The Bears might need some help in the secondary this week when they take on Russell Wilson and the Broncos in Week 4. In the first injury report of the week, the Bears were dinged up at defensive back.
The two most significant players on the injury report are Jaylon Johnson and Eddie Jackson. Johnson is the team’s best coverage cornerback and has the ability to shadow a team’s top wide receiver if needed. The Bears want Johnson to create more takeaways this season, and he’s had some success in that department early on. Johnson forced a fumble against the Buccaneers in Week 2, but the ball bounced far away and the Bucs recovered.
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Jackson is the defense’s most proven ballhawk. He was in the middle of a renaissance season last year, but had his campaign cut short due to a Lisfranc injury he suffered in Week 12. Jackson went down with another non-contact foot injury in Week 2 this year, and that foot injury kept him out of last week’s game against the Chiefs.
If Johnson doesn’t improve, rookie Terell Smith figures to take his place at outside corner. Smith played a bit on defense in Week 2, but took on a big role in Week 3 when Johnson went down. He’s had solid success when targeted this year, with a 44.4% completion rate allowed. Further, Smith has 10 tackles with no missed tackles. If Jackson misses a second week in a row, Elijah Hicks will fill in for him again. Hicks has given up three catches on three targets this season and has nine tackles to go with two missed tackles. The Bears drafted Hicks in the seventh round of last year’s draft.
The final injury of note is Josh Blackwell’s hamstring ailment. If Blackwell can’t go the Bears will be down to their third slot corner, since Kyler Gordon is on IR with a broken hand. When Blackwell has been available this year the Bears have largely turned to Greg Stroman Jr. to take over in nickel packages. Jaylon Jones and Quindell Johnson have also taken limited snaps in the slot.
It’s also worth noting that Tyrique Stevenson was listed with an illness, but was able to practice in full on Wednesday. Stevenson was evaluated for a concussion in Week 3. Stevenson’s status is worth monitoring as the week progresses in case his illness gets worse.