Much attention was given to cornerback Kyle Fuller’s benching on Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals, and rightfully so. Fuller, the Bears’ 2014 first-round draft pick, struggled toward the end of his rookie season last year and has not looked impressive through training camp and the first two games of this season.
Backup Terrance Mitchell, drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the seventh round of Fuller’s draft class, who spent time on the Bears’ practice squad last year, was inserted into Sunday’s game to replace Fuller.
Bears coach John Fox, however, said the move had more to do with Mitchell’s earning playing time than anything wrong that Fuller had done.
“I don’t know if it was a matter of one particular player sitting down,” Fox said at his Monday press conference. “We actually had [Mitchell] playing for Alan Ball as well. It’s just a matter of keeping guys fresh and putting a guy in that’s earned the right to do that.”
I normally give coaches the benefit of the doubt, but my one hangup on this particular issue is that Fuller is a former first-round pick. If he was playing as well as he should, he probably would not have lost playing time unless he was seriously tired and needed a long break.
And I don’t think that was the case on Sunday.