Outside linebacker Robert Quinn was one of the most disappointing free-agent additions in the NFL in 2020, but the Bears are seeing signs that he’ll play up to his massive contract this season.
Quinn had 2.5 sacks in 71 snaps over the first two games, exceeding the two he had in 548 all of last season.
But Quinn is far from declaring this a success.
“Not much at all,” he said. “I mean, [2.5] sacks — shouldn’t be too happy about that. I’ve got a lot more work to do. I guess it’s a good starting point, but I don’t want to get too comfortable, because you’ve still gotta go out and prove yourself.”
Quinn, 31, is the only Bear with more than one sack so far.
The Bears signed him to a five-year, $70 million deal in 2020 coming off a season of 11.5 sacks with the Cowboys. They hoped to pair him with Khalil Mack to form an overwhelming pass rush.
Oddly, neither Quinn nor the Bears seemed concerned that he’d be asked to play outside linebacker when he has said repeatedly and adamantly that he is uncomfortable with that and prefers to play defensive end. New Bears defensive coordinator Sean Desai conferred with Quinn to figure out how to best use him this season, and the early return on that collaboration looks good.
Desai debuted a new look against the Bengals in which Mack lined up at defensive tackle to the quarterback’s left and Quinn was next to him at defensive end.
“The key to making anything successful is the players and them understanding what we’re trying to get out of the plan and them executing the plan,” Desai said of the idea Thursday. “That’s the key to any of the success that we have is those guys between the lines playing hard and executing the fundamentals that we’re trying to teach.”