Mark Potash at the Chicago Sun-Times quotes Robert Quinn on the substandard year he’s having sacking the quarterback:
“My season? I’ll be honest, it’s been very average. Not up to my standards,” Quinn said. “We’ve got six more games left — anything can happen. I know how I prepare. I know how I train. Statistically it just hasn’t been my season. Effort, charisma, all that stuff’s been there. It’s just getting the numbers up that we’re all looking for.”
“If I knew [what was wrong], I’m sure [the problems] wouldn’t be there,” [Quinn] said. “I don’t know. It’s just been one of those years. Just hasn’t been one of my best years, but we’ve still got a chance [to make the playoffs]. And even though my performance [is below standard], we’re still holding together as a great defense. It’s not all just about me.”
I would guess that one big problem for Quinn is that the team hasn’t been playing with a lead very often. Most sack artists pile up statistics at the end of games when they know the other team has to pass. At such times, Quinn can just cut loose and rush the quarterback full bore with no need to worry about anything else. But there hasn’t been much blood in the water for Quinn or Khalil Mack or any of the other pass rushers this year. That’s not an excuse because there are no excuses. But it probably does explain a lot.
Like virtually everyone who addresses Quinn’s issues, Potash also inevitably brought up a comparison to Leonard Floyd, who has seven sacks with the Rams this season. The Rams defensive coordinator in Brandon Staley, who coached linebackers under Vic Fangio when he was the Bears defensive coordinator.
I can hardly blame the Bears for letting Floyd go. He under-performed and wasn’t worthy of keeping while playing here. Yes, he’s playing better with the Rams but Staley has undoubtedly done what Fangio did for Floyd his rookie year. He schemed pass rushes that were specifically designed to give Floyd a free rush at the passer. The disadvantage to doing such things is that it takes defensive players out of position to make a play if the offense doesn’t do exactly what you think they’re going to do. It also basically takes the other pass rushers out of position for a sack as they are usually sacrificing themselves for Floyd.
Fangio eventually stopped doing this, preferring to let multiple pass rushers have their shot and, especially with Mack on board, Chuck Pagano has followed the philosophy as well. Floyd was and is far less suited to that sort of situation as he struggled to beat offensive linemen one-on-one.
All that being said, Quinn has been a $70 million bust and a costly mis-evaluation for GM Ryan Pace. Pace went for broke this year and signed Quinn to a back loaded contract with only a $6.1 million cap number for 2020. But that number balloons to $14.7 million in 2021 with $24 million in dead cap if they cut him. Which, of course, they won’t. Instead, they’ll try to renegotiate and push the problem off into future years.
So, bottom line, Pace has tied himself to a player who can’t do the same thing Floyd couldn’t do – take advantage of Mack on the other side to rush the passer one-on-one. Right now, it looks like yet another personnel blunder for a GM who, along with his head coach, has made too many already.