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Brisker senses 'different swag' in Bears defense

Bears safety Jaquan Brisker
Bears safety Jaquan Brisker

Entering his second NFL season, Bears safety Jaquan Brisker senses a different vibe not just within the defense, but throughout Halas Hall.

After just three training camp practices, he's noticed quarterback Justin Fields and the offense "look like they've been out there for years," specifically mentioning the unit's timing is different this year. As for the defense, Brisker feels a "different swag" within the unit and is eager to continue building chemistry within the secondary.

"Everybody knew last year wasn't great and we didn't want to go back to that, so flip the page," Brisker said. "We're a new team. We've got a lot of great additions. So we just knew going [in] that the secondary, we're just going to keep our chemistry, keep our swag going up and try to create as many turnovers and things like that as possible."

While the continuity in the Bears secondary allowed for a smooth offseason program, the addition of rookie draft picks Tyrique Stevenson, Terell Smith and Kendall Williamson added extra energy to the group. 

Now seen as an experienced pro, Brisker is helping the rookies adjust to NFL life. Since the season can be grueling at times, Brisker wants to make sure the newcomers take care of their bodies, get proper rest, stay focused and avoid hitting the so-called rookie wall. 

"The rookie season, it's long, but don't hit the rookie wall," Brisker said. "There's no such thing. If you love football, you love football. Why would you ever be tired? That doesn't even make sense. It's football. This is what we do, it's our job. So why would you hit a rookie wall? So just continue to be consistent and don't really whine."

Brisker does understand how up and down the NFL season can be and the importance of keeping up with both your physical and mental health. Last Nov. 20 against the Falcons, Brisker suffered a concussion and missed the next two games. 

Aside from his disappointment of not playing every game last season, the hardest part for Brisker was being "far away from the team" and not having the same daily routine he would have if he were healthy. 

While Brisker didn't feel like himself during that time away from football, he was reenergized when former Bears linebacker Sam Acho spoke to the rookies near the end of last season. 

"It was when I first came back from my concussion and [Sam] was just talking to us and he was like 'you bring the energy and you bring the swag,'" Brisker said. "And coming back from my concussion, I had kind of lost myself. But when he said that, that kind of struck me like, 'that is me. I've got to get back to myself.' Once he said that I was like, 'yeah, I know who I am.'"

The Bears were back on the fields at Halas Hall Friday for the second public practice of Enjoy Illinois Training Camp.

Brisker is now ready to build off his productive first NFL season in which he compiled 104 tackles, five tackles-for-loss, a team-high 4.0 sacks, two pass breakups, one interception, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. 

The Penn State product earned a Pro Football Focus 2022 NFL All-Rookie selection but is aiming to make an even bigger impact on the Bears defense in his sophomore season. According to Brisker, that starts with moving around more and creating takeaways. 

"Just make plays, whether that's in run support or whether that's in the back end," Brisker said. "Getting more [turnovers], creating more turnovers, interceptions, forced fumbles, and really just taking the ball away. That's pretty much it. Doing whatever to help my team and try to move around a little bit more."