Tom Dahlin/Viking Update

Minnesota Vikings safety Jayron Kearse’s confidence shaken, but he’s hopeful

Rookie Jayron Kearse made a mistake that contributed to a 69-yard run last week. He was clearly down on himself this week, but he counts it as a learning experience.

While the Minnesota Vikings defense had its worst game of the season against the Chicago Bears, perhaps no one felt worse about the performance than rookie safety Jayron Kearse.

Kearse was getting his first start of the season, filling in for Andrew Sendejo after the starter suffered an ankle injury the week before. Kearse was one of the culprits in allowing Chicago’s rookie running back, Jordan Howard, to get loose on a 69-yard run.

“It was just me coming down too fast, being in the middle of the field for support. Once he got past the second level, I was the next guy back there, but I was coming down too fast and as far as the angle, I took a bad angle and he shot out of the gap quicker than I expected.”

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On Chicago’s first drive, Howard took a carry to the left side, slipped out of a tackle attempt by veteran safety Harrison Smith and caught Kearse out of position on his way to the long run before Xavier Rhodes tracked him down from across the field.

“It was just me coming down too fast, being in the middle of the field for support,” Kearse said. “Once he got past the second level, I was the next guy back there, but I was coming down too fast and as far as the angle, I took a bad angle and he shot out of the gap quicker than I expected.”

Kearse was professionally accountable for his mistake in the locker room this week, but it was clear how hard he was taking the mistake. He was simply sullen about missing out on the opportunity to stop the bruising back.

“Yeah, anytime you go out there, prime time, your team loses a game, you feel like you could have did something to stop it, it’s going to be that type of way,” Kearse said of his downward demeanor days after the game. “I’m just trying to get better, take whatever the coaches have to tell me this week and implement it into this week’s game plan and try to get better and just attack it full speed.”

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Kearse was pulled from the game after his mistake, replaced by Anthony Harris, and headed to the sideline, where he got coaching.

“It was just take a better angle in order to get him down. Minimize, instead of it being a 69-yarder, minimize to maybe a 15-, 20-yarder,” he said of the coaching.

“He’s a big guy. He’s very big and hard to tackle. I’ve just got to give myself a chance by taking a better angle.”

The coaching staff has been high on Kearse’s potential and gave him the shot to start after he played most of the game against the Eagles in place of Sendejo. Eventually, he got back into the game on a limited basis but ended up playing only 15 snaps.

“If I would have made that stop I would have stayed in the game. I made a mistake and coach made the decision to pull me so I can’t get mad at it,” he said.

“You’ve got to kind of level it out and just go out there and just look to play mistake-free but still give everything you’ve got, still go hard and that’s what I did on Monday and it happened to be a mistake. It really just comes to learning, learning the speed of the game and adjusting to the NFL in a regular-season game and later on if you’re in the playoffs or whatever.”

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Sendejo is back at practice this week and is likely to resume his spot as a starter, but Kearse is taking his experience the last two weeks and hoping he gets another opportunity down the road.

“You never know. I’m just going to go out there and give everything I’ve got as far as the week goes and let the coaches make the decision,” he said. “Whatever the decision is, I’ve just got to make sure I can live with it and go forward trying to have a good career.

“It helped me a lot with understanding things better, knowing what I have to do, knowing where I have to be at. As far as my confidence just being sky high right now, it’s really not. But it’s going to come with me going out there, me making plays, me being out there with the guys. Whatever happens, happens.”

 


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