The crazy thing about regime change in the NFL is that it doesn’t always mean every player has to fear for their job. There are sometimes rare cases where someone who looked like a lost cause suddenly finds new life in a different system under different coaching. People almost wrote off Marcus Robinson after two unforgettable years in 1997 and 1998. Then a new coaching staff came along and he exploded for 1,400 yards in 1999. It shouldn’t be crazy to think the same thing can happen. replicate for the Chicago Bears. There is such a case that could develop.
The conversation revolves around three main names when discussing the defensive cornerback situation. One is Jaylon Johnson, the other is Kyler Gordon, and the last is Tavon Young. Most expected this trio to be the starting line-up in 2022. Still, looking at the early practices of training camp, it’s not Young running with the first-team defense. Nor is Thomas Graham Jr. curing a bad hamstring.
This is Kindle Vildor.
Many Bears fans will growl when they hear that name. They have nightmares of what happened last season. The former fifth-round pick allowed for 596 yards and six touchdowns last season. The quarterbacks had a passer rating of 136.1 when targeting him in coverage. There was no doubt that he was the weak link in high school. Most assumed he would end up being cut at some point. Yet, that did not happen.
If anything, the opposite is happening. With Graham unable to practice, Vildor got more shots with the starting defense and isn’t wasting them. Rumors persist that he made some good plays during practice. One of the ways he’s found to get head coach Matt Eberflus’ attention is his willingness to tackle. He is not afraid of contact. It’s a big problem in this defense. This growing confidence seems to have only given the 24-year-old more confidence.
The Chicago Bears put him in a much better situation.
Not only do they play in a defense that eases the burden on cornerbacks, but they also place it under Alan Williams. The new defensive coordinator has coached defensive backs for two decades. He has a long and successful track record in developing young cornerbacks. Vildor is far from the first rehabilitation project he encounters. If he thinks the third-year corner is salvageable, better trust his judgment.
The Chicago Bears choosing to play Gordon at the nickel corner makes this development so unusual. Expectations were that they would want him on the outside opposite Johnson. Still, Eberflus and the staff like him inside, where his instincts and speed can give them an advantage. Since Young isn’t known for his quality away play, this allowed Vildor to get back into the situation.
An opportunity he did not miss.
The big test is yet to come. Looking sharp in practice is one thing. Vildor needs to show he can transfer him into game situations. Eberflus plans to let the starters play important snaps in the pre-season. If the guys want to make an impression, this will be the time to do so. You rarely get a second chance in this league. Vildor is lucky.
Post views: 1,415