Chicago Bears: Finding bright spots amidst a disastrous season

Chicago Bears (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Chicago Bears (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Bears, Roquan Smith
Chicago Bears (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) /

1. The Roquan Smith breakout

Before this season, most would agree that Roquan Smith was a good player. He was an above average starter at inside linebacker, but hadn’t yet consistently flashed what made him the no. 8 overall pick two years ago.

The first three games of the season, I will admit I was a big critic. Smith was missing a lot of tackles and came up short on some potentially big plays.

In Week 4 against the Indianapolis Colts, though, things changed. Despite the Bears losing that game, Smith’s breakout began on that day. Smith finished the day with 13 total tackles, 10 of them solo, and three tackles for loss. Since that game, Smith has been on a tear.

Grote’s tweet was prior to the Bears’ loss to the Packers on Sunday night, where the entire team was essentially embarrassed. But, add in five more solo tackles for Smith and that brings his solo total to 75, which leads the NFL and his 101 total tackles are good for third in the NFL.

This year, Smith has had five games with double digit tackles and four games with multiple tackles for loss.

The defense has been given the short end of the stick with how the offense has performed, but Smith’s breakout is not going unnoticed. He is one of the best defensive players in all of football, and he’s doing it without any national notoriety.

Guys like Smith, along with his teammates like Khalil Mack and Kyle Fuller, among others, get the disadvantage of playing for a team whose offense is always the center of attention — and for all the wrong reasons.

Smith should end his 2020 campaign as a clear-cut All Pro linebacker, going into year four where the Bears will hopefully be trending in a new, more positive direction.