May 28, 2024

The Bears’ defense displayed promise by securing three takeaways against the Lions last week, but it crumbled in the fourth quarter, highlighting the need to cultivate the mental fortitude required to close out games. Safety Jaquan Brisker emphasized the significance of mental strength in finishing, stating, “Finishing is … 90% mental, 10% talent.”

When Bears safety Eddie Jackson observed Cowboys cornerback DaRon Bland setting an NFL record with his fifth interception return for a touchdown against the Commanders on Thanksgiving Day, it triggered nostalgia and perhaps a tinge of regret for Jackson. Reflecting on Bland’s achievement, Jackson acknowledged its exceptional nature, drawing parallels to his own early success in the NFL with five defensive touchdowns in his first two seasons.

Despite the disappointment of a fourth-quarter collapse in the previous game against the Lions, the Bears’ defense has an opportunity for redemption when facing Joshua Dobbs and the Vikings on Monday night. With linebacker Tremaine Edmunds returning from injury and defensive end Montez Sweat in his fourth game since joining through a trade, the defense is currently at its strongest in Matt Eberflus’ two seasons as head coach.

The three interceptions against Lions quarterback Jared Goff marked progress, but the call is now for playmakers, stoppers, or closers to emerge and for Sweat to fulfill his role as a game-changer. Safety Jaquan Brisker stressed the need for heightened effort and trust among teammates, emphasizing that leaders must step up and make pivotal plays.

Cornerback Jaylon Johnson had opportunities against the Lions but missed two potential interceptions that could have been turned into touchdowns. Despite acknowledging missed opportunities, Johnson sees room for improvement and considers the game a solid performance with the potential for further growth.

The article suggests that establishing a higher standard, such as making A-plus-plus plays, may be the missing element for players like Johnson, who aspires to be an All-Pro this season. Regardless, the overarching goal for the Bears’ defense is to develop the mental toughness required to dictate the game’s pace and assert dominance over the opposing offense.

Jaquan Brisker reiterated the mental aspect of finishing, emphasizing that it starts with mental preparation and execution based on the calls. In conclusion, the Bears’ defense aims to fortify its mental resilience, understanding that finishing games strongly is primarily a mental challenge, with talent playing a supporting role.

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