Bears rookie cornerback Kyler Gordon impressed coaches and teammates at training camp, earning a starting spot through the first four games of the season.
While the Bears' top pick in this year's draft has struggled at times, coach Matt Eberflus sees those types of ups and downs as "really typical" and is not concerned.
"He's learning as he goes and he's getting better," Eberflus said. "You know for a rookie, it's small increments, just getting better. You're learning, putting those experiences away and saying, 'hey, I learned from that. I can get better here at my angles, at my tackling, at my coverage, at my line of scrimmage, crack replace.' All the things that a corner does, and he's learning that and he's getting better at those things.
"It's a lot of experiences to go through as a rookie, and I think that you have to put him in there in order to have those experiences. He has the talent, he has the want-to, he has the desire, he's tough and he has everything you need to succeed."
Pass rush dependent on pass defense
Defensive end Robert Quinn's Pro Bowl campaign last year was highlighted by his 18.5 sacks, which broke the Bears single-season sack record. Through four weeks of the 2022 season, Quinn has recorded just 1.0 sack, delivering one on Aaron Rodgers in Week 2 against the Packers.
While Quinn has been quiet to start the season, Eberflus is still pleased with the veteran's level of production that doesn't reflect the stat sheet.
"I mean we are always looking at ways to shake a good pass rusher loose, you know, get the one-on-one matchups," Eberflus said. "I think he has done well. Obviously, the numbers don't show that right now but, again, you've just got to keep getting after it. You've got to keep rushing."
The Bears pass rush in general has been minimal this season, an area Eberflus is looking to improve upon. One of the factors holding back the pressure up front is the unit's efficiency with stopping the run.
"You have to create good situations for them to rush in, which I think is something we've got to do better, and that would tie into the run defense. You get your run defense going and you're better [with] first down efficiency, now you have the right to rush the passer, now it's second and longer, it's third and longer, and you get the situations that you like to have and get more opps for [Quinn] and the pass rushers."
The Bears hit the Halas Hall practice fields Wednesday afternoon as they get ready for Sunday's NFC North matchup with the Vikings.
Vildor stepping up
In his third NFL season, cornerback Kindle Vildor has started all four games for the Bears secondary. With Jaylon Johnson sidelined the last two games with a quad injury, Vildor's role has continued to expand.
Vildor, who started 12 games in 2021, played 98 percent of the defensive snaps in Week 3 against the Texans and was on the field for all 65 defensive snaps last Sunday in New York.
"He's been solid," Eberflus said. "His tackling has been great. I think he has been more aggressive. I think his coverage has been solid. I think he's improving. He's really made some strides in these first four games for sure."
News and Notes
Eberflus announced defensive tackle Justin Jones as the Bears' honorary captain against the Vikings. Jones, who signed with the Bears this offseason after four years with the Chargers, has started all four games for the defensive line. He's totaled 19 tackles and 1.0 sack so far this season.
Eberflus also told reporters Friday receiver N'Keal Harry will not play in Minnesota Sunday. Harry, who hurt his ankle Aug. 6 in practice and has been on injured reserve since Sept. 1, began his 21-day activation window Monday. Harry was back at practice this week, participating in mostly individual drills.
"We thought he looked really good," Eberflus said. "He did some practice reps for us on the show team. Did some individual there and he's looking good."