When the Chicago Bears signed edge rusher Robert Quinn, they strengthened an already elite defense. They look to have the best duo in the NFL.
When the 2020 offseason began, many expected the Chicago Bears to concentrate on the offense. The unit ranked 29th in scoring (17.5 points per game) and 29th in total yards. The offensive line struggled, the quarterback struggled, and the tight ends struggled.
There were some moves to make on defense but general manager Ryan Pace was going to only make tweaks. However, he made a major move. He cut linebacker Leonard Floyd, who had a $13 million year coming up. He then replaced Floyd with two-time Pro Bowler and one-time All-Pro linebacker Robert Quinn.
That caused some waves across the NFL. One of the problems Floyd had was complementing All-Everything Khalil Mack. Mack drew double and even triple teams, leaving Floyd in a lot of one-on-ones. He wasn’t able to take advantage of that, though. Because of that, he had to go.
Quinn can do what Floyd couldn’t. Last season, he teamed up with another great linebacker, DeMarcus Lawrence. He finished the 2019 season with 11.5 sacks and 35 quarterback pressures. He was a force to reckon with.
Now Quinn is teamed with an even better partner.
Many people felt that Mack had an offseason. However, in addition to 8.5 sacks, he also had 45 quarterback pressures, including 30 hurries (ranking second in the league).
Adding to the mix is a healthy Akiem Hicks. He was a key to Mack’s success. With a healthy Hicks in 2018, Mack recorded 12.5 sacks. He was on his way to an even better season early on in 2019, recording 4.5 sacks in his first four games. Then Hicks went down and Mack had only 4 sacks in the last 12 games. Despite the thinking that he had a down season, he was still effective putting pressure on quarterbacks.
A healthy Hicks takes attention away from Mack and Quinn. He has the ability to put pressure on opposing backfields. That gives the edge rushers more space to work. Opposing offenses cannot double team all three players. As a result, someone will be single teamed and more often than not that player will create havoc. Remember seeing how Mack dropped 300-pound offensive linemen with just one arm? We’ll see more of that with Quinn helping him.
Mack has fuel to have a great season in 2020. Before the final game of the 2019 season, he vowed to play better this season. Despite making the Pro Bowl, he knew he didn’t have a season the team and its fans expected.
I can’t really explain how I’m going to use it. But I’ll use it. My therapy is being part of the grind. My grind is really not going to stop this year. Not going to take too many breaks. Yeah, I’m looking forward to it, in that sense.
Since 2017, Mack ties for fourth in the league with 31.5 sacks. Quinn ties for ninth with 26.5 sacks. It’ll be interesting to see how many sacks they’ll record once they hit the field together. Add a tougher secondary and opposing quarterbacks will have a tougher time dealing with this Chicago Bears defense.
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