Before his first NFL preseason game on Saturday, Chicago Bears safety Jaquan Brisker had announced the goal of forcing a fumble. “Immediately,” the rookie told reporters earlier in the week.
Brisker only came close to picking up the Bears’ 19-14 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs, saying he actually needed a little time to get comfortable, but the second-round pick could still leave Soldier Field feeling pretty good. your debut
On the Chiefs’ fourth drive, Brisker landed a big hit against wide receiver Skyy Moore, bringing down running back Derrick Gore for a 2-yard loss and nearly intercepting Shane Buechele’s pass intended for Noah Gray. Sure, the snaps were against second-tier players, but it was enough to make an impression on Bears coach Matt Eberflus.
“The boarding. Deflect the ball,” Eberflus said. “I should have had maybe a takeout or two. But he was high energy. Man, he likes to hit. I really liked that aggressive style for him, how he’s playing right now.”
The Bears’ other two Day 2 draft picks, cornerback Kyler Gordon and wide receiver Velus Jones Jr., sat out with injuries. So the debut for Brisker, who will likely start alongside veteran safety Eddie Jackson, was among the most notable on Saturday.
“I had to warm up at the beginning,” Brisker said. “It was great being in the ballpark and playing alongside great guys like Eddie and the rest of the defense. I thought it was a great experience for the first time.”
Brisker finished with four tackles, a tackle for loss and a pass defensed, one of the few standout rookies on a day made for such performances.
Running back Trestan Ebner, a sixth-round draft pick out of Baylor, opened his eyes with a versatile performance on offense and on special teams. And undrafted rookie linebacker Jack Sanborn, a product of Lake Zurich High and Wisconsin, was involved in two second-half shutdowns.
“Draft pick or no draft, it doesn’t matter, you want to earn the respect of the guys in this locker room and you want the coaches to see why they drafted you or why they decided to let you come here,” Ebner said. “That means more, when I can get the love of these other guys and show them that I’m meant to wear this ‘C’ on my head and I’m meant to be a part of this team.”
When Ebner returned to the bench after outrunning Chiefs defensive back Jaylen Watson with a nasty cut, his teammates told him, “Oooh, I didn’t know you could cut like that.”
“I didn’t know what they were talking about because to me it felt like I was just running,” Ebner said. “And then I saw it on the big screen, I was like, ‘Oh, that was a good cut.’ ”
Ebner admitted that he was watching the highlight of his 27-yard run on his phone when reporters approached him in the locker room after the game.
The run was part of a full day that included a 12-yard touchdown reception on a Trevor Siemian pitch, with Ebner getting past three Chiefs defenders for the Bears’ first touchdown of the preseason. Ebner also had two kickoff returns that covered 53 yards, including a 34-yard kickoff return.
Ebner said he was nervous about going on offense, especially since the first-quarter running back reps went to Khalil Herbert with David Montgomery sidelined with a minor injury. But Herbert went back to the bench between sets to tell him what he was seeing, and it calmed his nerves.
Ebner has plenty of talent around him in the running back room with Montgomery and Herbert, and the Bears have several kickoff return options as well. So Ebner felt good about being able to show off his skill set.
“It’s very competitive,” Eberflus said. “He likes it when the lights come on and you can see him compete in practice. He’s a strong runner and obviously he’s got a lot of good speed too, so he can really turn it on to get to the corner or go the distance. So we’re excited where he’s at too. And he’s doing a better job blocking, finishing runs.”
The Bears had a short field before Ebner’s touchdown reception thanks to Buechele’s interception by Sanborn on the Chiefs’ opening drive in the second half. Sanborn returned the pick 13 yards to the Chiefs 27.
“I knew they were going to try to mess with the linebacker there at Cover-2,” Sanborn said. “I was lucky enough to make a decent break and get the receiver out there and make a play.”
On the Chiefs’ third drive of the third quarter, Sanborn pounced on Gore’s fumble, which Mike Pennel forced, and the Bears’ next drive ended in a field goal by Cairo Santos.
Sanborn, who guessed he had “a lot” of family members and friends at the game, had five tackles, including one for loss, and two special teams tackles, a good impression as he battles for a spot on the roster.
“I’m going to be that guy who will do whatever the coaches ask or whatever the team wants,” Sanborn said. “Just take it day by day and be consistent with everyone.”