New Chicago Bears outside linebacker needs to make an adjustment to a new system but with the elite players surrounding him, he’ll eventually thrive.
There are high hopes for the Chicago Bears‘ defensive unit in 2020. That is especially true with their pass rush. The team cut Leonard Floyd and replaced him with Robert Quinn. Teaming Quinn with Khalil Mack gives the Bears pass rush a duo with a combined seven Pro Bowls and two All-Pro First Team players.
Having that strong of a duo, along with Akiem Hicks, who also does a great job of getting to the opponent’s backfield (himself a Pro Bowl player), gives the Bears a tremendous pass rush. The Bears had 50 sacks in 2018 and could easily pass that total if the players stay healthy and play to their potential.
Quinn could have a big season surrounded by some of the best defensive players in the league. He teamed with DeMarcus Lawrence last season and he recorded 11.5 sacks. Now it’ll be interesting to see how he performs with fellow pass rushers Mack and Hicks, along with one of the toughest secondaries in the league.
Don’t expect Quinn to excel right out of the box, however. He’s moving from the 4-3 defensive scheme that the Dallas Cowboys utilize to a 3-4 that the Bears use. He played in a 3-4 scheme with the Los Angeles Rams in 2017 and recorded 8.5 sacks, but he called playing in that system “suffocating.”
He agreed to come to Chicago, though, so maybe playing with Mack and Hicks around him won’t be too suffocating for him.
Coaches want to keep expectations realistic early
Defensive coordinator spoke recently about Quinn and he agreed with keeping expectations realistic, at least early in the season.
There’ll be some adjustment for him. I remember going to Indy in 2012 [as head coach] and calling Robert Mathis in and having a discussion about playing outside linebacker in the 3-4 and all the things that come with that job title… It took a long time — a lot of film, a lot of dialogue to get him to say, ‘OK, I’m in. I can handle that job description.’ So there’s definitely some hurdles to get over. But we’ll do the right thing for Robert.
Using that example with Robert Mathis, he recorded eight sacks in 2012 and made the Pro Bowl. The next season, however, he had an incredible year. He recorded 19.5 sacks and 10 forced fumbles. He finished second in voting for the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year.
Quinn has the advantage of already playing in the Bears’ scheme. Additionally, having elite players around him helps him pick things up fairly quickly. Even if he doesn’t come out hot right from the start, just being on the field helps the other players. Mack won’t see as many double teams so he could work in more space. With Mack doing his thing, it in turn helps Quinn. When that happens this could be one dangerous pass rush that will terrorize opposing offenses.
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