Chicago Bears rookie cornerback Kyler Gordon had another horrendous game in Sunday’s Week 4 loss to the New York Giants. He registered the worst Pro Football Focus coverage grade on the Bears’ defense in the defeat and now has the third-lowest grade of all defenders on the team this season.
Gordon’s box score doesn’t look terrible against the Giants. He was targeted three times and surrendered just one reception for nine yards. But data can be a dishonest beast. Gordon failed the eyeball test and looked lost on multiple reps during Chicago’s bizarre struggle to stop quarterback Daniel Jones — the runner.
Gordon’s struggles have been well documented this season. Coach Matt Eberflus has been gentle with his rookie second-round pick, going as far as making it a priority to get directly involved with his tutelage. But, at some point, players simply have to produce regardless of how young or inexperienced they are. Gordon, through four weeks, is a liability for the Bears’ defense.
Kyler Gordon has been targeted 27 times through four games. He’s given up 20 completions for 335 yards and five touchdowns. If we spread those numbers over 17 games, the receiver opposite Gordon would finish the year with 85 catches, 1,423 yards and 21 touchdowns. Not great for a cornerback who was lauded as an uber-athletic and twitchy playmaker. He’s been anything but in the first month of his career.
But that’s where caution is required. It’s only the first month of his pro career, and cornerback is one of the most difficult positions in the sport to assimilate to. Still, Gordon has to get better.
Gordon’s 41.1 PFF grade is second-worst among regular defenders on the Bears, ahead of only Angelo Blackson, although Blackson’s logged 100 fewer snaps. He has the fourth-worst tackling grade among Bears regulars.
Perhaps, the Bears are putting too much on Gordon’s plate. He’s learning two roles, which is a difficult challenge for any player, let alone a rookie at one of the game’s toughest positions. Maybe he needs to sit for a week. Come off the bench. Play as a reserve. It’s not like he’s a first-round pick who warrants the longest of leashes.
Gordon, for as talented as he might be, isn’t playing like an early-round draft selection. He shouldn’t be treated like one right now.
“He’s solid,” Eberflus said of Gordon following Week 3’s win over the Texans. “He’s building upon his experiences, and that’s the biggest thing that he can do.”
The problem for Eberflus and the Bears is that the depth chart doesn’t offer an obvious option to replace Kyler Gordon with the starters. Kindle Vildor is filling in for the injured Jaylon Johnson right now and could conceivably take Gordon’s job once Johnson is back. But it’s not like he’s lighting the world on fire, either.
The Chicago Bears will face the Minnesota Vikings in Week 5 in a game that will be the secondary’s toughest test to date. It’s scary to think of Gordon matching up with Justin Jefferson one-on-one. That won’t end well for the Bears with how Gordon is playing right now.