Chicago Bears: 3 bold predictions for Roquan Smith

(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /
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Roquan Smith Chicago Bears
(Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images) /

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There is no question Smith missed a significant period of time as a result of his holdout. During his 29 day holdout, his teammates endured a total of 16 practices. During that time, they not only underwent physical conditioning but began the process of understanding their respective schemes.

Unfortunately for Smith, he has a lot of catching up to do. Reasonable minds can debate the significance the holdout will have on Smith, but it certainly will have some effect. While I have no doubt Smith is and has remained in fantastic shape, that is not the same as being conditioned for game action.

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However, based on the fact that this deal got done when it did, Smith still has plenty of time to make up that missed time. He’s only twenty-one years old and in pristine shape. And I have no doubt he spent the holdout staying in shape.

In reality, the most difficult part for Smith will be learning the defense. Obviously, the expectation is for him to be calling the defensive plays, so from that standpoint, he must not simply know the defense, he must master it. And while I also imagine he spent his holdout reviewing the playbook, that is no substitute for game action.

The good news is Smith is an incredibly intelligent football player. His football acumen was one of his strengths I was most excited about when the Bears drafted him. Therefore, it will not take him nearly as long to get spun up. Moreover, the Bears had an extra week of the preseason due to the Hall of Fame game, so you almost have to discount the length of the holdout by a week.

With these things in mind, I fully expect Smith to be the starter in week one against the Packers. The team still has three preseason games (though realistically only two for starters) before the start of the season. There is plenty of time and practice before that time to get him ready.