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Gordon, Brisker removed from concussion protocol | Quick Hits

Bears rookie defensive backs Kyler Gordon and Jaquan Brisker
Bears rookie defensive backs Kyler Gordon and Jaquan Brisker

Bears rookie defensive backs Kyler Gordon and Jaquan Brisker have been removed from concussion protocol after missing the last two games.

The 2022 second-round draft picks sustained concussions Nov. 20 in Atlanta and sat out subsequent contests against the Jets and Packers.

"It's great to have them back," said coach Matt Eberflus. "We're excited about it."

The Bears returned to Halas Hall Monday following their bye week and will practice Monday through Wednesday in preparation for Sunday's home game against the Eagles.

"It's important for us to be able to ramp those guys up," Eberflus said of Gordon and Brisker. "They've been working with strength staff and doing those types of things and running on the side. We've got to make sure we ramp them up the right way, coming Wednesday and working them through the rest of the week."

Gordon started the first 11 games of the season, lining up at cornerback and then moving inside to nickel back in passing situations. He has recorded 55 tackles, one interception, two tackles-for-loss, four pass breakups and one forced fumble.

Brisker started the first 11 games at safety, registering 73 tackles, one interception, 3.0 sacks, five tackles-for-loss, one pass breakup, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.

"Having Gordon there as the nickel, that'll be a big piece for us going forward," Eberflus said. "A lot of teams play 11 personnel (one running back, one tight end and three receivers), so we'll be in that group a lot. And obviously the impact Brisker has with his hitting and ball-hawking skills, we're excited to get both of those guys back."

Eberflus hopes to see more consistency from Gordon over the final four games of the season.

"He's done a lot of good things, various skillsets that he has," said the Bears coach. "Just consistency. He's had games in which he's tackled really well, and then games when he's had opportunities where we wish he'd been better. I'd really say to be more consistent the last four games."

On the mend: Eberflus expects running back Khalil Herbert to practice next week when he becomes eligible to return from injured reserve.

The second-year pro was placed on IR Nov. 15 after injuring his hip on a late kickoff return Nov. 13 against the Lions. At the time of his injury, Herbert ranked 11th in the NFL in rushing with 643 yards and four touchdowns on 108 carries.

"We anticipate him being back," Eberflus said. "We're excited about getting him back next week. He's been working. In fact, I just talked to him in the hallway here a little bit ago, and he's getting ready to go. He's been hitting his max speeds and his jumps look good and his power in his legs looks great. So we're excited for that."

Bigger role: Tight end Cole Kmet has become much more involved in the offense over the second half of the season. After averaging 2.5 targets, 1.8 catches and 19.9 yards over the first eight games, the third-year tight end has averaged 6.0 targets, 4.2 catches and 49.8 yards over the last five contests.

"I think we looked at it and said, 'hey, who do we need to get the ball to? How can we get the ball to our skill?'" Eberflus said. "[Darnell] Mooney was one of them. Cole was another. Those guys are two of our top targets. Those guys are both talented players and we got that done."

While Mooney is out for the season with an ankle injury, Kmet no doubt will continue to be featured in the passing game.

"We've got to continue to do that with Cole," Eberflus said. "Cole's a talent. He does a really good job of not only running after the catch—which we've all seen, which I think is one of the main skillsets that he has—[but] blocking. He does a really good job blocking, too. Overall, I'm pleased with Cole."

Giving back: Eberflus revealed that cornerback Jaylon Johnson will be the Bears' honorary captain this week.

The 2020 second-round pick from Utah was recently named the team's nominee for the prestigious Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award, which honors players for their on-field performance as well as their community service.

Johnson supports The Kevvy's Vision Project, a non-profit organization in his hometown of Fresno, Calif., that was created to honor his childhood friend, Kev'Vion Schrubb, who lost his life to gun violence in 2021.

"It's important for our team and each player to get out in the community, to really be supportive of that," Eberflus said. "In our team meetings every Wednesday we highlight who's been in the community for that week. We have each guy speak about the places he's visited. I think that's been really good. We've had a lot of guys involved in that. I think it's really important to give back to Chicago, us as the Chicago Bears."