The Chicago Bears have had great defenses over the years from 2018 to 2010, 2005, and 2001. Those units were great for different reasons. An outstanding secondary or elite linebackers. Most of them were also helped by a great pass rusher. However, this city hasn’t seen its best days since back in the 1980s when they had the most dominant Bears pass rush in the team history. They didn’t have just one guy. They had three or four who could get to the quarterback.
For the first time in over three decades, the franchise has actually constructed a group that would do those heyday teams proud.
They already had Khalil Mack in place. Though he wasn’t quite as prolific as int 2018, he still had 8.5 sacks and 45 pressures last season. Akiem Hicks only played five games due to injury but still had nine pressures. He had 7.5 sacks two years ago and was a dominant interior force. The one thing that seemed to be missing was that #2 edge rusher who could get to the quarterback. A role most had hoped Leonard Floyd would fill.
After three sacks last season, it was clear he wasn’t their guy. So GM Ryan Pace puts his chips on the table, signing veteran Robert Quinn to a five-year deal worth $70 million. Just like that, the Bears pass rush has become the most talented its been since the end of the ’80s.
Bears pass rush went from good to scary with Quinn
People will make jokes about the Bears living back in 2013 with the deal for Quinn. The reality is pass rushers have longevity in the NFL and he’s still only 29-years old. He had a terrific season in 2019, collecting 11.5 sacks for the Dallas Cowboys and posting the best pass rush win rate in the league. There is no reason to think he’s nearing an imminent drop off in effectiveness.
If the Bears get him, Mack, and Hicks on the field together for most of the coming season, they are going to wreak havoc on opposing quarterbacks.
Don’t forget the 2018 team had 50 sacks with Floyd. Try to imagine what they might do with Quinn who is an infinitely better pass rusher. This has a chance to be an even better defense than the one they fielded two years ago, which is saying a ton. Success in the NFL of today is all about getting the quarterback on the ground.
The Bears could do it when needed before. Now they can pretty much do it when they want.