Eberflus's Secret Weapon
Beyond the hype surrounding quarterback Justin Fields, the true strength of the 2023 Bears lies in their dominant secondary. Led by talent and potential, this defensive backfield will play a crucial role in determining the team's success in the upcoming season.
The Dominant Defensive Backfield
Promising players fill the defensive backfield: Eddie Jackson, a former All-Pro safety; rising star Jaquan Brisker; Jaylon Johnson, a strong cornerback in a contract year; and rookies Tyrique Stevenson and Terell Smith competing for the opposite corner spot. Slot player Kyler Gordon aims to improve.
Importance of the Secondary in Eberflus's Scheme
Under the guidance of second-year coach Matt Eberflus and his blitz-averse scheme, the secondary will play a critical role in providing different looks and extended coverage. Eberflus emphasizes the importance of diverse coverages and disguises to challenge opposing quarterbacks and offer the defensive line more opportunities to pressure.
Addressing Last Year's Weakness
In the previous season, the Bears struggled with their pass rush, ranking 25th in blitzing frequency and resulting in a league-worst 20 sacks and a 31st place in pressure rate. To address this weakness, the team signed Yannick Ngakoue, a seasoned defensive end with an impressive career sack record, adding depth and talent to the defensive line.
The Rising Star Jaquan Brisker
Jaquan Brisker, a standout second-round rookie from Penn State, impressed Halas Hall despite a forgettable team performance last year. With 104 tackles, four sacks, and an interception, Brisker's talent shines. Eberflus praises his work ethic and drive to be among the elite safeties in the league.
The photo was taken from the official Instagram account of Jaquan Brisker (@quannyb)
The Leadership of Eddie Jackson
Eddie Jackson, a two-time Pro Bowler, and a leader on the field, has become the anchor of the Bears' defensive backfield. Despite injuries, he remained a vocal presence, making critical calls in the secondary and setting an example with his execution and focus on the next play.
The photo was taken from the official Instagram account of Eddie Jackson (@bojack)
Challenges and Competitions
The secondary faces challenges, but Coach Eberflus believes in Kyler Gordon's blitzing and run defending skills. Tyrique Stevenson and Terell Smith add depth, competing for a starting spot alongside Jaylon Johnson.