Vildor’s Redemption, Jenkins Continues to Shine, Gordon is Getting Right, and Other Bears Bullets

I took myself out for some self-care on Friday evening. And after that Thursday Night Football loss to the Commanders, I hope all Bears fans did something similar.

  • Feeling the Monday morning post-loss slog on a Friday really put me through a blender. But, as a reminder, it wasn’t ALL bad. Pro Football Focus’ five highest-graded Bears is full of surprises I would consider to be welcome news:
  • If you were searching for a silver lining, NBC Sports Chicago’s Josh Schrock sharing the high grades from TNF is a good place to start. What’s not to love here? The team’s best defender was cornerback Kindle Vildor, whose renaissance season at cornerback continues. Vildor has gone from being on the outside looking in after a tumultuous second season as a pro to being a serviceable starting cornerback. In a year where we want to see player development from anyone and everyone on a rookie scale contract, seeing Vildor make a leap has been wonderful to watch. Besides, who doesn’t love a good bounce-back story?
  • This deserves its own line: Kindle Vildor is PFF’s 17th highest-graded cornerback right now. His 72.5 grade is better than the likes of Jaire Alexander (70.8), Trevon Diggs (69.8), Darius Slay (69.3), and Marlon Humphrey (68.8). Just saying … it’s not that Vildor has only exceeded my expectations, he is grading out well by PFF’s standards.
  • Head Coach Matt Eberflus had some love for Kyler Gordon, the rookie cornerback who is starting to turn around his season. From Larry Mayer of the Bears’ official website:
  • “We know it’s a learning process with a younger player,” Eberflus said. “We know they are going to go through some ups and downs and some ins and outs as you go.

    “For example, Kyler Gordon, you look at the way he played last night, well, he played pretty good, didn’t he? So he’s had a couple ups and downs during the [season], but he has stayed the course with his eyes and vision forward to improve. He made a lot of nice tackles, made a lot of nice plays on the ball, and I thought he played really well.”

  • Eberflus had Gordon’s back when he was struggling at the outset of the year. That Gordon is starting to string together solid starts is one of the most encouraging developments to come from recent games. Rookie cornerbacks will always struggle. Opposing teams circle them on scouting reports and pick them apart in film rooms. But it’s not as if he is taking it lying down. And that the coach has been firmly in his corner from the get-go is helping lead him along to better things. Keep up the good work.
  • The Bears’ best offensive lineman? Teven Jenkins. Like Vildor, there were moments when it felt like Jenkins was going to be an odd-man-out. Instead, he has been the team’s best interior lineman and someone you can envision being part of the next competitive Bears team. Just watch him work:
  • That line will have ups-and-downs this year. And while that puts Justin Fields at some considerable risk, if he can survive it — and the Bears find a way to unearth multiple young starting linemen for the future in the process — then the team will be better for it.
  • This team continues to piece together mind-bending offensive performances:
  • To have all of that go in their favor, have Jenkins and Sam Mustipher grade out as two of their best five players, and to score just 7 points against the Commanders is one of the saddest things I’ve ever witnessed in-person at Soldier Field. That’s just inexcusable.
  • It hurt me, too, Jaylon:
  • There’s a really good conversation here between Chicago/Whitney Young product Kay Adams and Carmen Vitali about quarterback development:
  • More sad stats. This time via ESPN’s Courtney Cronin: The Bears have scored seven touchdowns on 15 red zone trips this season, a 46.7% touchdown rate which ranks 24th, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Where it worsens for Chicago its red zone scoring percentage, a 73.3% mark, is tied for fourth worst, ahead of the Broncos, Commanders and the Buccaneers.
  • It is good that the Bears are getting into the red zone. But on the other hand, getting into the red zone and not scoring touchdowns is problematic. And that the number is worse than last year (47.9%) bugs the heck out of me.
  • These Jeff Joniak player profiles are a fun watch because I learn something new every time. For instance, Nicholas Morrow being in a high school marching band isn’t something I would’ve ever seen coming:
  • Not that the Bears need more motivation to be involved in the trade market (they’ve got plenty already!), but this serves as a nice reminder that every aspect of the player-acquisition process carries considerable risk. And that all that glitters is not gold:
  • REMINDER: The NFL Trade Deadline is Nov. 1. That means Chicago’s football team has 17 days to cut some deals. There was already an expectation the Bears would be “active” in the receiver market before the deadline. But they shouldn’t stop there.
  • Also? We need to kick away the idea that the Bears shouldn’t be looking to be buying in the market. Get good players when you can and when they are made available. This shouldn’t be a controversial stance. This isn’t to say they need to risk it all to make a deadline deal. But there are moves that can be made to help boost certain roster spots without breaking the bank. Those are the types of moves GM Ryan Poles should be looking for at this time Go out and take advantage of situations that you can leverage into improving his team. Just because a team is losing doesn’t mean it shouldn’t try to get better.
  • The Bears have already done enough damage to Fields’ developmental arc by how it went about piecing together this team in the offseason. Making the same mistake twice (assuming an opportunity comes up between now and the deadline) would be a major misstep.
  • Life imitates art (quite literally):
  • Nothing but respect for 2018 Bears Pro Bowl left tackle Charles Leno Jr., who scores high marks for this get-up:
  • Speaking of old friends, FOX-59 out of Indy reports that Nick Foles is being bumped down the depth chart to QB3 as Sam Ehlinger is making the climb to backup Matt Ryan.
  • A college football Saturday without needing to do prep work for a Sunday Bears noon start is rather refreshing. Over at Windy City Gridiron, Jacob Infante has prospect spotlights worth keeping an eye on from a Bears perspective.
  • The Bears will be busy on that front today:
  • Marshawn Lynch working at The Wieners Circle is everything:
  • Hello there:
  • This was such an amazing moment. Playoff baseball is AWESOME:
  • The Bulls are out here playing 4-D chess:
  • written by

    Luis C. Medina, who you can find on Twitter at lcm1986, has been covering the Chicago Bears at Bleacher Nation since 2017. Since then, he has written about 3 head coaches, 5 play-callers, and 11 starting quarterbacks. Previously, Luis wrote about the Cubs and MLB at BN (2015-16) and worked in the Chicago Tribune sports department (2011-16). He also co-hosted a Cubs postgame show, Outside the Ivy, in 2019.

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