Mountains, Molehills, & Gervon Dexter Sr.

| August 25th, 2023

Happy Friday everyone! As we head into the Bears’ final preseason game, I want talk about the way we talk about Gervon Dexter Sr — many fans are way, way too fixated on his get-off, and I believeit’s a molehill that’s become a mountain.

Here’s Dexter’s first 10 snaps from the Colts game where I’ve put the moment of the snap in slow-motion — Dexter is never once the last man off the ball, and he even gets off the line first on a few plays. Yet despite Dexter getting off the line well, his play-to-play impact was still too inconsistent throughout this reel — why? Put simply, there are other growth areas within Dexter’s game that are much more important for his future success than simply firing off the ball quickly.

Dexter’s pad level & hand usage need to improve, and I’d like to see him apply & maintain his natural power within each step he takes. Dexter has a bad habit of standing up straight after he & his OL initially make contact and currently it’s hurting his ability to remain powerful as a play progresses.

He’s also clearly raw in his hand-placement, especially as a pass-rusher, but in the reel above we see good news in regards to his improvement — He’s clearly working on new pass-rush moves, including a cross-chop that you only see explosive 3Ts attempt to pull off. Perfecting rush moves takes time, but by mid-season I would hope that he’s found a groove with a go-to rush and can contribute in his rotational reps.

I know we’re still early in the preseason, but Dexter so far reminds me of Bilal Nichols’ rookie tape. Both are/were raw players that constantly tried new moves out & slowly got better each week. I know Dexter’s 2nd round pedigree will mean that a Bilal Nichols comparison lands poorly with some readers, but I mean it as a compliment — Nichols had his best seasons when he got to play 1-gap in the run game and utilize his quick first step in the pass rush, and I think Dexter will do much of the same in time with the added bonus of being better against the run..

All in all, Dexter is right where he should be in my opinion. So long as you don’t expect too much from him in the first few weeks of the season, you might be pleasantly surprised with what he becomes later in the year.

But do me a favor — the next time you hear someone fixate on his get-off, remind them that DL play is much more than just getting off the ball quickly.

Your Turn: What’s your take on Dexter’s current development yield?

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