Vic Fangio didn’t try to be coy. The veteran defensive coordinator said that the benching of cornerback Kyle Fuller in Week 2 should absolutely be perceived as message sent to an underachieving player.
“Always, and they know that,” Fangio said. “This is a results business. The better the results, everybody’s happy.”
How has Fuller responded since getting benched after playing an calamitous role in the Bears’ demise against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday?
“He’s been fine,” Fangio.
Fuller, the 14th overall selection in 2014, just needs to play like it. Despite the poor pass rush, he’s become the lighting rod for a defense that’s been torched in the first two weeks. Fuller’s confidence has come into question with his struggles from last season showing up in Bourbonnais, the preseason and now. He was replaced by Terrance Mitchell in the fourth quarter on Sunday.
According to Pro Football Focus, Fuller has been targeted eight times in two games, allowing five catches for 106 yards and two touchdowns. His first two games also look worse because of two pass-interference penalties and his blown coverage against Larry Fitzgerald on the Cardinals’ flea-flicker touchdown.
Share Events on The Cube“Tiger Woods these past two years hasn’t been the Tiger Woods we know, and everybody’s over-analyzing him,” said Fangio, an avid golf fan. “The fact is that he hasn’t been able to take his game from the range to the course, and he’s not been playing with confidence.
“Kyle’s got to be able to take his game from the practice field to the game field and play with confidence. You’re not going to have confidence until you do good things. You can’t just say I’m whoever and go out and play and have results.”
Safety Antrel Rolle said opponents, including the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, will continue to attack Fuller until he proves otherwise.
“This is a copycat league,” Rolle said. “If they expose weaknesses the week before, they’re going to try to expose it the week after and week after that, until you fix it.”
Rolle and Fangio said Fuller has performed well in practice, including Wednesday’s session, but an unceasing emphasis on the techniques and details needed to excel are essential for him now.
“He’s a good corner and he has a strong skill set but he just hasn’t applied it,” Rolle said. “When you don’t apply it, it negates your whole strength as a cornerback. It’s just keeping on the little things as far as being technical. If you’re going to press a guy, make sure you disrupt him and put your hands on him. If we have a certain kind of coverage, it’s making sure you stay true to your coverage.”
Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman, a three-time All-Pro player, said good technique and confidence work hand-in-hand, but that only Fuller can change his path now.
“Your biggest critic has to be yourself — it starts there,” Sherman said. “You can’t let other people’s opinions dictate your emotions or how you feel or let it put you into a slump or anything like that. You have to rely on yourself to self-motivate, self-[teach], self-focus.”
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