The 3 most important training camp battles for the Chicago Bears
3. Chicago Bears training camp battle to watch: Cornerbacks
You might be scratching your head on this one. How is the cornerback group one of the top three positional battles to keep an eye on during training camp? The Chicago Bears brought in a rookie corner to take over opposite of Jaylon Johnson, right? Well, maybe that isn’t the case. Maybe Kyler Gordon, who has been practicing at times as the nickel corner, isn’t going to be that outside corner after all. Either way, this is important seeing three corners will be on the field 60-70% of the time.
Actually, if you listened to Matt Eberflus today after Chicago Bears practice, he made it seem as though the defense may move a player like Gordon inside and outside based on matchups. Gordon could be on the outside one game and on the inside the next. He could even be moved inside and out based on matchups due to specific moments (down and distance) in a game. Eberflus sounded very excited about this possibility and Gordon’s versatility.
We know Jaylon Johnson and Kyler Gordon will be on the field no matter what. However, who will be that third corner whether Gordon is inside or outside? Tavon Young and Thomas Graham were supposed to be battling for the starting nickel spot, but with the Gordon news and Graham dealing with a hamstring injury, that battle might be decided for the Bears.
The rest of the group is interesting. Duke Shelley and Kindle Vildor saw plenty of starting action in 2021. That experience will be important going forward, but both were exposed often. Lamar Jackson (not the QB), PoPete Keyes, Greg Stroman, Jaylon Jones, and Jayson Stanley round out the rest of the group. If the team keeps five to six, many of these backend guys will hope to find a new city to play for, otherwise, their careers may be done early.
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Jaylon Johnson, Kyler Gordon, Tavon Young, Thomas Graham, Kindle Vildor and Lamar Jackson are the guys I think make the team. I think Duke Shelley is shown the door. One or two of the others could make the practice squad.