The Chicago Bears found that out during the 2018 season. After years of struggles under head coaches like Marc Trestman and John Fox, Matt Nagy put the Bears on the right path. The defense was one of the biggest reasons why the Bears took off last year and inside linebacker Roquan Smith showed signs of major progression week in and week out.
The Bears are set to restart offseason workouts later this month and Smith is excited to get to work soon with his teammates.
Smith photo shows him excited in a game last year with a quote talking about getting to be “with your boys” during the offseason for workouts. Smith stands to be a key part of Chicago’s defense this upcoming season with Chuck Pagano at the helm as defensive coordinator.
The Bears took Smith with the eighth overall pick in last year’s draft. After spending all the offseason workouts with the team, Smith did not join the team for the start of training camp as he was involved in a contract dispute. Smith missed all of training camp while working out the details of his contract. He eventually signed his deal in August, but conditioning and a minor injury kept him off the field in the preseason.
He began Week 1 on the bench behind starters Danny Trevathan and Nick Kwiatkoski. When he got onto the field for the first time in that Week 1 game against the Green Bay Packers, Smith recorded his first career sack on Sunday Night Football. He went on to see action in all 16 games and made 14 starts for the Bears.
Smith ended the regular season with 121 tackles, five sacks, five pass deflections and one interception. Only Brian Urlacher in 2000 recorded more tackles as a rookie in a Bears uniform. In Chicago’s playoff loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in the Wild Card round, Smith recorded seven tackles, one pass deflection and one interception. It took him a couple of games to get into a rhythm on defense, but it was evident late in the season just how big of an impact he can make on the field.
He and Trevathan are set to continue their run as the team’s starting inside linebackers. Trevathan also had a solid 2018 campaign. He started all 16 games for the first time since the 2013 season when he was with the Denver Broncos. He ended last year with 102 tackles, two sacks, six pass deflections, two interceptions and one forced fumble. Trevathan and Smith proved to be a formidable duo last season on the inside.
The Bears will get the first phase of their offseason kicked off later this month before diving deeper into OTAs in the upcoming months before eventually hitting training camp in late July in Bourbonnais, Illinois.