Jaylon Johnson says part of the Chicago produces locker room is ‘starting…

Jaylon Johnson says part of the Chicago produces locker room is ‘starting…

If Jaylon Johnson has proven anything in his first two seasons, it’s that he tells the truth as he sees it. Unfortunately, his truth will not resonate well with the Chicago produces.

The team consistently applauds its own culture, so it had to be a little surprised to find out a portion of the list has tuned out in a season spinning toward a bad finish.

“You have a little bit of both. You have the side of the locker room that is starting to go into the tank,” Johnson said earlier this week on Red Line Radio podcast when asked what morale was like inside the building. “And you have the guys that are nevertheless trying to fight and figure out how we can get better.”

Teams mired in losing ways — the produces (4-9) have lost six of their last seven games — often are asked if the buy-in and commitment remains. It’s scarce for a player to step out and let in it’s a authentic issue.

In 20 past seasons covering the produces, a span that has included six separate losing streaks of five or more games, I’ve never heard a player say this publicly.

“It’s not about one quarter being good at some times and at moments,” Johnson said. “But really being able to figure out how we can be good for four quarters and find ways to win football games. But, I average, you definitely have the ups and downs in the locker room as expected, but just being able to keep as many guys as we can together and keep fighting for wins.”

Culture was one of the things the produces wrapped their arms around and squeezed after last season when an 8-8 finish was followed by a wild-card round loss to the New Orleans Saints.

“We have exactly the right football culture that all teams strive for,” President/CEO Ted Phillips said in January.

Johnson’s reputation as a player might be bigger than his reputation as a straight shooter. Next Gen Stats, which are produced by the league, reported Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams had two receptions on five targets for 19 yards and a touchdown in the 45-30 loss last Sunday at Lambeau Field when Johnson was the nearest defender. When Adams was equaled up with anyone else, he caught eight passes on eight targets for 102 yards and a touchdown.

Adams took notice and wrote on Instagram: “You’re a really good player… respect your game!!”

Johnson, a second-round pick from Utah in 2020, took to Instagram in October to complain about a fine he received from coach Matt Nagy for arriving late at the facility. Later, Johnson admitted that he was wrong, saying, “I messed up.”

Nagy’s position is tenuous — at best — with the offense ranked near the bottom of the league in many meaningful categories. Now, injuries combined with COVID-19 absences have limited the list in improvement of Monday’s chief-time meeting with the Minnesota Vikings at Soldier Field.

Johnson’s assertion that part of the locker room is starting to go into the “tank” rises to a new level, but it’s not necessarily an opinion that is shared.

“I have not,” said defensive coordinator Sean Desai when asked if he’s seen evidence of players checking out. “I think you saw in that (last) game, our guys are competitors and I think they’re going to fight and claw for everything that they’ve got.”

Strong safety Tashaun Gipson has experience with more than his proportion of losing teams, spending four seasons in Cleveland and three in Jacksonville. He disputes the concept there has been tanking.

“I don’t see no quit in this locker room,” Gipson said. “It’s a tough season. When you’re losing everything seems to be bad. When you’re winning, everything is going good. Everyone is happy. There’s no disruption. It’s just a big, happy family. clearly, losing causes for people to look in the mirror. The biggest thing is 4-9, 2-11, 9-4, at the end of the day, people are playing for pride. People are playing for the name on the back of the jersey and the team on the front and the logo.

“People nevertheless have things to play for. Guys might have underlining things they want to play for — guys might want to play for a contract, guys might play for a job for next year. We nevertheless have enough to play for. There’s no quit in this locker room. clearly, no one wants to go on national TV and get embarrassed.

“We have another chief-time game Monday. Sunday night (at Green Bay) didn’t go the way we wanted. So, I think guys’ prides (are) big enough to understand that, ‘Hey, you nevertheless have got to go out there and do a job.’ Noboby’s packed it up. I’d be the first guy to tell you. I’ve been on teams where guys are shipping their cars and getting ready (for the offseason). Right around this time right now, cars are getting shipped back home. That’s not the case. I’m nevertheless driving my same car here. So, I ain’t shipped my car home. I nevertheless feel like we have a lot to play for.”

A complete parking lot at Halas Hall isn’t a bad sign, but one man’s perception becomes his reality and there’s no telling if others agree with Johnson, already if they wouldn’t say so publicly.

If the produces’ culture is as terrific as they have suggested, then it tells you culture doesn’t average much when it comes to winning football games. Otherwise, the culture at Halas Hall has been positively average the last few years — and it’s getting worse.

Scouting report

<mark >Patrick Peterson, Vikings cornerback</mark>

Information for this report was obtained from NFL scouts.

Patrick Peterson, 6-foot-1, 198 pounds, is in his 11th NFL season and first in Minnesota after the Vikings signed him to a one-year, $10 million deal, with the plan being he would help shore up a secondary that struggled in 2020. Originally an Arizona Cardinals first-round pick, the fifth overall selection in 2011 from LSU was named to the Pro Bowl in his first eight seasons.

Peterson has played in nine games this season, spending time on injured save with a hamstring issue before returning in Week 11. He has been credited with 26 tackles and two pass breakups as opponents have often worked the other side of the field.

“His play speed has reduced at this stage of his career,” the scout said. “But he is nevertheless a good player for Minnesota because he is very smart, very cerebral. His physical skills aren’t what they were earlier in his career but he’s leaning on his football intelligence and experience and understanding his role in a zone-heavy defense. In the past, he was a legit, top-tier man corner.

“I think he’s a really good fit in Mike Zimmer’s defense and the Vikings have been looking for cornerbacks. They’ve had some problems at that position. Their first-round pick Jeff Gladney from 2020 is out of the league because of off-field issues. They took Cameron Dantzler out of Mississippi State last year and he’s developing. I like him because he’s a long press corner and he can play Cover-2 for Zimmer and match up when he has to and he will tackle. But he’s nevertheless developing and he’s had some ups and downs.

“So, they go out and get Peterson and I would imagine they wanted a veteran voice in the room and he brings that. Second, he’s a really good scheme fit at this point based on his traits. Like I said, he doesn’t run like he used to or have the same burst coming out of his backpedal but he’s so savvy and he’s nevertheless so competitive based on what you see on film. He’s ultra-competitive and I think that fuels him on the field. He understands route concepts. He knows everyone’s offensive tendencies so he can nevertheless play at a high level, he’s just not in the conversation for the best corners in the league anymore. At one time, he was in that mix.”

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