best of him during Sunday's workout.
He has not only locked up Marshall, but he's also handled every receiver put in front of him at one point or another. To no surprise, Hayden is positioning himself as a player who may start ahead of Jennings.
Jennings has struggled against Marshall, and, historically, his biggest problem has been matching up with bigger receivers.
The question for Hayden is not ability—it's whether or not he can stay healthy. He still has the abilities to be a starter for the Bears, and his size offers an advantage that Jennings cannot match.
This battle is just beginning, and the result only makes for a stronger secondary on defense. A capable starter who backs up both of the first-team players means the Bears have depth on defense.
Either way, that depth is better than the players the Bears had on defense last year.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!