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Bears Social Butterflies Need to Settle Down

Social media battles and complaining only underscores some issues with the Bears defense.

Coach Matt Nagy and defensive coordinator Sean Desai have had to deal with situations involving social media with Jaylon Johnson and Eddie Jackson, of all things.

Ultimately neither situation is as important as the bigger issues behind both.

Jackson got upset with criticism from former Bears linebacker Lance Briggs on the NBC Sports Chicago postgame show blasting his inability to tackle against Green Bay, as well as at other times this season.

Johnson's commentary was simply posting a copy of the letter informing him he'd been fined $2,745 by Nagy for being late to a meeting.

Of the two, the latter is more topical and the first one more deep-seeded. 

Johnson's situation shows a disrespect for the coaching staff and the organization to make a move like this. Players get fined all the time in the NFL for things of this sort. Tom Coughlin had no problem coming down on players for not being 10 minutes early to meetings.

Johnson's thoughts could be traced back to inexperience more than anything. It's his second year in the league but he still should have more common sense.

On the other hand, if a player is so bold as to do this, what does it say for the grip Nagy and staff have on the team? 

Not much.

"Well, that's news to me," Nagy said when asked about it. "But at the same point in time, I'll be able to talk to him and see what that's all about. But Jaylon's been doing great. Again, for what it is and where we're at, I'll be able to discuss it with him."

The other situation is one precipitated by Jackson's inability to make tackles or be physical. He has been accused of this since he was coming out of Alabama to the NFL so it should surprise no one. He disproved it to a major extent in his first two seasons, but it has become an issue again.

Getting knocked backward at the goal line by receiver Allen Lazard on a shovel pass was one example last week.

It's been a common complaint on social media and they again had a field day with it after Briggs made his comment, and Jackson then searched out and found a 10-year-old tweet by Pro Football Focus criticizing Briggs' own tackling.

Bottom line to this issue is Briggs was a great tackler throughout a career spanning seven Pro Bowls. He now gets paid to make comments on Jackson and other Bears and was doing his job. Jackson was paid a $58.4 million deal by the Bears to make tackles and defend passes but didn't do his job very well in those situations -- at least the tackling.

It doesn't mean he isn't doing his job ever, as Desai said on Thursday.

"I think he's doing a really good job of understand what we're trying to get done with the whole defense," Desai said of Jackson. "He takes command out there on the back end because it's not easy to play safety for us. There's a lot of adjustments and tools that they're responsible to make on the fly based on what they see from an offense. He's got great command of that and so all of those things he's doing well. He's in the spot we need him to be and quite frankly sometimes when you're in those spots and you're a good, productive player that's got history in this league, quarterbacks don't go that way.

"I think that's what he's doing a good job of. He's also allowing us to create some matchups. You saw vs. the Raiders where we were able to put him down and play nickel."

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Still, the use of social media in all of this is reflective of a real problem with the Bears defense. 

 It seems the defense feels a bit of entitlement these days.

It's the NFL-mandated obligation of players to meet with media each week, yet the Bears P.R. department is constantly scrambling to round up a defensive player here or there who are willing to come up and talk to reporters.

Yet, Jackson and Johnson have no problem voicing things on social media. If they've got something to say, they should come and talk to reporters.

In Sunday's game, the Bears offense finally got it together to pull within 17-14 on a Justin Fields 5-yard TD pass in the fourth quarter to Darnell Mooney. The defense had a job to do and that was force a punt or get the ball back because they finally had momentum. Instead, they let Aaron Rodgers own them again.

After that game, only one defensive player would come and talk to reporters and it was Johnson at a very brief press conference. Including press conferences ending with Sunday's game and running through the end of the day Thursday, a total of four days when the team held press opportunities, the only Bears defensive players showing up to talk were Johnson, Trevis Gipson, Alec Ogletree and Kindle Vildor.

Vildor is a young player in his first year starting. Ogletree is a part-time player and Gipson is a backup.

Where are the leaders of the defense, including Jackson? 

How do they explain letting Rodgers and the Packers off the hook, again?

It seems there is an ownership problem with Bears defensive players.

Jackson had no problem going back and digging up a piece of commentary by a questionable website about Briggs from a decade earlier. He should have gone back a few more years then.

On the evening of Feb. 4, 2007 Briggs stood in the locker room with maybe half a dozen beat reporters for a very long time while the massive Super Bowl media throng went to interview stations with many players from both teams postgame, following the Colts' win over the Bears.

His dreams crushed by a touchdown that his defense had no chance to prevent—an interception return by Kelvin Hayden of Rex Grossman—Briggs still stood there and answered every single question while taking this most devastating of defeats like a man.

The Bears of that defense always found time to discuss the team, whether it was Brian Urlacher, Adewale Ogunleye, Alex Brown, Mike Brown, Hunter Hillenmeyer, Tommie Harris or Tank Johnson. Brown even talked in the locker room immediately after tearing his ACL in 2007, fighting back tears after he'd fought so hard to come back from a season-ending injury in 2006. He had media members fighting back tears after that one.

The current group scatters and then sprays occasional shots on social media when criticized.

It's still a public business with a fandom making it all possible.

A little ownership, a little explanation, a little leadership can all go a long way, not to mention a little tact.

Twitter: BearDigest@BearsOnMaven