UA-59049186-1 2020 Chicago Bears Preview: Edge Defender - Good if it Goes

2020 Chicago Bears Preview: Edge Defender

(Photo credit: Charles Rex Arbogast, AP)

Khalil Mack returns after a 2019 that, on paper, did not look like what people are used to seeing from him. Mack had just 8.5 sacks, the first season since his rookie year that he didn’t hit double digits. He still earned a selection to the Pro Bowl because one could look at his tape and come to the conclusion that he’s still plenty good at football; it’s just hard to get to the quarterback when opposing offenses are dedicating three guys to keep you from doing so. If you are commanding double and triple-teams, you are doing your part. Multiple guys blocking you means that your buddies on defense should only have to beat their blockers; it’s not your fault if they can’t do so. Mack clearly needed some help last year, and now he’s got it.

That help comes in the form of Robert Quinn. A year ago in Dallas, Quinn racked up 11.5 sacks playing opposite of DeMarcus Lawrence. Now, he comes to Chicago to give Mack some much-needed assistance and join a defensive front that looks awfully menacing. The lone question from fans and analysts on this signing was how Quinn would handle a position switch to OLB. The short answer: don’t worry about it. From your author’s intro post:

This space also asserts that a nominal position switch to OLB is not a big deal. The Bears line up in the nickel quite a bit and when they do, the front functions the same way a 4-3’s front would, save for instances when Chuck Pagano gets tricky with who he’s sending. Quinn may be asked to drop into coverage on occasion; if he’s asked to do so so often that his coverage could become a serious liability, the problem to be corrected is Pagano’s scheming.”

Whether Quinn’s hand is in the dirt or not, his job is pretty much the same as it’s always been: protect the edge and get to the quarterback. He will be fine.

James Vaughters was seen as a potential sleeper in this space a year ago upon coming to Chicago after being a key piece of the Calgary Stampeders’ 2018 Grey Cup team. He began last season on the practice squad, and while he was ultimately promoted, he only got into three games. This season, he starts on the 53-man roster with his competition for depth snaps a rookie and a guy on his sixth team in as many years. The opportunity is there for him. Your author believes he can seize it.

Trevis Gipson is the aforementioned rookie. Drafted in the fifth round out of Tulsa, he’s a high-upside pick that your author believed was somewhat of a project, mainly due to the fact that he was a 3-4 end in college and is now making the transition to edge defender in the NFL. Reports from camp have been positive and the Bears haven’t made a big move to bring in anyone else. As such, this space says that the staff is not just blowing smoke about Gipson and that he can be a solid depth player in his rookie year.

The Barkevious Mingo World Tour stops in Chicago this season after stints in Cleveland, New England, Indianapolis, Seattle, and Houston, in that order. Of those places, Cleveland was the only one where he spent more than a year; his first three were spent there after being drafted 6th overall in 2013 out of LSU. Mingo produced 5 sacks his rookie season; not a terrible total at all. After all, Khalil Mack only had 4.5 in his rookie year. Unfortunately, Mingo’s only had 5 more since. He’s likely to just be mostly a special teams player in Chicago, though, given a less-than-ideal amount of depth on the edge, there appears to be a chance for him to get in on the action, there, too. Nothing out of camp suggests he’s anything other than what he’s been thus far in his career, though, and that’s unlikely to change as he turns 30 in less than a month.


Twitter: @KSchroeder_312

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