Tyreek Stevenson Needs Work But It Wasn’t as Bad as It Looked

Brad Biggs has 10 thoughts after the Bears Loss to the Buccaneers on Sunday:

“[Cornerback Tyreek] Stevenson was worked over pretty good by wide receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. Mayfield completed 5 of 7 passes going against Stevenson for 140 yards and a touchdown. That’s an awful day for the rookie, but I think a strong case can be made the yardage total should be cut in half. Sure looked like officials could have called Evans for offensive pass interference on the 70-yard gainer he had when he pushed Stevenson down to catch Mayfield’s pass. Maybe it’s a lesson in how strong some NFL receivers are for the second-round pick.”

“Evans also cooked Stevenson for a 32-yard touchdown in the third quarter on a third-and-14 play.”

“’Just bad technique,’ Stevenson said when asked what happened. ‘Bad eyes on my end. I’ve got to do a better job of my coverage. They were just able to find, I guess, the open receiver at the moment.’

“Stevenson said he’s going to remain positive, but rest assured upcoming opponents are going to find him — and test him. Evans and Godwin are seasoned veterans and there has to be a long list of young cornerbacks they’ve baptized over the years. We’ll see how Stevenson responds because I like him as a player. He’s strong and physical and can move. He’s got to see if he can avoid making the same mistakes twice.”

I’ve read a lot of criticism of Stevenson and some of it appears to me to be well-deserved. However, I do think that there are some circumstances to note in his defense.

Its hard to tell on television but it looked to me like the Bears were playing heavy cover two zone. And it would be logical to expect that with head coach Matt Eberflus calling plays.

Time after time receivers would take the ball behind the cornerback along the side line. This is a classic cover two beater. It looks bad but fans, especially those who were around for the Lovie Smith days, should remember that the cornerback’s job in that defense is to bump the wide receiver off the line and redirect him to the inside. After that the cornerback sinks into coverage, passing the receiver off to the safety. It can be a bad look if the safety is late coming over and with both Eddie Jackson and Jaquan Brisker off the field, Stevenson didn’t get much help.

That’s not to say that Stevenson doesn’t have things to work on. He does. It just isn’t as bad as it probably looked to some people on Sunday.

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