The Bears are going to be without several key players in their secondary when they take on the Broncos this Sunday. The team announced on Friday that starting outside corner Jaylon Johnson, starting free safety Eddie Jackson and backup nickel corner Josh Blackwell are all out for Week 4’s game. Starting nickel Kyler Gordon is already on IR with a broken hand. That leaves rookies Tyrique Stevenson and Terell Smith to start at corner, second-year players Jaquan Brisker and Elijah Hicks and third-stringer Greg Stroman to play in the slot.
Where does that rank in terms of youngest secondaries head coach Matt Eberflus has fielded over his years in the NFL?
“It’s probably No. 1,” Eberflus said. “Those guys are excited. They’re ready and we played a lot of young guys last year. Those guys have talent and they’re good players. We’re excited to see Smitty and Tyrique in there full time. It’s gonna be a good challenge for those guys.”
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It certainly will be a challenge, since the Broncos field a talented corps of pass catchers, including Jerry Jeudy, Courtland Sutton and rookie phenom Marvin Mims. Further, new Broncos head coach Sean Payton has had quarterback Russell Wilson playing better, compared to his disastrous 2022 campaign.
It’s also worth noting that Travis Homer is questionable to play with an ankle injury. Homer has been a core special teams contributor for the Bears this year. He’s played over 60% of the team’s snaps in the third phase this year and has one tackle.