Roquan Smith quietly breaking out for Chicago Bears
One bright spot in the Chicago Bears losing streak has been Roquan Smith
Going 1-2 over the past three weeks cannot make Chicago Bears fans feel better. The offensive line, quarterback, and play-caller are all to blame, and there seems to be no easy solution. However, it has been clear that the Bears defense is still just as good.
While they have dominated with their front, they have also seen an uptick in play from their linebackers this season. After Danny Trevathan and Roquan Smith started the season slowly, both are playing their best football at this moment.
For Roquan Smith, this three-game streak has been the best of his career.
Smith was elite against Carolina and posted his best game as a Chicago Bear. He continued the trend into the Rams game, and once again strung together a huge performance against the Saints.
Smith recorded 11 tackles, and 7 went down as run stops. The play below was a game-changer. On fourth down in a tight game, everyone knew Alvin Kamara would get the ball. Still, watch the way Smith pursues. He stays low, slips the block from Taysom Hill, and gets into the backfield.
From there, he takes Kamara down. Smith ranks top 10 in run stops this season and showed why he Is respected in this area in the play below.
Even better, he was elite coverage and allowed 30 yards after the catch on seven receptions in his zone. The play below is even better than a sound tackle after the catch, though. Smith is one-on-one with Jared Cook. Smith holds his leverage and takes away the inside. He forces the tight end out to the sideline.
That is where Smith jumps the route and makes a play on the ball. This was excellent coverage.
Even better than his run defense grades has been his coverage. According to PFF, Smith ranks fourth in passer rating allowed. Only Fred Warner, Jaimie Collins, and Eric Wilson have been more effective linebackers in coverage.
Smith ranks ninth in run stops and is fourth in passer rating allowed. He has strung together the best three-game span of his career over the past three weeks. Considering he is in year three, and just now taking over as the play-caller it is fair to suggest that things are starting to come together for Roquan Smith.
It is not being discussed as the Chicago Bears issues are front and center. However, Smith has officially broken out and is now on track to living up to his draft status and expectations.