Roquan Smith will spend most of his day defending Saquon Barkley. It will be the toughest test of his season
Roquan Smith has been an excellent addition since being drafted. He is a reliable tackler, is picking up sacks and has been steady at defending running backs in the passing game. He has allowed 41 of 55 targets his way to being completed but has done an excellent job of containing most gains to a minimum in that area.
However, when looking at the Chicago Bears schedule, they have not been tested in the passing game by a running back quite like Saquon Barkley.
Early into the season the Packers, and Seahawks were figuring out their running games. The Cardinals had David Johnson but fired Mike McCoy for failing to use him in the passing game. The Bucs and Jets had no options to speak of, and the Bills had no offense to speak of with Nathan Peterman.
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Drake was held in check in the loss, catching just four passes for 21 yards. However, Smith was targeted early against White and struggled in that game. Vic Fangio wound up pulling Smith at times, although that option was not better either.
Still, the fact is that Smith has been tested with real talent twice. Once he came to the call, once he had his worst game. Saquon Barkley is an entirely different beast than either of those backs.
With Todd Gurley looming next week and plenty of tough matchups in the playoffs, this will be a great litmus test for the rookie linebacker.