So, let’s flip the script with the third installment and take a look at a gaggle I’m bullish on heading into coaching camp.
It is a unit with two rookies, one budding star, a former All-Professional trying to return to his elite type, and a former sixth-round choose with eyes on capturing a beginning spot.
It is time to discuss secondary, the place group that may be the energy of the 2022 Bears.
CB: Jaylon Johnson
CB: Kyler Gordon
SS: Jaquan Brisker
FS: Eddie Jackson
NB: Thomas Graham Jr.
The Bears ’secondary was downright dreadful in 2021. It ranked lifeless final in passer ranking in opposition to (103.3) and tied for thirtieth in landing passes allowed at 31.
If it appeared horrible on the skin, it felt worse to the Bears’ finest participant within the defensive backfield.
“S – t, I imply, I felt like I used to be struggling too,” Johnson mentioned throughout OTAs. “On the finish of the day, we’re all on this collectively. We simply obtained to be on one web page. I really feel like a whole lot of issues have been extra psychological than bodily issues.”
To win in immediately’s NFL, you may have to have the ability to defend and have an effect on the quarterback. With the Bears ’line of defense nonetheless a piece in progress, one of the best ways to assist what may very well be a mediocre cross rush is to have guys within the again finish who’re able to making performs.
So, new common supervisor Ryan Poles and head coach Matt Eberflus used their high two draft picks on the defensive backfield, choosing cornerback Kyler Gordon and security Jaquan Brisker.
Each rookies opened eyes early at rookie minicamp and OTAs. To Johnson, there isn’t any must ease in Gordon and Brisker. The Bears want them to play, and play nicely, instantly.
“S – t, I might throw ’em within the hearth in the event you have been asking me,” Johnson mentioned. “I imply, they’re our first two draft picks. I really feel like we have to what they will do proper now. After which I really feel like we will sort of know what the angle and what the vibe is heading into camp. If I used to be the coach, I would not ease them into it. I might throw them on the market. “
Gordon did not take part in obligatory minicamp, however he was impressed together with his takeaway potential throughout OTAs. His sticky protection abilities and nostril for the ball ought to make him a great No. 2 nook reverse Johnson.
Brisker, in the meantime, has been every part the Bears hoped for and extra. The Penn State product’s willingness to minimize within the field ought to release Jackson to maneuver to deep security, the place he thrives at studying the quarterback and inflicting havoc within the backend.
There’s little question Brisker would be the beginning robust security in Week 1 in opposition to the 49ers, and there’s no telling how good he could be.
“He is been actually good, actually good,” Eberflus mentioned after a minicamp wrapped up. “Actually, I used to be simply speaking to Alan Williams about him on the sphere, and we’re simply so thrilled together with his expertise, you understand, together with his psychological make-up and simply the particular person he’s and the place he’s in his improvement thus far Has he proven every part wanted to actually look across the nook to see ‘Hey, the place is that this man’s potential?’ And it is our job as coaches and gamers collectively to get him to his potential his first 12 months. “
Not solely does Brisker match Eberflus’ “M&M” mould, however he additionally may unlock Jackson, who’s attempting to rediscover his All-Professional type of 2018. If Brisker delivers, the Bears may get a two-for-one particular.
Poles and Eberflus inherited a bottom-five roster scenario. It needed to be gutted, and there was solely a lot they might repair of their first offseason.
Whereas the offensive line and huge receiver corps nonetheless want a facelift, they gave the secondary an inflow of expertise. If Brisker and Gordon play to their potential, the secondary needs to be a secure bedrock for the protection in 2022.
Largest query: Can Eddie Jackson discover the previous Eddie Jackson?
X-factor: Kyler Gordon
Johnson is a budding star, Jackson is a veteran who’s motivated to search out his A-game, and I imagine Brisker has the products.
However for the secondary to succeed, the Bears want a dependable No. 2 cornerback reverse Johnson. Gordon was a first-round expertise who slid into the second spherical. The Bears shortly snapped him up, and for good motive.
Gordon did not permit a landing in 722 protection snaps throughout his time in Seattle, per ProFootballFocus. He has all of the instruments to be a lockdown nook within the NFL. Size, athleticism, ball abilities, intelligence.
When he was on the sphere at Halas Corridor, Gordon had Eberflus smiling.
“Kyler’s been lighting it up the final two days,” Eberflus mentioned after the Bears’ second OTA observe. “I will simply inform you that. The man’s obtained super ball abilities. He is been taking part in the protection the suitable method, and we’re very impressed with him. I will simply inform you that. And he is doing a superb job the primary two days. “
If Gordon can deal with the educational curve, the Bears can have patched up the secondary in a single offseason.
Verdict: If Brisker and Gordon are for actual, so is the Bears’ secondary.