Saturday marks the last time players on the Bears roster bubble will get a chance to make an impression upon their coaches in real game action, and make a case to earn a job. Other guys will fight to move up the depth chart into key backup roles. For Tyrique Stevenson, it’s an opportunity to lock up the second starting outside corner job, and prove to the team that he’s learned from his mistakes.
Stevenson had a remarkable preseason debut against the Titans, when he showed great instincts and physicality to lead the team with seven tackles. His second preseason game was notable for the wrong reasons. First, Stevenson let a would-be interception pass right through his hands, allowing a Colts touchdown in the process. A little later, Stevenson drew an unnecessary roughness flag for throwing Kenyan Drake to the ground after Drake was already safely out of bounds.
In head coach Matt Eberflus’ H.I.T.S. scheme that values takeaways and playing smart football, each moment was a big no-no.
When asked on Thursday what he would like to show coaches in the final preseason game, Stevenson started with a joke.
“Just show I can make improvements, as far as last game, and I can actually catch,” Stevenson quipped.
Everyone knows Stevenson can truly catch the ball for splash plays. He’s done it all summer and there’s no concern that he won’t show off the same athletic playmaking ability when the lights come on for real in the regular season.
The flags for unnecessary roughness are another story, though. Stevenson has been one of the most physical players throughout camp. He’s also done some of the most trash talking, along with wide receiver Chase Claypool. Stevenson admitted he’s been trying to see how far he can push his intensity this summer as he tries to learn how much is too much.
“You’ve got to know where the line is,” Stevenson said. “You’ve got to understand that intensity’s really what’s a part of this game and I’m always going to bring it, but just I’ve got to know where the line is drawn at and not to go over it to cause harm to the team.”
Stevenson feels like he has a better understanding of where that line is now and said the mistake he made when he threw Drake to the ground won’t happen again. He’s trying to figure out how to play a bit more contained and controlled, while still being the best version of himself, because the best version of himself will always bring physical intensity.
“That's how I play. Even in college I was aggressive and always brought the intensity, so it always seems like I’m close to that line.”