Bears optimistic about CB Jaylon Johnson facing Vikings after shoulder injury

Johnson got hurt when he stopped Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson at the 1-yard line late in the third quarter Sunday, but the prognosis isn’t as bad as initially feared.

SHARE Bears optimistic about CB Jaylon Johnson facing Vikings after shoulder injury
The Bears believe cornerback Jaylon Johnson will be able to play Sunday against the Vikings.

The Bears believe cornerback Jaylon Johnson will be able to play Sunday against the Vikings.

Kamil Krzaczynski/AP

As the Bears push for a playoff berth, the last thing they need is to lose cornerback Jaylon Johnson, a key starter. Fortunately for the Bears and their aspirations, the shoulder injury Johnson suffered late in the third quarter Sunday against the Texans seems relatively manageable.

Coach Matt Nagy said Monday that the medical staff was still evaluating Johnson, who left the game and did not return, and thought it was possible he could play this Sunday at Minnesota.

“He’s a tough kid,” Nagy said. “We’ve got to just stay on him, make sure we keep him healthy here and hopefully have him ready for this coming week.”

Nagy did not specify which shoulder Johnson hurt, but it appeared to be his right shoulder. He led with the right shoulder to hit Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson at the 1-yard line but landed hard on his left shoulder as Watson fell on him.

Shoulder injuries are especially alarming with Johnson, who twice had surgery on his left shoulder in college and underwent an operation in March to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder. The Bears were confident enough in his condition to draft him No. 50 overall and have been rewarded with a fantastic rookie season.

He leads the Bears with 15 pass breakups and has 44 tackles. Johnson has allowed opposing quarterbacks to complete only 56% of their passes to the man he’s covering.

Montgomery goes missing

That 80-yard touchdown run by David Montgomery to open the game for the Bears on Sunday was impressive, but where did he go after that?

Montgomery gained only 33 yards on 10 carries the rest of the afternoon. The Bears, despite a 30-7 halftime lead, ran on only 11 of their 24 plays in the second half.

“You see the first run of the game, it’s a big run, [and] I thought that in a perfect world, you’d love for him to get a few more,” Nagy said. “But we’re scoring 36 points. Just the way it went. . . . We were trying to stay a little bit aggressive.

“For the most part, I think probably 15 to 20 [carries] is a really good number for David. We were moving the ball other ways, as well.”

Montgomery has gotten 15-plus carries in 11 of his 28 games for the Bears.

High on Nichols

Defensive tackle Bilal Nichols has been one of general manager Ryan Pace’s best draft picks. The Bears got him at No. 145 overall (fifth round) in 2018, and he has developed into a quality NFL starter.

He has been especially good the last two weeks, with two sacks and an interception, and with four sacks on the season, he trails only Khalil Mack.

“He’s really coming on strong right now,” Nagy said. “He’s learning from guys like Akiem Hicks, and Bilal is very detail-oriented.

“He’s becoming opportunistic. He’s making plays when he has to, and he’s doing a good job of creating pressure in the pass game, then doing whatever he needs to do in the run game.”

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