This is CHGO’s Chicago Bears 2022 player preview series. Learn more about each player and what to expect from them this year.
After spending his first four seasons in Tennessee, Dane Cruikshank is looking to make an impact as a new member of the Chicago Bears.
Cruikshank is a versatile defensive back who is coming off a season with multiple career highs, which is great news considering he missed 14 games in 2020 with a knee injury.
Dane Cruikshank’s 2021 Stats
Advanced Stat to Know: Cruikshank allowed a reception every 11.3 snaps, the ninth most frequently targeted safety per snap last season in the NFL. (PFF)
Best Game of 2021
Cruikshank’s best game came Week 4 against the New York Jets. He was targeted three times and did not allow a single reception. It was the only game last season that he did not give up a catch. Cruikshank also had three tackles in that game.
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What exactly will be Cruikshank’s role on the Chicago Bears?
Cruikshank has been used a few different ways throughout his career. It will be interesting to see exactly which portion of his skillset the Bears want to tap into.
There are times when Cruikshank was matched up against tight ends one-on-one as he is a bigger-bodied defensive back. Other times he plays in the box to help in run support.
And perhaps an underutilized part of his game is the ability to make impact plays in the backfield coming in off the blitz.
What exactly should the Bears ask of Cruikshank to maximize his skillset on limited snaps?
That’s what defensive coordinator Alan Williams must figure out.
Cruikshank should not be expected to play over 400 snaps on defense like he did in 2021. Instead, the majority of his contribution should come on special teams. Cruikshank played in over 68 percent of special teams snaps his first two seasons in Tennessee before taking on a larger role on defense.
The expectation with Eddie Jackson and Jaquan Brisker starting is that Cruikshank is a special-teams first player who can also contribute in sub-packages on defense.
Prediction: Backup safety and a core special teams contributor.
Stats: 30 Tackles, 1 PBU, 1 TFL, 1 FF.