Skip to main content
Publish date:

Bears Try to Restore Kindle Vildor's Confidence

Defensive coordinator Sean Desai is trying to distribute some of the blame for Sunday's key blown pass coverage to take some pressure off second-year cornerback.

Sean Desai's Bears defense has had trouble defending the pass at crunch time in several games this year, including the last two.

Now they could have trouble doing it any time.

The team put slot cornerback Duke Shelley on injured reserve Tuesday with the hamstring injury he suffered in the Baltimore game and brought up defensive lineman Margus Hunt from the practice squad. It means they'll likely play Marqui Christian at slot cornerback, and when he started at the position in Week 1 his production was poor enough to cause Desai to put Shelley back into the lineup and keep him there all year.

It's just another blow for a secondary reeling after a total breakdown to finish last week's 16-13 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. To add to their troubles, they might be facing Lions starting quarterback Jared Goff this week as he has apparently recovered enough from an oblique injury to play.

On Tuesday, Desai tried to take some of the blame for that late collapse away from cornerback Kindle Vildor, who clearly was the defensive back who didn't cover Sammy Watkins on the 29-yard completion to set up the winning Ravens touchdown.

"A frustrating miscommunication on a lot of levels and obviously anything that's reflective on the field is reflective on me," Desai said. "I gotta make sure the guys do a better job of that. When you're rotating guys in, it's not just Kindle, I want to make that clear, because there's a couple guys and Marqui was in on that play as well, so it's a shared responsibility of how we want that coverage played.

"And the unfortunate part is we played that coverage a dozen times in that game, probably, before that and executed it correctly before that."

Desai changed up the coverages prior to the game to clarify everything and prevent mixups, like they had in losing to the Steelers with poor pass coverage at game's end.

"So, ironically, last week we changed the process," he said. "And we unfortunately, not unfortunately, I think it was for the better, I think the players said it was for the better, where we emphasized really two-minute at one of our last meetings and the routes that we were going to get."

The defensive call was one Desai said resulted in five of the six sacks in the game, so it apparently had quarterback Tyler Huntley baffled the coverage got him to hold the ball too long.

"I always go back and re-call the game, and there's, of course, a better call in that situation where there's no chance of that happening that way," Desai said. "Uh, that's something I've got to live with."

Now, he expects they've got the issue solved.

Read More

"We got to the root of it and quite frankly, to be honest with you, when I'm up in the booth, I didn't know what the root of it was because it was that unexpected," Desai said. "But as soon as you get down and you need a little bit of time, you watch the tape and you find the root and we talked to the players about it and everybody knows where the accountability stands and it always starts with me.

"But in terms of the execution, everybody knows where we need to be and how we need to make sure things like that don’t happen in critical situations, which unfortunately for us, they've happened."

Which all goes back to Vildor. 

Regardless of scheme and responsibility, he had the chance to prevent the play but didn't. Vildor was seen on the sidelines with head in hands afterward.

"There's not a lot you can say to an individual after, if a play is on him like that," linebacker Roquan Smith said.

So Desai sought to restore some of the second-year cornerback's confidence, but acknowledged  Vildor "... has kind of been in a little bit of a rut."

Desai had a one-on-one talk with Vildor Monday aimed at getting him to refocus.

"What is this, his 16th or 20th start?" Desai said. "He's going to have to go through those growing pains a little bit. He's going to have to endure it and it's a good challenge for him to make sure he's mentally tough enough to go through that.

"And we're here to support him to go through that."

Twitter: BearDigest@onFanNation