Has this Chicago Bears rookie turned a corner
There is no doubt that Kyler Gordon did not start his career with the Chicago Bears on the right foot. To be fair, Gordon was thrown into the fire of playing a newer position in the slot, while also missing most of training camp with an injury.
With that in mind, the first four games were a true whirlwind. He started to settle in against the New York Giants, but still had a bad pass interference. You could argue that the Minnesota Vikings game was the end of the decline, as he made multiple big tackles in the second half.
The Vikings were interested in attacking Jaylon Jones more than him in that game, which helped. Still, he followed up a decent performance against Minnesota with the best game of his career against the Washington Commanders.
Chicago Bears are finally getting the Kyler Gordon they expected
While Carson Wentz and the Commanders passing attack was not impressive, Gordon did have the number of yards allowed in this game.
The play below is a great example of some of the growth that Gordon has exhibited. First, he is matched up with the slot, but the team is in zone, so he does not follow him across the field.
This bumps Kyler Gordon into defending the Washington Commanders’ tight end or running back. Because he is in zone he first watches the tight end. However, Gordon has the awareness to see that the tight end is running downfield and that the running back is shooting into the flat, which is his responsibility.
Gordon stays in his zone, takes on the back, and knocks the pass away. Earlier in the season, this would be a lot for him to sort through mentally. Passing off the slot and tight end would usually have him thinking for a second, which would get him stuck and eventually beat.
The play below is not exactly the same, but you can see Gordon in the slot toward the top. The slot wide-out runs deep, but he needs to stay in his zone, which is to the flat. However, he gets sucked in by the deep route and leaves the flat route wide open. He is much playing more decisive now.
This is the growth the Chicago Bears need to see from Gordon. The play below may be an even better one, though.
He is shuffling back as he sees the wide receiver run deep, but keeps his eyes in the backfield and stays in his zone. Gordon now reads the screen pass and realizes that route was meant to clear him away from the play.
Look at that side of the field. There is one player, and a trailing Nicholas Morrow who makes it over in time.
However, it is pretty obvious that Morrow would not have made it if Kyler Gordon did not trip up the running back in the backfield. Gordon was able to slip under one block and run past a second lineman to get to the running back. He takes the outside, which pushes the running back into the bodies, and does just enough to slow him down and get him on the ground.
There is almost no doubt that Kyler Gordon would have watched a touchdown get scored on this play in week one. Now, he is reading the field much better, and playing a heck of a lot faster. Only one player could have stopped that play from scoring and it was Kyler Gordon.
While that was only two plays from a week six game of a poor season, the Chicago Bears have to look for signs of growth. The second-round rookie took his lumps but now appears to be maturing and playing better. We will see if this can continue all season.