3 Chicago Bears looking to prove they belong as starters in 2024

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The final games of 2023 for the Chicago Bears will be about finishing strong and creating momentum for the next year. Some players will be playing to cap off a contract year, and other players will be looking to start and find jobs for next year. Who are some players with a lot to gain in the final two weeks?

3. The Chicago Bears have a cornerback battle 

The question for the Chicago Bears at one cornerback spot is whether the team will extend Jaylon Johnson or if they will have to play out a year on the franchise tag. However, things are getting very interesting opposite of Johnson. Tyrique Stevenson has not been bad, but he has been picked on at times. The Bears' other rookie, Terell Smith, had looked good when he was called upon. An injury to Stevenson against the Vikings led to Smith starting, and since then, they have decided to platoon the two.

It went from 72% in favor of Stevenson to 65%, and last week the split was 51%. At this rate, Smith is coming for his job. It makes sense. Over the last three games, Stevenson has allowed 2.2 yards per coverage snap, while Smith is at 0.65. 

Teams tend to target Stevenson when he is on the field but do not attack Smith at the same rate. So, these two have a lot on the line. Training camp will obviously come into play next year, but if Johnson is not going anywhere, these are the last two games we will see before they set a depth chart after next offseason. If Smith plays better than Stevenson in the final five games, why wouldn’t he start over him to begin next year?

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