People knew the Chicago Bears secondary was going to be a bit of an issue this season. That tends to happen when you lose two starters from the previous year including a former Pro Bowler. That said, they probably didn’t expect it to get this bad so fast. In their first outing of the year, the Bears were sliced to ribbons by Matthew Stafford for 321 yards and three touchdowns. On just 26 passes.
While the entire secondary will receive blame for the breakdowns, it didn’t take hard looking to recognize who the biggest liability was for the Bears. That was #23. No, not Kyle Fuller. The man who had the audacity to take over his number after he left. Marqui Christian. He was slotted into the team’s nickel cornerback spot after Duke Shelley faltered in the preseason. As it turns out? It didn’t matter because Christian is just as bad. Los Angeles went at him all night long.
It was easy money for the Rams.
Matthew Stafford targeted Christian six times in coverage. The veteran allowed five catches for 85 yards and two touchdowns. An absolutely horrendous performance. If that doesn’t scare the Bears into some sort of action, nothing will. The question is what do they do? If they already don’t trust Shelley and are realizing Christian was a mistake as well, then they may have to seek help from the outside.
Help that is almost impossible to find this time of year. All the good veterans have long since been scooped up by other teams. That said, there is one option out there that might be able to stop the bleeding. His name is Darqueze Dennard. The former 1st round pick never became a star, but he’s been among the more reliable nickel corners the past couple of seasons. QBs had passer ratings of 79.6 and 89.2 in 2019 and 2020 respectively for the Cincinnati Bengals and Atlanta Falcons.
Chicago Bears need to figure out his health situation
Dennard had initially signed with the Arizona Cardinals. However, they soon released him with an injury settlement. The cornerback had been dealing with a leg issue that isn’t entirely clear. He’s had a couple of weeks to heal presuming it isn’t too serious. His being available can be a big benefit if he’s getting close to 100%. Dennard isn’t anything special but he is a tough and pesky cornerback.
While he might not transform the Chicago Bears secondary back into a top 10 unit, he might at least make it less vulnerable. That has to be the priority right now for this team. Otherwise, the array of quarterbacks they have to face in the coming weeks will be going after Christian the same way Stafford did and there is no reason to think the results will be overly different.
This serves as a reminder to appreciate what you have.
People may have been frustrated with Buster Skrine at times the past two years, but a lot of them would welcome him back immediately were he not bedeviled by concussion concerns. The team had to make sacrifices this offseason and unfortunately, cornerback got the short end of the stick. Now they’re paying for it.