Tyrique Stevenson

Jaylon Johnson shares his advice for Tyrique Stevenson after preseason mistakes

Stevenson let an interception pass through his hands, and drew an unnecessary flag

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Tyrique Stevenson has largely had an impressive summer as he fights for the Bears second starting outside corner job, but his first professional offseason hasn’t been without the typical rookie bumps.

On Saturday, Stevenson made a couple of mistakes that drew a lot of attention since they were easy to spot. First he drew an unnecessary roughness flag for throwing Kenyan Drake to the ground when Drake was already out of bounds. Then, Stevenson put himself in perfect position to intercept a pass in the endzone, but let the ball pass through his hands, which allowed Juwann Winfree to score a touchdown.

Jaylon Johnson saw plenty of playing time as a rookie back in 2020, so he knows the challenges that Stevenson is up against, and offered him simple advice.

"Keep playing. Keep going,” Johnson said. “I mean it's nothing new, especially for a corner you're going to get in there.”

Johnson didn’t struggle too much in his rookie season, but he did allow 15.8 yards per completion and surrendered five touchdowns. Considering that, Johnson doesn’t think Stevenson has it too bad at this point in the year.

“Lucky for him he's dropping picks,” Johnson said. “Not like he has to figure out how to not give up touchdowns or anything like that. So his mistakes or his learning lessons haven't been so crucial right now.”

Cornerbacks coach Jon Hoke has been tough on Stevenson this year, partly because he knows Stevenson can be great. We’ve seen Hoke pull Stevenson aside after reps in 1-on-1 or individual drills for lengthy discussions and hands-on coaching. Stevenson welcomes the challenge and has told Hoke not to take his foot off the gas if Hoke believes Stevenson needs some harsh critiques in the moment.

Stevenson’s teammates have noticed the tough love, and in those moments Johnson is there for him too.

“I'm always kind of the last one like… ‘Take it for what it is worth and keep playing your game.' I mean it's easy to take it like ‘Coach is mad at me.’ Nah. You just keep playing, do what you do, play your game and go out there and make plays. That's what it's all about."

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