Matt Eberflus isn’t going to let a little thing like an injury get in the way
Jaylon Johnson’s play against the Detroit Lions was trash. The third-year cornerback was already having a forgettable season heading into the Chicago Bears matchup against the Lions in Week 10. Against the Lions, Johnson was graded by Pro Football Focus as the Bears’ worst player on the field. Johnson was on the Bears’ Week 10 injury report. But head coach Matt Eberflus isn’t interested in hearing players’ excuses.
On Friday’s injury report, Johnson was listed as questionable to play against the Lions. Johnson was limited in practice Thursday and Friday. The Bears’ number one cornerback was battling an oblique injury. With cornerback Kindle Vildor out, the shorthanded secondary needed Johnson to play.
Johnson did and managed to miss a tackle and give up three receptions of his four targets. His two penalties on a fourth-quarter drive allowed the Lions to pretty much walk into the endzone and mount a comeback after the second illegal hands to the face call negated a Jack Sanborn interception.
Matt Eberflus was critical of Johnson’s play
According to Chris Emma of The Score, head coach Matt Eberflus said Johnson’s oblique injury was no excuse for his loafing against the Lions on Sunday:
“Ultimately, it’s going to be up to them. If they say they can go, that means they can go. We have to trust them and we really leave it up to them.”
Matt Eberflus said Jaylon Johnson's performance against the Lions doesn't get excuse because of playing through an injury: "Ultimately, it's going to be up to them. If they say they can go, that means they can go. We have to trust them and we really leave it up to them."
— Chris Emma (@CEmma670) November 14, 2022
Johnson responded to his performance on the Parkins & Spiegel Show. Johnson was aware of Matt Eberflus’ comments about the Bears’ expectations for Johnson against the Lions. He said he understood where Eberflus was coming from but that there needed to be a realistic standard for a player performing with an injury:
“There’s also a realism in it too, knowing that the player isn’t the same playing through pain,” Johnson said. “But that doesn’t change the expectation or the standard of the play. Everybody is going to be graded equally throughout the game and throughout the season no matter injuries or not. At the end of the day, I know and they know as well that I wasn’t my normal self out there and I didn’t feel like that. But it was still enough to where I felt I was able to be out there and they felt like I was able to be out there and still hold me to that standard.”
Eberflus could have taken Johnson out
Matt Eberflus kept Johnson in the game, even as the cornerback struggled in coverage Sunday. That’s probably because Johnson was still the Bears’ best option on Sunday. Eberflus must take responsibility for keeping the injured player in the game. Johnson is going to play if he can. That’s what any team should want out of their players.
It feels like he left his cornerback out to dry to the media. There’s a fine line between holding a player accountable and coming off as unrealistic with expectations for players. Eberflus knew Johnson was injured. Eberflus saw him struggle because of the injury. He made no adjustments. That one is on the coach.
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