LAKE FORST, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF) — Watching Justin Fields, receiver DJ Moore and the rest of the Bears’ offense is the fun part of this Bears’ training camp, But the bigger key to the Bears’ progress this season is improvement on the defensive side of the ball. That’s where linebacker Tremaine Edmunds comes in.

The Bears defense hit a low point last season. It ranked 29th in the NFL in total defense, 31st against the run and last in sacks. On top of that it came up with only 23 takeaways, so Ryan Poles went heavy for defensive players in free agency. That’s where he landed Edmunds, the former Buffalo Bill. Poles say Edmunds became a key voice on the defense in no time.

“Yeah, it was fast. It wasn’t just his presence on the field, but also, you know, he brought that group together and the defense together, even if it was away from the building as well.”

Edmonds likes to have people lean on him. He wants to be a leader.

“When I was in that leadership role in Buffalo, you know, nothing changed here. I take full responsibility.”

Edmunds is only 25 years old, but he has already been to two Pro Bowls. He was the Bills’ first round draft pick in 2018. He has big game experience from his Buffalo days. He knows what it’s like to be part of a winning team. He learned a lot in Buffalo.”

“It’s a bout not pointing fingers,” said Edmunds of winning through adversity. “It’s about, number one, taking accountability. I think that’s one of the things that made us have success. A lot of guys took that accountability.”

The Bears are known for their great linebackers, from Butkus to Singletary to Urlacher, and now Tremaine Edmunds would love to have his name added to that list one day. He was asked if he still feels like he has anything to prove as an NFL linebacker or even prove to himself.”

“I’ve got to prove to myself first before anybody else and prove to myself that I’m the player that I know I am, that I can make the plays I know I can make. So, it’s not about proving it to nobody else. Once I prove it to myself, I let I let that speak for itself.”

In March Edmunds signed a four-year contract with the Bears for $72 million.