With the regular season looming, cornerback Kindle Vildor is looking to lock down more than just the receivers he lines up against.
The second-year pro is also seeking to lock down a starting position opposite Jaylon Johnson. The battle, however, is far from over as the Bears prepare for Saturday night's preseason finale in Tennessee. To win the job, Vildor must outperform veterans Desmond Trufant and Artie Burns, among others.
"Those guys are competing," said coach Matt Nagy. "It's a great battle. They're playing well. [Defensive backs coach] Deshea Townsend's doing a great job with them on the back end and I like where they're at. They're going to have some good opportunities on Saturday."
A 2020 fifth-round pick from Georgia Southern, Vildor gained valuable experience late last season. After playing just one snap on defense in the first 12 games, he was on the field for 134 plays in the final four contests, registering 15 tackles and one pass breakup.
Vildor is listed as a starter on the Bears' unofficial depth chart. But he isn't dwelling on where he stands in the competition.
"I don't really try to look at it," Vildor said. "We've been rotating pretty much the whole camp, so I know nothing's going to be given to me. I'm just going out there trying to prove myself every single practice, every single game that I'm the guy that can fit at the cornerback position for the team."
Welcome addition: Bears players continue to gravitate toward recently-signed veteran left tackle Jason Peters, a nine-time Pro Bowler in 17 NFL seasons with the Bills (2004-08) and Eagles (2009-20).
"We got a big add to our offensive line," said veteran tight end Jimmy Graham. "He's an unbelievable pro. It's been unbelievable just to see how quick he is. I'm truly thankful not to be the oldest guy on the team anymore … It's been fun getting to know him, seeing him get to work and help us out."
"Jason Peters coming in with the vet presence has been awesome," added second-year tight end Cole Kmet, "not only with the offensive line but even for the tight ends and running backs."
Graham didn't hesitate when asked whether Peters could still play at age 39, saying: "One hundred percent. Oh, yeah. He's a beast."
Resilient receiver: Rodney Adams has performed well in training camp and the first two preseason games, leading Bears receivers with seven catches for 146 yards. Last Saturday against the Bills, he caught a 73-yard touchdown pass just hours after his wife had given birth to their first child.
Adams' impressive on-field performance isn't all that's helping his quest to earn a spot on the Bears' 53-man roster. Another factor is the perseverance he’s shown throughout his life in overcoming adversity, including the death of his mother in a car accident when he was a college freshman.
"I think you know about his story and even up to recently how he's handled himself with having the baby, not having much sleep, but yet sacrificing time to practice and play," Nagy said. "And I respect him about that. He's somebody that works hard. He's very coachable. He's a great teammate … I think his story speaks to who he is as a player. He's persevered. He's resilient. As a coach, you love those types of players."