Chicago Bears CB Jaylon Johnson should shut down Josh Reynolds
The Chicago Bears can trust their rookie cornerback against the LA Rams
The Los Angeles Rams move their wide receivers around, so it is fair to note that Jaylon Johnson will see bits and pieces of all of their receivers. However, when looking at the distribution of routes ran on the side of Jaylon Johnson, Josh Reynolds run 53% of his routes on that side, Cooper Kupp is 22% on that side, Van Jefferson is 14%, and Robert Woods is 11%.
For the majority of the game, the expectation for Johnson is that he will take on Reynolds. In previewing the Panthers game last week we noted that despite D.J. Moore and Robby Anderson not being the biggest names, the offense they ran would give Johnson a tougher test than any other game.
That prediction came to fruition, as their style gave Johnson discomfort. On Monday, the expectation should be the opposite. Jaylon Johnson should have a great game against Josh Reynolds.
While Moore and Anderson ran inward breaking routes that took Johnson out of his comfort zone, Josh Reynolds runs a limited route tree. He is thin-framed and profiles more as a deep threat, that is more similar than Marvin Jones or Darius Slayton.
Jones had some success against Johnson, but Johnson was excellent in his debut. Beyond that, he shut down Slayton, who has a very similar route tree to Reynolds.
Below you can see Reynolds targets from his last game. It is clear that he lines up on the left side, and gets targeted deep down the field towards the sidelines.
Reynolds has five targets 20 yards deep down the left side of the field and has four targets on the right side period. It is clear what the Rams want to do with him.
One of the benefits of having a deep ballplayer, beyond the gains in chunks, is that he always demands safety respect. This helps open the underneath and over the middle passing.
One way the Chicago Bears can combat this is to leave Johnson on an island when he takes on Johnson. Everything about the matchup says that Johnson can handle his own, and will not be tested over the middle, where he is a bit weaker.
The Bears can instead focus on dropping their safety into a robber role to take away crossers from the slot that include Cooper Kupp. Jaylon Johnson had some ups and downs on Sunday, but overall grew as a player when he was tested in unfamiliar spots.
Now, Johnson gets a much easier, and much more familiar matchup that suits perfectly to his strengths. Johnson should have a strong game on Monday.