In 2018, when the Chicago Bears’ defense was relatively healthy and the offense was pulling their weight, they finished tied for third in the NFL with 50 sacks. Last year the Bears’ suffered a few key injuries, and the offense wasn’t helping out much with sustained drives and good field position, and their sack numbers plummeted by 18 and they fell to a tie for 23rd in the league in total sacks.
The Bears have one of the best pass rushers of this generation in Khalil Mack, but he can’t do it all by himself, which is why they allowed outside linebacker Leonard Floyd to leave in free agency and they replaced him with Robert Quinn.
The Bears are paying Quinn $30 million guaranteed to harass quarterbacks and to take the defense to another level, and that’s why he’s my number 6 Most Important Bear for the 2020 season.
Quinn has been a highly productive pass rusher in every stop he’s had during his nine years as a pro. The 30-year old has 80.5 career sacks, but he’s not slowing down as he racked up 11.5 last year and Pro Football Reference had him down for 35 total pressures. He still flashes a burst around the edge and he brings a full toolbox of pass rushing moves to the field each week.
With Quinn attacking quarterbacks opposite Mack, and with a healthy Akiem Hicks ready to collapse pockets, the Bears will have their Rule of Three in place. The Rule of Three is what former Bears’ great Richard Dent referenced when talking about the best pass rushing teams, and it’s also the topic of this fantastic Robert Schmitz video breakdown.
Quinn’s importance is heightened because the Bears still haven’t solidified a number three edge rusher. The number three outside linebacker behind Quinn and Mack is Barkevious Mingo, who is a good special teamer but has never been a standout pass rusher. They also have the returning Isaiah Irving, who only has 1 sack in three years, and rookie Trevis Gipson, who will need top prove his ability to rush the passer at the professional level.
Quinn is expected to be the third head of Chicago's monstrous defense, and if he meets those expectations the Bears will bounce back and climb closer to the 50 sack mark from 2018 and they’ll find themselves back in playoff contention.