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Bears OLB Robert Quinn: Refs the problem, not Matt Nagy

Quinn said some of the calls are “crazy” and that the NFL should be penalizing refs rather than his head coach.

Robert Quinn is second in the NFL with 16 sacks this season.
Robert Quinn is second in the NFL with 16 sacks this season.
Kyusung Gong/AP

On a night when the Bears gave up 91 yards on nine penalties and had -another one declined in their 17-9 loss to the -Vikings, outside linebacker Robert Quinn said the refs are the problem.

When asked about coach Matt Nagy earning an unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty for his outburst directed at back judge Terrence Miles after the first quarter, Quinn pointed to the poor officiating.

“Some of these calls are starting to get a little crazy,” he said. “These refs seem like they’re controlling the game a little too much. . . . I mean, let guys play ball. If this was a couple of years ago, half this stuff wouldn’t even be called, but now they’ve got some of these stupid rules, and in the refs’ hands, it can change at any given moment.

“I think they need to go check the refs they’re hiring, not our coach.”

Nagy was upset because an unnecessary-roughness call against safety Deon Bush negated what would’ve been a third-down stop by the Bears late in the first quarter. Rather than forcing the Vikings to punt, the flag gave them a first down at the Bears’ 35-yard line. The Vikings went on to kick a field goal early in the second quarter for a 10-0 lead.

Miles flagged Bush for making contact with tight end Tyler Conklin’s head as he tried to make the catch. While Bush appeared to be going for the ball rather than intending to deliver a big hit, the league and referee Scott Novak said it was the correct call.

Nagy was outraged at Miles and let him hear it between quarters.

“I won’t repeat what was said, but when it crosses a line, and it’s inappropriate, then that’s when we throw a flag,” Novak said.

Nagy defended his action.

“I don’t regret it,” he said.

He seemed like he might have.

When rookie left tackle Teven Jenkins was whistled for unnecessary roughness after taking a swing at Vikings defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson, Nagy said, “After that one, I went around and talked to all the guys and just said, ‘OK, it’s time to reel it back in, all of us, myself included.’ ”

The Bears have given away 801 yards in penalties this season, the 11th-highest total in the NFL.

Shelley in, Grant out

The Bears will get defensive back Duke Shelley back this week after he tested out of the coronavirus protocol Monday.

Shelley’s return drops their total to 13 players on the reserve/COVID-19 list. They are still missing their entire starting secondary as they get ready to begin the practice week Wednesday in preparation to visit the Seahawks on Sunday.

With the Bears, of course, every bit of good news is offset by bad news.

Pro Bowl punt returner Jakeem Grant, who also established himself at wide receiver the last few games, suffered a concussion against the Vikings. Wide receiver Damiere Byrd replaced him and likely would return punts in his place if he’s out against Seattle.

Depleted roster

With so many key players out, the Bears flexed eight players up from their practice squad Monday. All of them played.

Wide receiver Dazz Newsome played 66% of the offensive snaps and cornerback Thomas Graham played every snap defensively in their NFL debuts. Both were sixth-round picks the Bears cut at the end of training camp.