UA-59049186-1 2021 Chicago Bears Preview: Edge Defender - Good if it Goes

2021 Chicago Bears Preview: Edge Defender

(Photo credit: Charles Rex Arbogast, AP)

Khalil Mack returns and, at this point, what is there to really say about him? Acquired from the Raiders in a blockbuster deal just before the start of the 2018 season, Mack was a Defensive Player of the Year candidate in his first year in Chicago, and has been a Pro Bowler both years since. While he failed to reach double digits in sacks in 2020, Mack’s value to the team was still clear. Few, if any, edge defenders play the run as well as Mack does, and if he can get any real help from anywhere else in the pass rush so that he’s not constantly facing double and triple-teams, his sack numbers should bounce right back.

That help was supposed to come from Robert Quinn, who came to Chicago on a big-money contract a year ago and then turned in a career-low two sacks. As such, Quinn was the target of the fan base’s ire and was cited as a reason to fire Ryan Pace by those who wanted to do so. In fairness to the former Tar Heel, he was playing hurt last year, dealing with a nerve condition called drop foot. However, there hasn’t been much positive news about him so far this year, as he dealt with a back issue and then injured his ankle against the Dolphins during the pre-season.

Jeremiah Attaochu comes to Chicago after two years in Denver to bolster the Bears’ pass rush.
In 25 games, including ten starts, over two years as a Bronco, Attaochu racked up 8.5 sacks. While nobody’s expecting him to all of a sudden become a star in his eighth year in the league, Attaochu should at least provide an insurance policy for the Bears should Quinn struggle again.

A fifth-round pick out of Tulsa a year ago, your author called Trevis Gipson a high-upside prospect, but also somewhat of a project. Gipson’s play during his rookie year pretty much bore out that evaluation, as he appeared in seven games, notching a total of five tackles and nothing else. Gipson turned in a nice pre-season for the Bears, so the hope is that the light has come on and Pace has found himself another late-round gem.

Twitter: @KSchroeder_312

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