'A complete reset': Chicago Bears are challenging Jaylon Johnson to earn the trust of new coach Matt Eberflus

Dan Wiederer, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Football

When pressed for specifics, Eberflus stressed the need to see Johnson play with his own eyes more frequently.

“I want to see him in person,” Eberflus said. “I’ve got to have time on task. So I don’t really know how to answer that question right now. … I’ve got to see the guy cover. I’ve got to see how he takes his angles, how he plays the ball. I’ve got to see all those things before we’re going to start diving into the details of that and coaching him.”

Johnson noted vast differences in the system Eberflus and Williams are installing from the ones he played in under coordinators Chuck Pagano and Sean Desai during his first two seasons. For starters, in the Bears’ new scheme, cornerbacks will have their eyes on the quarterback more often while asked to master the nuances of zone coverages.

But after feeling a breakthrough in Year 2 with his comfort level and confidence, Johnson feels certain he can cross the necessary bridges quickly.

“I feel as confident as ever,” he said. “I don’t feel like there’s anything I can’t do.”

He also acknowledged the enthusiasm he felt three weeks ago when the Bears used their top two draft picks to add to the secondary.


“(I was) excited just to have some high-level guys come in and be able to contribute,” Johnson said. “They’re ballhawks. They’re ball hungry. That’s definitely a good thing, knowing they’re aggressive.”

To that last point, Johnson expressed a the-sooner-the-better attitude toward getting Gordon and Brisker on the field and locked in with the starters.

“I’d throw ‘em in the fire if you’re asking me,” he said. “I mean, they’re our first two draft picks. I feel like we’ve got to see what they can do right now. And then we can know what the attitude and what the vibe is heading into camp.

“If I was the coach, I wouldn’t ease them into it. I would throw them out there.”

As the Bears continue their transition, they need Johnson to play a prominent role and continue to push himself. That process must accelerate in May and into June so that Johnson can earn the coaching staff’s full trust before training camp.

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