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The Question Buster Skrine Didn't Answer About Bears Cornerbacks

Buster Skrine avoided answering a question about the Bears secondary which could indicate a personnel change

Sometimes a player says a lot by not saying anything.

Then again, Buster Skrine isn't taking his first tour of an NFL secondary by any means and knows how the game is played.

Skrine played four seasons for Todd Bowles with the Jets, and before this he played through Mike Pettine, Rob Chudzinski and Pat Shurmur in four seasons with Cleveland.

So trying to get him to reveal anything about the operation of the Bears' COVID-19 virtual offseason and upcoming camp plans is going to take more than media interrogation.

Asked about the right cornerback spot and the competition there after the Bears cut Prince Amukamara, Skrine tiptoed around and thought he'd be finished.

"Everybody knows Prince is gone," Skrine said. "There's a need for a No. 2 corner. A lot of corners have been picked up in the offseason. Pretty much everyone has played besides our true rookies. Competition always brings the best out of people.

"And I think whoever does win the spot, they’re gonna be the best fit for the spot. Coming to training camp, it's gonna be interesting. I'm excited to see how the battles go."

Put that one under Generic Answer, exhibit A.

The Bears are most likely anticipating rookie second-round pick Jaylon Johnson will win the spot but have loaded up with veteran alternatives at the position in case an inexperienced player initially needs more seasoning.

Artie Burns from the Steelers, former CFL player Tre Roberson and Bears cornerback Kevin Toliver are out there just in case. No one is sure what the plans are for rookie Kindle Vildor. It's possible he'd be outside. Stephen Denmark was a seventh-round pick last year and sat on the practice squad all year and could be given a shot.

What about another obvious veteran? What about Skrine himself?

Skrine played outside, especially during that perpetual coaching-go-round in Cleveland.

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"If I'm asked to play on the outside, I can do it," Skrine said. "I've done it before. I've played on the outside in Cleveland and for two years for the Jets."

He's been more successful in the slot and played there with the Bears last year, replacing lost free agent Bryce Callahan.

"If that's asked of me, then I'm ready for it and I'm ready to compete for it," Skrine said. "But if I'm asked to play in the slot only, I'm down for it, too."

Skrine almost sounded like it's in the cards he'll get a shot outside. At 5-foot-9, 187 pounds, he wouldn't be the ideal size for an outside cornerback. A few taller receivers actually moved into the slot last year and burned him in there. Davante Adams especially caused problems for him moving inside, and other tall corners outside might be able to elevate and do the same.

Skrine was not going to answer whether he's already been asked to go outside.

"That's a game-plan question so I'm going to keep that in house," Skrine said.

At last check, the first game isn't until Sept. 13 in Detroit so it might be a stretch calling it a game-plan question.

If Skrine did move inside, the Bears would be left with trying to determine who to put at the slot cornerback. It's not an easy position to handle.

Vildor has been viewed as someone who could do it. Duke Shelley was drafted last year and put there but only got on the field defensively for eight snaps last season.

They could be weakening themselves at two positions by moving Skrine inside.

If they are planning this, it will have to be Matt Nagy saying so or perhaps next week Chuck Pagano because assistants are slated to hold press conferences.

It won't be coming from Skrine. He knows how the game is played, whether it's at slot corner or talking to media.

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