Robert Quinn: Sunday ‘a great game to finally make my mark for the city’

Robert Quinn still shakes his head when asked what went wrong this season – how a player the Bears signed to a five-year, $70 million contract can have two sacks in 14 games.

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Bears outside linebacker Robert Quinn rushes the passer against the Saints in November.

Bears outside linebacker Robert Quinn rushes the passer against the Saints in November.

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Robert Quinn still shakes his head when asked what went wrong this season — how a player the Bears signed to a five-year, $70 million contract can have two sacks in 14 games.

But the outside linebacker hopes no one will remember his stats if the Bears reach the playoffs Sunday on the backs of a pass rush that touched Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers zero times last month.

“It’s a great game to finally make my mark for the city,” he said Thursday.

Quinn’s two sacks this year are half as many as his previous career low (four in 2016), though he only appeared in nine games that season.

“It’s just surprising,” Quinn said. “When I look at it, I’m still shocked. I still can’t believe I had a season like I’ve had this year. But there’s no excuse. The only person I’ve got to blame is myself for that.

“But again, I guess if I can double my season production come Sunday and make it impactful, that’s a heck of a great season I guess, to get us in the playoffs.”

Defending Rodgers on Sunday would be “way easier” with a strong pass rush, safety Eddie Jackson said.

“The thing that gets him riled up is confusing him, putting pressure on him, not letting him know where he’s going to go with the ball before he hikes it, just giving him different looks . . .” Jackson said. “From the rush to the coverage to the disguise, we all have to work together right now — the best we have worked all year — for us to win this game.”

It’s too flippant to say that Quinn is one good game away from being worth every penny. Signed to produce pressure on the opposite side of star Khalil Mack, Quinn got $30 million guaranteed over his first two seasons.

He was held out of team drills for most of training camp — the Bears talked about ramping up his activity — and missed the opener with what the team called an ankle injury. Quinn recorded a sack on his first snap with the franchise in Week 2. His next came exactly three months later, on Dec. 20 against the Vikings.

Quinn’s peripherals are getting better, though. He had 14 pressures through Week 10 — but 15 since.

“He’s creating more opportunities where he can be closer to the launch point at the time the ball comes out,” outside linebackers coach Ted Monachino said. “He would tell you the same thing: that he’d like to finish more of those plays.”

Leonard Floyd, the players the Bears cut and replaced with Quinn, hasn’t had the same problem. He has posted 9½ sacks in his first year with the Rams — more than three times his total in Chicago last year.

The Bears don’t question Quinn’s work ethic, even as they acknowledge his performance has been lacking.

“The numbers are what they are — nothing we can do about what’s happened up until this point,” defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano said. “He’s in a good spot, playing well. He’ll be the first one to tell you he’d love to have more production.”

Next year’s contract could be an albatross. Quinn will play for the Bears, though: he’s got a $14.7 million cap hit in 2021 as opposed to a $23.9 million dead cap mark if he’s cut.

But that’s a discussion for a different day.

“I just want to get this win as a team and give ourselves the best chance to get into the playoffs, and then we can start talking about some more stuff,” Quinn said. “At the moment, it’s really just about the team getting into the playoffs. And then after we do, you all can talk about me all you want.”

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