Chicago Bears cornerback Kyler Gordon has more turnovers in mind

Keenan Allen tests Kyler Gordon from slot during mandatory minicamp

Chicago Bears cornerback Kyler Gordon (6) walks on the field during NFL football practice at the team's minicamp in Lake Forest, Ill., Wednesday, June 5, 2024. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

LAKE FOREST – The next step for Kyler Gordon is more turnovers.

The third-year Bears cornerback has five career interceptions and one forced fumble in 27 career NFL games. In his third year, he wants more.

“I feel like the biggest thing for me and what we all talk about is takeaways, more takeaways,” Gordon said this week during Bears mandatory minicamp at Halas Hall. “We have the goal of 20 and 20 – 20 interceptions and 20 fumbles. However we got to get it, we’re going to get it. That’s just kind of the standard that we’re putting ourselves to, that we all hold each other to.”

Gordon took on a new role last year, moving to the nickel permanently. Gordon served as the fifth defensive back, guarding the opposing team’s slot receiver. That was one of his jobs during his rookie season in 2022, but he took that role on full-time in 2023.

He missed four games early in the 2023 season with a broken hand, but when he came back from the injury his confidence in the role grew.

“Kyler has been in [the slot] since day one,” head coach Matt Eberflus said. “He’s faced a lot of different guys. He has done very well since he’s been here, and he’s an exceptional player. We’re excited about his third year.”

He’s faced a lot of different guys. He has done very well since he’s been here, and he’s an exceptional player. We’re excited about his third year.”

—  Matt Eberflus, Bears head coach

Gordon believes he can improve his turnover numbers by reading the run vs. pass better. That’s a huge responsibility for the nickel cornerback. If a nickel corner doesn’t play well against the run, the opposing team will take advantage of that.

He also wants to work on getting his eyes on the QB and anticipating throws.

“That all comes from film and being out there a little more and just feeling it and seeing it,” Gordon said. “And I definitely feel like I feel way more than I’ve ever felt instinct-wise, just being out there and just feeling everything in my zone and stuff like that, so those small things.”

The Bears’ secondary has a chance to be one of the best in football. The defense forced 22 interceptions in 2023, which tied with San Francisco for the most in the NFL. The secondary returns all its starters except for one. Veteran free agent addition Kevin Byard comes in to replace Eddie Jackson, who the Bears cut in February.

Cornerbacks Jaylon Johnson and Tyrique Stevenson will return as the outside cornerbacks. Jaquan Brisker will resume his role as the strong safety. Continuity is huge in the secondary, where there are a lot of moving parts on any given play.

“The communication is really pretty good,” cornerbacks coach Jon Hoke said. “Smooth, so to speak. They know how to communicate with each other and do a good job with that.”

A year ago, the Bears directed Johnson to start creating more turnovers. It worked. Johnson had four interceptions and one forced fumble. That resulted in a big payday for Johnson over the offseason.

With two years on his rookie deal, Gordon isn’t eligible for an extension yet. But he certainly knows what more turnovers could lead to. For Gordon, it starts with the small things.

“Corrections every day,” Gordon said. “I’m always taking those in film just trying to get some type of detail, some type of thing I can focus on when I go out there.”

The Bears traded for 11-year veteran receiver Keenan Allen in March. Allen has made millions of dollars with his ability to attack defenses from the slot. For Gordon, that gives him an elite player to test himself against every day in practice.

That started this week during minicamp. Gordon vs. Allen will be one of the best matchups to watch throughout training camp this summer.

“I feel like for him, he’s going to keep me disciplined and stuff like that,” Gordon said. “He’s a quick-twitch dude. He’s got a really good release and get off and stuff like that. For me, [it’s about] staying disciplined the whole entire time. Another thing for him he’s real efficient with the steps that he takes and doing what he does. For me, that makes me have to be more efficient.”

Sean Hammond

Sean Hammond

Sean is the Chicago Bears beat reporter for the Shaw Local News Network. He has covered the Bears since 2020. Prior to writing about the Bears, he covered high school sports for the Northwest Herald and contributed to Friday Night Drive. Sean joined Shaw Media in 2016.