Chicago Bears challenge Ceylan Johnson to earn the trust of new coach Matt Eberflus – Reading Eagle

Since the day he joined the Chicago Bears just over two years ago, Ceylan Johnson has highlighted the greatest prerequisite for top-level corner defenders.

“Have a short memory,” he said again on Tuesday.

So perhaps it was about the fact that when Johnson was asked about the marked individual growth in the 2021 season, full of failures on the part of the Bears ’defense, he couldn’t recall a pronounced struggle.

“Why isn’t our pass defense so good?” Johnson asked with genuine curiosity. “It’s easy to say we weren’t good. But I want to know the numbers. “

Well, for starters, the Bears ’opponents have published a pass rating of 103.3, the highest allowed by any NFL defense.

Only the Washington and Indianapolis Colts football team allowed more landing passes than the 31 given to the Bears.

The Bears also finished in the top five in interceptions (eight) and yards allowed per pass (7.6), despite allowing only 191.6 yards per game.

So what was that experience like for Johnson, who became a reliable cover in a defense that had its problems?

“I mean, I also felt in trouble,” he said. “After all, we are all in this together. We just have to be on one page. I feel like a lot of things (last season) were more mental than physical. ”

Pretty fair.

Now it is in the future and in the last phase of the mass reset of the Bears, which continues from the first week of organized teamwork in Lake Forest. Johnson went out to training on Tuesday with lots of new faces around him. He has a new head coach Matt Eberflus, a new defense coordinator in Alan Williams and a new defense coach in James Rowe.

The Bears also used the draft last month to do an upgrade to their secondary, adding corner defender Kyler Gordon and security keeper Gioquan Brisker with a run-off election. Both beginners plan to start the first week.

Johnson is observant enough to realize that a lot is going on in Halas Hall to start over – even for senior veterans.

“It’s a complete reset,” he said. “Everything I’ve done in the past with other coaches, with other staff, it really means nothing.

“I mean, the movie won’t lie to you. But in the end, they want me to personally show them what I can do. ”

So why could Johnson train a new coaching staff next month during OTA and Minicamp?

“It just comes down to work ethic,” he said. “It’s just to earn that respect as an employee and do extra. I mean, now it’s not too much about production. In fact, it is important to know your job and play hard. “

Johnson has been impressive for the long stretches of 2021, raising his hand to obscure the opponent’s main receiver when needed, and showing that he is more than capable of growing to an outstanding NFL. His total interception (from one) over two seasons leaves much to be desired, but last year he earned respect throughout the locker room for his competitive advantage, accurate voice and approach to training and games.

Former Bears Tashon Gipson has repeatedly supported Johnson as a new star with the potential to get into the top five defenders of the league. But at least for now, Eberflus is challenging Johnson every day to prove himself.

Saying Tuesday that Gordon this week “lit it up” in practice, Eberflus called Johnson “work in progress”, stressing that the third-year indigenous defender has something to work on.

When seeking specifics, Eberflus stressed the need to see Johnson play with his own eyes more often.

“I want to see him in person,” Eberflus said. “I have to get on time. So I really don’t know how to answer that question now. … I have to see the guy cover up. I have to see how he takes his corners as he plays with the ball. I have to see all these things before we start delving into the details and coaching it. ”

Johnson noted significant differences in the system established by Eberflus and Williams from those in which he played under Chuck Pagan and Sean Desai during the first two seasons. First, in the new scheme of the “Bears” cutbacks will be more likely to look at the quarterback, if they are asked to learn the nuances of coverage areas.

But feeling a breakthrough in Year 2 with his level of comfort and confidence, Johnson feels he will be able to quickly overcome the necessary bridges.

“I feel just as confident as before,” he said. “I don’t feel like there’s nothing I can do.”

He also acknowledged the enthusiasm he felt three weeks ago when the Bears used the top two draft picks to add to the secondary.

“(I was) glad that some high-level guys came and were able to contribute,” Johnson said. “They are talking. They are hungry for the sword. It’s definitely good knowing they’re aggressive. ”

Until that last moment, Johnson expressed his attitude “sooner or later” to the appearance of Gordon and Brisker on the field and fixed it in the starting lineup.

“I would throw them into the fire if you asked me,” he said. “I mean, this is our first two draft elections. I feel we need to see what they can do now. And then we can know what attitude and what atmosphere is going to the camp.

“If I were a coach, I wouldn’t make it easy for them. I would have thrown them out. “

As the Bears continue to transition, they need Johnson to play a prominent role and continue to pursue. This process should be accelerated in May and June so that Johnson can earn the full confidence of the coaching staff in front of the training camp.


Back to top button