There’s been a noticeable uptick in the Bears’ Roquan Smith’s play lately. That’s especially so after a 12-tackle performance he enjoyed against the Bills this past Sunday: his second performance of at least 12 tackles in four games. It was the highest tackle output of any other NFL linebacker in Week 9 aside from his veteran teammate in Danny Trevathan.
Smith has been all over the field as he looks like the linebacker he was projected to be coming out of the 2018 NFL Draft. All the boxes of instinct, quickness, and power are being checked off for the rookie. Any previous anger for Smith in a summer contract dispute looks silly at the moment (as it also was then). Smith’s impact is paying off in spades for a Bears defense slowly picking the pieces back up after two early losses in October.
For his most recent efforts, Smith is in line to be recognized for his production as the NFL announced he was a nominee for the Rookie of the Week in Week 9.
Other nominees include the Browns’ Baker Mayfield and Nick Chubb, the Falcons’ Calvin Ridley, and the Dolphins’ Jerome Baker. In comparison to Smith’s afternoon, Mayfield threw for 297 yards and two touchdowns in a loss to the Chiefs, while his backfield mate Chubb had 85 yards rushing and a touchdown. Ridley had 71 yards and a score in a win over Washington. And Baker had five tackles and a pick-six in a victory over the Jets.
At a glance, if there were ever a week for Smith to win and come out as a top recognized rookie, it’d be in direct juxtaposition to this group. You know that whatever happens, the soft-spoken Chicago linebacker will just continue about his business as he always has.
Robert is the Editor-in-chief of The Blitz Network (subscribe here!), the managing editor of Windy City Gridiron, and writes for a host of other fine publications. You can follow him on Twitter @RobertZeglinski.