Bears Urged to Bench Young Starter Ahead of Rivalry Matchup

Matt Eberflus

Getty Bears head coach Matt Eberflus is being urged to bench one of the team's top rookies.

Chicago Bears cornerback Kyler Gordon has played in just four games so far in his NFL career, and he has looked overwhelmed in nearly every one.

Bears general manager Ryan Poles, who was without a first-round selection in 2022, chose Gordon with his first pick at No. 39 in Round 2. Poles went defense with his first two picks, and he did it during an offseason in which wide receiver and offensive line where the team’s primary needs. Thus, if the first-year GM doesn’t want to catch a ton of flak early, he’ll need Gordon and fellow second-rounder Jaquan Brisker to turn into capable starters.

So far, Brisker has been noticeably better, and while Gordon has shown flashes, the rookie corner has looked lost more often than not.

The Bears are currently sitting at 2-2 and they have a Week 5 matchup against the NFC North rival Minnesota Vikings (3-1) awaiting them on October 9. The Vikings, of course, are loaded at wide receiver. Justin Jefferson is currently ranked fifth in the NFL with 393 receiving yards, and Adam Thielen, while past his prime, is still a threat. One analyst thinks the Bears should bench Gordon prior to the matchup in order to avoid disaster.

Gordon ‘Shouldn’t Be Treated Like’ Early-Round Pick Right Now, Analyst Says

In his October 4 column for Bears Talk, Bryan Perez floated the idea of sitting Gordon, particularly considering the Bears visit Jefferson and the Vikings next.

“The Chicago Bears will face the Minnesota Vikings in Week 5 in a game that will be the secondary’s toughest test to date,” Perez wrote. “It’s scary to think of Gordon matching up with Justin Jefferson one-on-one. That won’t end well for the Bears with how Gordon is playing right now.”

Perez didn’t suggest a permanent benching; He thinks the Bears should sit Gordon for a short period of time, or perhaps have him come in off the bench as opposed to starting. “Maybe he needs to sit for a week,” Perez added. “Come off the bench. Play as a reserve. It’s not like he’s a first-round pick who warrants the longest of leashes. Gordon, for as talented as he might be, isn’t playing like an early-round draft selection. He shouldn’t be treated like one right now.”

Perez has a point. Opposing quarterbacks have a 140.2 passer rating when looking Gordon’s way, and he has allowed 20 completions and two touchdowns on 27 targets, according to PFF.

He’s giving up a whopping 16.8 yards per reception and also had two costly penalties called against him, including a 40-yard pass interference penalty in Chicago’s 20-12 Week 4 loss to the New York Giants.

Still, considering how shorthanded the Bears currently are, benching Gordon now doesn’t seem like the best idea.

Bears Are Already Shorthanded at CB

Chicago’s top corner, Jaylon Johnson, is currently out with a quadriceps injury. As long as Johnson is sidelined, the Bears can’t afford to sit Gordon.

Perez did acknowledge that the Bears don’t exactly have a ton of talent with Johnson out of the picture. “The problem for Eberflus and the Bears is that the depth chart doesn’t offer an obvious option to replace Kyler Gordon with the starters,” he noted.

Exactly. So why bench Gordon heading into an important divisional matchup? It doesn’t make much sense. A better idea, which Perez also alluded to, would be to have Gordon come off the bench and not start — but with Johnson out, that just doesn’t seem like an option yet.

Kindle Vildor has performed well this year, but with undrafted free agent Jaylon Jones and the little-used Lamar Jackson as the team’s primary depth at corner, benching Gordon is something that shouldn’t happen — at least not yet.

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2 months ago

Hmmm, maybe they should platoon Gordon and Vildor, since that’s worked so well at right guard….just sayin’!

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