Tyrique Stevenson

Why Tyrique Stevenson's nasty edge could be vital piece to Bears' defense

The Bears want their confident edge to be their identity, and rookie Tyrique Stevenson could be a vital piece to what they want to build

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WESTFIELD, In. -- What the Bears love about rookie cornerback Tyrique Stevenson was on full display Wednesday at Grand Sports Complex during Day 1 of joint practices with the Indianapolis Colts.

During a special teams period, Stevenson laid a big hit on Colts gunner Tony Brown. Stevenson let Brown hear about it afterward, which the Colts didn't like.

Later during a team period, Stevenson gave up a catch to Michael Pittman. The two got tangled up on the play, and Stevenson jawed with the Colts' top target as both sides readied for the next snap.

Stevenson's nasty edge, his fire, is something the Bears love. But they also need the rookie to know where the line is and be able to harness it in a way that helps the team win.

“Well, what I value most is production," defensive coordinator Alan Williams said of Stevenson's edge after Wednesday's practice. "What I value most is hustle. What I value most is getting lined up. And then the extra stuff, I want guys to bring their personality but make sure that personality, that feistiness is within the bounds of how we play because part of our HITS principle is being smart, having self control, so I love the feistiness, I love the grit, I love how he… the physicalness, I just want to make sure it’s between the whistle and if it is, I’m all for it.”

That hit on Brown? That's an example of how the Bears want Stevenson to channel his nastiness.

"He was just finishing his rep," cornerback Kyler Gordon said. "We always talk bout finish finish finish, and they didn’t like how he finished. That’s what the Bears are. We gonna go out there and finish. I’m proud of him. He did his thing. Hold your own. So that’s all."

Gordon and the Bears' defense has been feeling itself throughout camp.

Led by a group of confident, trash-talking defensive backs, the Bears' first-team defense has set the tone in training camp by mostly having its way with quarterback Justin Fields and the offense. Never shy, the Bears' defense has made sure to let the offense know when they have their number. The constant trash-talking led to a scuffle between wide receiver Chase Claypool and safety Eddie Jackson and a long, verbal jawing session between Claypool and Stevenson.

The Bears' rookie doesn't back down. Ever.

It's why he fits in perfectly with a Bears' defense that wants to dominate opponents and then demoralize them.

"I just feel like the threshold just keeps getting bigger and bigger and bigger," Gordon said of the defense's edge. "Got a lot of energy, got a lot of guys. A lot of loudmouths on our team. People want to go and get at it and stuff like that, so the energy keeps rising the more we get toward the season. Soon as we get there and we start off with the Packers, it’s gonna be great, and you gonna see bits and pieces about it in the preseason, and once it gets going, it’s going to go."

The Bears' young secondary has all the components to be one of the NFL's best in 2023. They have a top-tier corner in Jaylon Johnson, a playmaking veteran safety in Eddie Jackson, a hard-hitting enforcer in Jaquan Brisker, and a smooth nickelback in Gordon.

All of them have a nasty to them. An edge that meshes with their talent and can be the backbone of a defense that believes it can be "scary good" this fall.

Stevenson is the final piece. He's got the coverage ability, the physicality, the swagger, the grit, and the unshakable confidence. All of that is what this Bears' defense wants to be built on.

They just have to ensure Stevenson lives on the line but doesn't venture across it too often. If he does that, the Bears' vision for their trash-talking, hard-hitting secondary will be complete and ready to announce itself in Week 1 against the Green Bay Packers.

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