The Chicago Bears felt they had enough to work with at cornerback when the regular season began. Jaylon Johnson looks like a good player. They have high hopes for Kindle Vildor. All they’d need is somebody to step up at nickel and they’d be fine. Well, it didn’t go down as they hoped. Matthew Stafford and the Los Angeles Rams had little trouble throwing against them all night long.
As feared, it was the nickel spot that hurt the most. Marqui Christian, a former safety, had assumed that job over Duke Shelley who’d struggled in the preseason. That decision backfired for Chicago as the Rams went at him all night. On six targets he gave up five catches for 85 yards and two touchdowns. It was a brutal 60 minutes and as bad of a first impression as a player can make.
So bad it seems that the Bears are already seeking alternatives.
The NFL waiver wire revealed that the team had brought in three veteran cornerbacks for tryouts on Tuesday. Headlining the trio was D.J. Hayden. For those who don’t recall the name, he was the Oakland Raiders’ 12th overall pick in 2013. He never quite lived up to his draft status and has gone on to a journeyman career since then. However, this is not to say the guy has been a complete bust.
One could argue his 2018 and 2019 seasons were the best of his career. Quarterbacks had passer ratings of 86.9 and 74.2 respectively those seasons when throwing at him. Most importantly, he has extensive experience playing the nickel corner role. The problem is his 2020 was a rough one and he has a long history of injury issues. That is likely why he remains unemployed to this point. The Bears though are not in a position to be picky.
— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) September 14, 2021
Chicago Bears at least know they have a serious problem
Obviously, they aren’t going to fix it this year. The best thing they can hope for is a sort of bandaid situation. Somebody who can come in and at least be serviceable in that spot so the secondary isn’t constantly getting eviscerated every single week. Hayden is far and away the best option of that trio. Does he have anything left in the tank at 31-years old? Maybe the Bears are about to find out.
They made Shelley a healthy scratch on Sunday. Christian couldn’t handle the job. The array of quarterbacks the Chicago Bears face in the coming weeks doesn’t get any easier. One can rest assured every one of them will have Christian circles in their game plans with a simple line next to it. “Go at this guy.” Is Hayden better?
Well, he can’t be any worse.
It will be interesting if the Bears end up bringing him aboard this week. If he’s vaccinated, there is a chance he could join the team ahead of their Soldier Field debut against the Bengals on Sunday. Otherwise, it will either be Christian or Shelley manning the slot against Joe Burrow and that underrated receiving corps. Nothing comes easy to this team anymore.