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Another Issue That Needs To Be Addressed; Robert Quinn


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All you can do when a $70 million investment goes down the drain is give it a little more time, and find a way to offset losses.

The Bears have done this at outside linebacker this year with their 2020 cash disaster, Robert Quinn.

Easily the biggest Bears mystery of 2020 for any number of reasons, the 11th-year pro looks to rebound from his worst season in the NFL. Just in case he's still slow off the mark, they brought in Jeremiah Attaochu as a backup edge who can provide sacks and rest for the starters.


The easy call is Quinn rebounds. The easy explanation for said rebound is that it's pretty difficult not to be better than he was last season.

What the Bears need isn't a mere rebound from Quinn. They need a colossal bounce back by the 6-foot-4, 257-pound edge rusher.

The Bears signed Quinn after his second-best season as a pass rusher. This was risky because he was already turning 30 before last season. And despite stats saying he had the league's best pass rush win rate, he only averaged six sacks a year over the previous four seasons.

Perhaps the two-sack season last year is closer to his norm now than the 11 1/2 sacks he had for Dallas in 2019.

There is no doubt Quinn once was a dominant force. In 2013 he made All-Pro and the Pro Bowl by making 19 sacks and forcing seven fumbles. Even Khalil Mack has never done that.


Quinn had a three-year spurt of 40 total sacks.

The explanations came in several forms. He suffered from a medical condition known as drop foot was one possibility, or he didn't adapt to playing 3-4 edge because he is more of a 4-3 end who rushes better with his hand in the dirt.

The medical situation isn't really something the team will talk about. The edge rush situation was addressed repeatedly last year by both bormer defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano and former outside linebackers coach Ted Monachino. Quinn did tell the media at his first press conference that he was a bit uncomfortable at the thought of being moved to the left side—the Bears often had shifted Mack from right to left edge, so the other edge had to do the same.

Already, it's been touched on by new defensive coordinator Sean Desai and new outside linebackers coach Bill Shuey. Desai sees it as getting the entire defensive front in sync with what is being asked and then putting players in positions where they can succeed.


"So that's inclusive of Robert, kind of get him comfortable in what he likes to do as long as it fits within the defense and then the same with all the other guys in that front," Desai said. "We want to generate more pressure, whether it's QB pressures and obviously that ultimately leads to sacks and all that stuff. We want to do that.

"But it’s not just him. You know what I mean? The whole philosophy of rushing is when you're doing a four-man rush is be four as one just like when you're in coverage. They all got to work together and if one person fails that, that impacts everybody else."

Shuey believes it's not a problem with Quinn fitting the scheme.

"Obviously, a guy that has over 80 sacks in the NFL, it's not like there is something broke there I don't think," Shuey said. "He's got the ability, he has the clear production. Then my job would be to make sure he's put in a position where he can make more plays and I think he's looking forward to doing that.


"I also think it's going to be balancing out the reps and the timeliness of getting him into games in the right situations where he can be at his best. There is some work to be done there and Rob knows that."

Robert Quinn at a glance


Career: 11th season, 82 1/2 sacks, 151 QB hits, 28 forced fumbles, 20 passes defended, 310 tackles.

2020:  20 tackles, 2 sacks, 6 quarterback hits, 3 forced fumbles.

The number: 16. Quinn had 16 pressures (a QB knockdown, a sack, chasing the QB out of the pocket or rushing him into a throw). In Dallas the previous season, Quinn had 35.

2021 projection: 6 sacks, 12 QB hits, 3 forced fumbles, 2 passes defensed. 

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I'm really hoping this doesn't turn into yet another one of Pace's colossal and expensive blunders of signing a guy the year after his time as a top ranked player is over.  If Quinn never bounces back from his 2020 disaster this will have been Pace's most expensive mistake yet.

One thing that concerns me is this "drop foot" condition and it's impact on his play.  This is not necessarily a temporary condition.

Overview; https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/foot-drop/symptoms-causes/syc-20372628

Foot drop, sometimes called drop foot, is a general term for difficulty lifting the front part of the foot. If you have foot drop, the front of your foot might drag on the ground when you walk.

Foot drop isn't a disease. Rather, foot drop is a sign of an underlying neurological, muscular or anatomical problem.

Sometimes foot drop is temporary, but it can be permanent. If you have foot drop, you might need to wear a brace on your ankle and foot to hold your foot in a normal position

Another thing that concerns me is this.

The explanations came in several forms. He suffered from a medical condition known as drop foot was one possibility, or he didn't adapt to playing 3-4 edge because he is more of a 4-3 end who rushes better with his hand in the dirt.  Quinn did tell the media at his first press conference that he was a bit uncomfortable at the thought of being moved to the left side—the Bears often had shifted Mack from right to left edge, so the other edge had to do the same.

Brother you just signed a $70 mil deal with $30 mil of gtd money.  I don't want to hear about which side you'd "prefer" to play when you're being matched up with Khalil Mack.  If either of you should have their pick it's him.  The same deal with the 4-3 DE vs 3-4 OLB stuff.  You have one job to do more importantly than anything else.  Get to the QB, get their fast, and either hit him, sack him, or force a bad throw.

Pull up your "big boy pants" and show up ready to work.  In the Bears scheme there isn't much difference between a 4-3 DE and a 3-4 OLB in pass rush situations anyway.  And if putting your hand in the dirt helps well then put your hand in the damn dirt.  The other guys know you're not in the game to drop into coverage.  You're there to sack their QB so whatever it takes figure it out and do it OK?

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Desai seems to get it.

I think his poor 2020 was (in part) a combo of being paid, not being in proper shape with Covid making it look like season wasn't coming, being injured and not being used properly or being used outside his comfort zones (taking reps standing up, dropping into coverage, playing on left side - everyone knew he was bad at these things and Pagano did them anyway).    

Now he is on other side of 30 and maybe he just isn't that good anymore.  Who knows?  But he isn't too old yet.   

But his career seems to have been a yo-yo of being awesome and then being average even when he was younger.   I think Desai has to figure out what makes him awesome.

Go back and watch him in 2019 and it his get off from a 3 point on right edge that wins him reps.    That's his whole game in a nutshell.   He can get off ball from that spot faster than the LT and work his game from there and cause problems.   Otherwise OTs are too physically strong for him.   

Goes back to Belichick - Don't tell me what a guy can't do.   Tell me what he does really well and we will figure out how to use that.



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As concerned as we may be about having a rookie DC from anything I've read about the guy players rave about his intelligence and understanding about how to get them in the best positions to succeed.  This could be a very good thing since his ideas while Fangio based are still his own and he's less burdened by long standing preconceptions and prejudices that Pagano may have carried with him.

I would still maintain that age 30 is not the end of a good pass rushers productive years.  The list of guys who've been effective pass rush specialists well into their mid 30s is lengthy and that's all Quinn is and was ever expected to be.  He wasn't brought in to be a universal OLB more like we used Floyd he was signed to pressure and sack QBs which is the one thing he's proven he can do very well.

Some around here are very down on the guy and feel he was a huge expensive wasted signing.  I don't feel that way.  I believe that if he's used correctly and allowed to play to his strengths he's more than capable of bouncing back and becoming a double digit sack guy again but to a degree Desai is gonna have to allow Quinn to do it his way most of the time and be reasonably content with that.

If the medical issue with his foot is permanent we should know that soon enough and Pace had enough foresight to sign Attaochu to add some depth as an edge rusher and he's also very capable of bringing pressure and getting some sacks.  I think we're all expecting a much better rush from that right OLB/DE spot this year and Quinn needs to step up for that to happen.  I'm willing to give him that much.

Edited by soulman
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