Jaylon Johnson, Kindle Vildor go to season-ending IR


The Bears lost two starting cornerbacks for the rest of the season in one fell swoop on Friday. The team placed both Jaylon Johnson and Kindle Vildor on IR, ending their 2022 campaigns.

Johnson had battled through an abdominal injury for parts of the season, then injured his ring finger and was wearing a brace on his hand throughout the week. On Thursday, Matt Eberflus said he felt good about Johnson’s ability to play, but obviously things changed as the team made final preparations for the Bills game on Saturday. Johnson continued his top-tier play as the team’s No. 1 cornerback this season. He finished the year with a 58.8% completion percentage allowed, and only gave up one touchdown in pass coverage. Johnson made 35 tackles, had seven PBUs, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. Vildor took a big step in his third NFL season and worked as the Bears second outside corner in nickel packages. He was much improved in pass coverage working in Eberflus and Alan Williams’ defense, and was a reliable contributor when defending the run. Vildor finished the year with 34 tackles, five PBUs and one interception.

With both Johnson and Vildor on IR, Kyler Gordon will act as the team’s No. 1 cornerback. Gordon has had an up-and-down rookie season, but is coming off his most productive game as a pro. Against the Eagles, Gordon came away with one interception and one fumble recovery. The team will likely look to Jaylon Jones and special teams standout Josh Blackwell to fill in for Johnson and Vildor. Both Jones and Blackwell are UDFA rookies, and both of them have impressed whenever they’ve had the opportunity to play. Jones has already made two starts this season due to injury and has played 10 or more defensive snaps in nine games. He has 40 tackles and one forced fumble this year. Blackwell only has one game with significant playing time on defense: a spot start in Week 13 against the Packers. Blackwell had five tackles that game. To further bolster the position, the Bears also elevated Harrison Hand and Breon Borders from the practice squad to the active roster.

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