The Bears cut a few players prematurely
The Chicago Bears are a sorry 3-12 with two games left in their dismal 2023 campaign. The Bears didn’t have much promise to start the season with their overall roster. The Bears had too much dead cap space to add players that would give them a competitive advantage in most games. However, two players the Bears cut this year should raise questions about the ability of the current staff to evaluate talent properly.
According to Nick Olson of Vikings Territory, Duke Shelley and Khyiris Tonga are having stellar seasons for the Minnesota Vikings. Shelley and Tonga were both with the Bears during training camp before they were waived. Both Vikings defenders are earning a top 15 grade at their respective positions.
The Bears waived both Duke Shelley and Khyiris Tonga on August 31 this year.
Both players are now playing at a high level for the Vikings, each posting a top 15 grade at their position. Either would be the highest-graded defender on the Bears' defense right now.
— Nick Olson (@NickOlsonNFL) December 27, 2022
Shelley is graded at 75 overall by Pro Football Focus this season. The Vikings cornerback had seven pass breakups for the Vikings and earned a 77.4 coverage grade. Tonga has earned a 77.3 overall grade by PFF. The defensive tackle has nine total pressures and one sack. Tonga has a pass rush grade of 79.4 this season.
Can the Bears staff evaluate talent?
The Bears might have used Tonga and Shelley’s skills this season. The Bears’ pass rush has been atrocious this season. Head coach Matt Ebeflus and Alan Williams didn’t see Tonga as a fit in their scheme. Shelley might be more flukey on the top 15 list. However, the Bears chose Shelley over Lamar Jackson and Jaylen Jones this season. Both of those cornerbacks have been terrible this season.
But talent evaluation has been suspect all season for first-year head coach Eberflus’ staff. They moved their best offensive lineman, Teven Jenkins, to right guard. Kyler Gordon struggled most of the season as the nickel cornerback. While he’s improved there, he’s shown his best football as the wide cornerback.
Roquan Smith wasn’t happy being moved from middle linebacker to the weak side. He made the Pro Bowl with the Baltimore Ravens at middle linebacker. Justin Fields was terrible in the early season when they tried to make him be like Justin Herbert in the pocket. When they turned him loose and played to Fields’ strengths of incredible mobility, the offense was nearly unstoppable before injuries decimated the offensive line and wide receiver positions.
These are serious questions fans should have about Eberflus, Luke Getsy, and Williams. They appear to prefer scheme over adjusting to talent to elevate the team. The fact that the Bears cut two defenders who are playing extremely well while the Bears are losing because of poor play at those positions is a bad look for the staff in year one.
For More Great Chicago Sports Content
Follow us on Twitter at @chicitysports23 for more great content. We appreciate you taking time to read our articles. To interact more with our community and keep up to date on the latest in Chicago sports news, JOIN OUR FREE FACEBOOK GROUP by CLICKING HERE