Jesse Bernhardt Chrome Out

Jesse Bernhardt Out for Chrome: Who Steps In?

By Nick Zoroya

Jun 13, 2023

Headed into week three of the PLL season the Chrome LC will be without one of its captains and defensive leaders, Jesse Bernhardt. The four-time All-Star and current Team USA member will miss this week's game while on paternity leave. While his presence on the field and in the locker room will be sorely missed, we now have the rare opportunity to see a new face start down low for the Chrome. Head Coach Tim Soudan has two primary options to fill the void.

Option One - Grill Bumps Down

Nick Grill is thought to be a future starter down low for the Chrome but with the current veteran talent he’s primarily played an LSM role. With Bernhardt out we could see Grill bump down to close defense which would open an LSM spot. Grill is an excellent one-on-one cover guy and when given the opportunity he has the ability to push transition and be a threat in the clearing game. 

Moving Grill would open a spot at LSM which would likely give us our first glimpse of Troy Hettinger or John Geppert, both rookies. Geppert was signed as an undrafted free agent out of Maryland and is a high IQ player with a ton of pedigree. He finished his collegiate career with 10 goals, eight assists, 136 groundballs and 47 caused turnovers, alongside 2nd team All-American honors.

Hettinger, the team’s second round draft pick, is a freak athlete that compared to Geppert is a bit less polished but could provide a bigger spark. I think his game would flourish given the faster pace and more condensed field at the professional level. He finished his senior year as the  ASUN Defensive Player of the Year, scooping 46 groundballs and creating 27 turnovers.

Option Two - Weyl Steps In

Greg Weyl offers the team something they haven't seen since, well, since Greg Weyl in 2021. During his first PLL season (2021) Weyl played in nine games and did well enough to stay on Coach Soudan’s radar despite missing the 2022 season. His ability as an on-ball defender is something Soudan hasn’t forgotten, and his left-handedness can cause trouble for predominantly right handed players.

Another benefit to starting Weyl is that it creates the least amount of shuffling for the roster. Nick Grill can continue to do his thing at LSM, Weyl becomes a direct replacement for Bernhardt. Lastly, unlike the rookies, Coach Soudan already knows that Weyl can handle most matchups the league can throw at him.

To see who steps in for Bernhardt, you can catch the Chrome LC playing the Cannons LC this Friday night at 8:30pm on ESPN+, or you can see the game live in Columbus!

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