Sunday, June 9, 2024

Jaylon Johnson Reveals Why This Bears Defense Is Uniquely Special


If there is one thing the Chicago Bears do better than most organizations, it is defense. Over the course of their long history, they’ve had some historic units. The 1940 unit pitched the only shutout in NFL championship history. The 1963 unit was #1 against the pass and the run. Of course the 1985 group pitched back-to-back shutouts in the playoffs, the only team to ever do so. One can’t forget the 2018 defense with their 50 sacks. This should help illustrate the shadow that this latest variation stands in. Jaylon Johnson, Montez Sweat, Tremain Edmunds, T.J. Edwards, and Kyler Gordon all believe this group is on the cusp of something special.

It isn’t hard to see why. Over the season’s final seven games, the defense forced 19 turnovers and allowed fewer than 20 points five times. They made life miserable for opponents. The early word out of spring practices is they look every bit as good. Kevin Byard is already making his presence felt as the new safety. Ascending defensive tackle Gervon Dexter is in top condition. Optimism surrounds rookie pass rusher Austin Booker. The talent is there. Yet that isn’t what separates this group from others.

Johnson and Gordon believe it comes from their trash-talking.

“It’s intimidating for other people,” he said. “We’re constantly running to the ball, all 11 hats. (We’re) communicating loud. I just feel like it brings a sense of ‘What are they doing?’ So I love it. Everyone’s saying something every day. Someone has some kind of energy everywhere.”

Cornerback Jaylon Johnson also used the word “intimidating.”

“It’s one thing to make plays, but when you’re talking after every play, you really start to see if somebody is going to stand up or if they’re going to fold,” Johnson said. “With execution comes energy. So I feel like for us to have that energy, we have to execute.”

Jaylon Johnson understands the lesson of previous Bears defenses.

With confidence comes a willingness to talk. Part of the game is doing everything possible to throw the opponent out of whack. While intimidation doesn’t always work, it certainly can. Getting overpowered from a talent perspective is bad enough. Having the opponent incessantly talk about it along the way can break the spirit. This latest Bears defense seems to understand that. Their main focus is on executing every single play, but they intend to have fun along the way. Getting the opposing offense flustered leads to mistakes, and mistakes lead to turnovers.

This is part of the grand scheme enacted by head coach Matt Eberflus. He wants his players to go 100% and show intensity. Everything is about getting them to play their best football. On defense, that is often done by letting them off the leash mentally, letting their personalities show. Jaylon Johnson is exactly one of those types. He has zero fear of talking trash, despite what his low-key demeanor in interviews might tell you. Everybody else follows when a leader like him is willing to do that.

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Dr. Steven Sallie
Dr. Steven Sallie
Jun 9, 2024 1:38 pm

So, the Bears defense will be as good or better as in the last half of the last season? Who says? Who knows? Wishful thinking? Each year or season is different. No guarantees! If the trash talk increases then the defense is getting better, even in practice. Really? All we can do is hope. Then show me the proof. I think the two veteran DL leaving the Bears are going to hurt the Bears D unless they are replaced.

Jun 9, 2024 9:17 am

I don’t care if they don’t make a peep ,as long as they play well.

Jun 9, 2024 5:33 am

Talk is cheap unless the story is good. I seen them dominate games at times last year. But I also seen when teams double teamed Sweat, and they weren’t putting pressure on a good QB, other teams were successfully moving the chains and scoring. It starts in the trenches.

Jun 8, 2024 7:42 pm

It’s 50/50 whether the defense is going to show up week 1 against Tennessee. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of the D. They talked a lot last year, too, then mailed it in against GB. Byard is a huge upgrade over EJax.

Jun 8, 2024 7:02 pm

I’m all for the trash talk and swagger, as long as they continue to back it up on the field.

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