LAKE FOREST, Ill. – Kyler Gordon had a Sunday to forget in Green Bay. Aaron Rodgers targeted the Bears rookie over and over again as the Packers marched to a 27-10 win at Lambeau Field.
On the night, Gordon was targeted 13 times. Per Pro Football Focus, Gordon surrendered 10 catches for 163 yards and two touchdowns. He notched just one pass break up.
It was, in no uncertain terms, a trial by fire for the rookie cornerback out of Washington.
But Gordon's struggles are nothing to be concerned about in the long term. Rookie corners typically struggle out of the gates. Teams, especially those with experienced quarterbacks like Rodgers, will pick on rookies repeatedly until they give them a reason to go elsewhere.
After watching the film in detail with Gordon this week, the Bears believe the issues he displayed in Green Bay are very fixable. Just part of the NFL learning curve.
"Yeah, with any player and, of course, with rookies, that does happen," head coach Matt Eberflus said Friday. "You have games like that, and sometimes guys have up games and down games, and for him, it's just about the fundamentals of the game. Him understanding the speed of the game. Him understanding what works for him during the course of a game and how to cover guys, how to set force, how to tackle, how to do the basics and rudiments of the game at this level.
"And I think a lot of times, it is a step up for the rookies, playing in the pro game. It takes some time. But he's certainly talented enough mentally tough enough to get that done. He wants to improve."
The Bears showed Gordon what he has to do to fix the things that plagued him in Green Bay. They believe he has a good grasp of what it takes to correct his mistakes and aren't worried that the performance in Green Bay will be a setback.
"He is a mentally tough kid, so that's what we liked about him way back when we talked to him in the summertime or last spring or this past spring, that he is a mentally tough kid," defensive coordinator Alan Williams said. "When you have players, when you have people like that, a play or two they don't shake you."
Gordon's teammates have all been through rookie trials of their own.
Jaylon Johnson remembers being picked on "damn near every week" when he played opposite Kyle Fuller.
The message is simple. Keep chopping.
"S—t, keep playing," Johnson said after the loss to the Packers. "It's part of the league. People going to have those games where people come after them. You just have to figure out a way to get them off your back at the end of the day. But s--t, it happens to the best of us.
"It ain't too much to teach. You got to feel it of course. You got to go through it. You can't erase it. Just keep his head up. We've all had them, people at the cornerback position, you know what that feeling is like.There's not too much you can really tell somebody that's a competitor, that wants to win, that wants to of course not having quarterbacks going after you. You just got to keep going at the end of the day."
After the Packers game, Gordon said he learned a lot from going against Rodgers about the mental side of the game and how to move through a defense. He promised to be ready for the next time they face the Packers.
That opportunity won't come for two months.
But Gordon will have a chance to show that he has learned from and flushed the game against Rodgers on Sunday against the Houston Texans.
The Bears are confident Gordon has the right makeup to bounce back quickly from his first NFL baptism by fire.