Bears DE Trevis Gipson’s season lost in transition

After getting seven sacks in the Bears’ 3-4 defense last season, Gipson has just two sacks in Matt Eberflus’ 4-3 this season — none since Week 2. He knows it’s up to him to get it right. “This is a totally different scheme ... but that’s no excuse for my production.”

SHARE Bears DE Trevis Gipson’s season lost in transition
Bears defensive end Trevis Gipson (99) doesn’t back down from Bills right tackle Spencer Brown (79) during a chippy moment in the Bears’ 35-13 loss to the Bills on Saturday at Soldier Field.

Bears defensive end Trevis Gipson (99) doesn’t back down from Bills right tackle Spencer Brown (79) during a chippy moment in the Bears’ 35-13 loss to the Bills on Saturday at Soldier Field.

Michael Reaves/Getty Images

A year ago, Trevis Gipson was a bright spot in the dreadful conclusion to an awful Bears season. He had four of his seven sacks in the last five games and three of his five forced fumbles in the last two.

And the coaching change that ensued seemed like a blessing for Gipson — moving from an outside linebacker in Sean Desai’s 3-4 defense to his more comfortable defensive end position in Matt Eberflus’ 4-3 alignment.

But it hasn’t worked out that way. Though Gipson is in the same position he played at Tulsa, it’s not the same defense. And the transition to Eberflus’ scheme has been problematic. Coming off that seven-sack season in 2021, Gipson has two this season — both against the Packers in Week 2.

Gipson leads the Bears with nine pressures and has made a bigger impact in recent games, but, overall, he’s disappointed with his season and knows he needs to prove he’s part of the solution before he’s seen as part of the problem. The Bears have the worst pass rush in the NFL with a league-low 18 sacks and 38 quarterback hits.

“It is frustrating, but it’s a bunch of things that are different this year,” Gipson, a 2020 fifth-round pick, said when asked what has gone wrong. “I’d give you an answer, but I don’t want to sound like I’m making excuses.

“I’ve just figured out there’s a bunch of things I need to work on. Coming down the middle, I’ve already missed about three sacks, and I’m used to coming off the edge. So I’ve got to work on my change of direction. Am I frustrated? A little bit. But I’m not discouraged. I’m still gonna keep fighting.”

There’s no doubt the Bears need more from Gipson, but Eberflus sounded hopeful he’ll get there eventually. Though Gipson has gone 13 games without a sack, he did have Bills quarterback Josh Allen in his grasp last week but couldn’t finish the job.

“He has the body type to play end, and I think he’s done a better job the last couple of weeks of playing the run,” Eberflus said. “And he’s been close to getting the sacks. We’re pleased with where he’s been in terms of his pressures. He’s just gotta close the deal.”

Gipson had high hopes after making a quick transition to the 3-4 defense in 2020 and ’21 under the tutelage of elite pass rushers Khalil Mack and Robert Quinn. In fact, he had five of those seven sacks last season after Mack left the lineup with a foot injury.

For a 25-year-old still trying to establish himself in the NFL, it has been a struggle to deal with a difficult season after having such high expectations.

“In a way it is, but I’ve got to be realistic,” Gipson said. “This is a totally different defensive scheme, so a lot of the way I’ve been coming free is a way that I’m not accustomed to. But that’s no excuse for my production. If anything, I’m glad I’m seeing where I’m lacking . . . so hopefully being here next year, I’ll know what I can do to maximize those opportunities.”

“Hopefully” is the operative word there. The Bears surely will upgrade their pass rush. It remains to be seen how prominently Gipson figures in their future plans.

“Trevis has done a good job of working at his craft,” Eberflus said. “Sometimes the production’s not there. But he has the skill set to get it done. We’re always encouraging him. He’s done a decent job with his fastball. I think he’s got to learn how to deliver that countermove he has.”

Gipson knows he might be running out of time. That’s life in the NFL.

“Most definitely,” he said. “But I’m never gonna give up. I’m gonna keep working, and [I know] what I have to do to take advantage of the opportunities I get.”

The Latest
The boy was crossing the street in the 100 block of North Menard Avenue about 7:10 p.m. Wednesday when a driver struck him.
A boy and woman were in the 12400 block of South Lowe Avenue about 4:30 p.m. when a male driver of an SUV struck them and fled. The boy suffered a leg injury and was hospitalized in critical condition. The woman, 20, was in fair condition with an abrasion to her face.
''A lot of things can be said and a lot of things can be done. So no reason to sit back and be OK with what’s going on.’'
The catcher, batting .083 through Tuesday, is wearing prescription glasses for the first time, and he said he’s “seeing the ball better.”