Is this Chicago Bears player back in the coaches good graces?
Early into the OTA sessions, one of the bigger storylines was following Jaylon Johnson. Johnson did not attend the non-mandatory mini-camp and when he showed up to OTAs, Matt Eberflus was giving him a bit of a cold shoulder. The Chicago Bears’ third-year cornerback was lined up with the second-team, despite being the best corner on the roster.
It was obviously a message sent from Eberflus that he expects more from Jaylon Johnson, and it appears as though the message was received well.
When the Chicago Bears resumed OTAs this week, it was Jaylon Johnson getting first-team reps. One way this can be spun is that Kyler Gordon missed the practice session. Still, what Matt Eberflus said after practice makes it seem like the punishment is over.
Eberflus essentially confirmed what many thought. Because Johnson missed the first week, Eberflus wanted to send a message. He wanted Johnson to know that he was not being given anything, and that because he was a week behind, the players who were here, doing his conditioning, and learning his plays would get priority.
Once Eberflus saw that Johnson was able to handle his conditioning and handle his playbook, he was fine moving him back into the starting spot.
This is a smart message to send to Jaylon Johnson. To start, he did not take a step forward in year two after such a promising rookie season. Johnson is good, but many feel he could be great, and the difference is likely the little things.
Beyond that, Eberflus has to send the message that every position is open for competition. It is easy to say that, but when you throw Johnson into the starting role after he did not show up, it shows that you will prefer certain players.
Eberflus wanted to show the whole roster that even guys like Jaylon Johnson have to prove it on the field to win a spot. That is a smart message for a first-year coach to send.