Bears Insider Reveals ‘Looming’ New Role for Robert Quinn

Robert Quinn Bears

Getty LB Robert Quinn of the Chicago Bears.

The Chicago Bears are going to do everything they can to help pass rusher Robert Quinn find his groove next season. His first year with the team in 2020 was widely considered to be a disappointment, as he finished 11.5 sacks in 2019 with the Dallas Cowboys but saw his production drop drastically after he signed with the Bears, netting only two sacks.

Chicago signed the 31-year-old linebacker to a five-year, $70 million contract with $30 million guaranteed, but he didn’t do much to earn his hefty paycheck in his debut season with the team. Quinn had six quarterback hits (he had 22 in 2019), no tackles for loss (he had 13 in 2019) and his 59.7 overall rating from PFF was his lowest since the 2017 season.

Heading into his second season with the Bears under new defensive coordinator Sean Desai, the team has suggested a new, more limited role in Quinn’s future.

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Bears LBs Coach: We’re Going to ‘Balance Out’ Quinn’s Reps

Quinn showed flashes in his first season with the Bears, notching 32 total pressures and forcing three fumbles playing 51 percent of all defensive snaps. Last month, Bears outside linebackers coach Bill Shuey suggested the team plans on tweaking Quinn’s snap count in order to get more out of him.

“Obviously, a guy that has over 80 sacks in the NFL, it’s not like there is something broke there I don’t think. 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.” Shuey said, via Gene Chamberlain of Sports Illustrated. “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.”

If he doesn’t step it up, though, Quinn could see his role significantly reduced this coming season, specifically if second-year pass rusher Trevis Gipson or newly-signed vet Jeremiah Attaochu break out.

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Bears Insider: ‘Looming Decline in Playing Time’ Awaits Quinn

In his May 31 column for The Athletic, Bears insider Adam Jahns provided a few more details about the team’s plan for Quinn:

“This is simple. The Bears are paying outside linebackers Khalil Mack and Robert Quinn too much money for the defense to rank 17th in sacks and QB hits, which is where they were in 2021,” Jahns wrote. “In an effort to get more than two sacks from Quinn, the Bears indicated that his snaps could be limited to benefit him in certain situations. Signing Jeremiah Attaochu does help. He’s a better, younger version of Barkevious Mingo, who played 390 defensive snaps last season.”

Jahns also mentioned how crucial Gipson’s development could turn out to be:

“Trevis Gipson’s development is more important,” Jahns added. “He’ll be in the spotlight in camp because of Quinn’s lack of production and looming decline in playing time. The Bears traded into the fifth round to draft Gipson last year. Without any progress from Gipson, pass rusher is an extremely thin position group.”

Considering Quinn played just 51 percent of the team’s defensive snaps last season coupled with his sizeable paycheck, it would raise a few eyebrows if his playing time was cut down even more, but that looks like it could be the case. If he plays well and increases his production, the move will certainly be worth it. If not, Chicago will continue to get panned for signing him.

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