Grading Chicago Bears defensive position coaches
As the Chicago Bears season ends, we are now looking back at how the position coaches have been doing. This has been tough because you want to grade the players’ performance, but you also have to consider that the coaches are not working with the most right now.
We also are not 100 clear on what these coaches do day-in and day out, but we can assess what we see from each position group on Sunday. How did the Chicago Bears’ defensive coaches perform in their first season with the team?
Travis Smith, Chicago Bears defensive line coach
This may be the toughest position coach to grade. On performance alone, he gets an F. The defensive line is awful. The question is how much control did he have when Khalil Mack and Robert Quinn were traded, while Akiem Hicks and Bilal Nichols were not retained.
We figured Dominique Robinson would get a redshirt year because he was so raw. Smith got him onto the field, and he played the entire season. It can be argued his production was poor, but also that just playing is better than expected.
Still, Smith stuck with Al-Quadin Muhammad for far too long, and while he adjusted his usage for the pass rusher, AQM had his worst season with Chicago. Trevis Gipson slowly got worse as his playing time increased.
He was their best pass rusher when he was subbing in, but once Quinn left, and snaps freed up, we stopped hearing from Gipson. The lack of production from Gipson and AQM certainly outweighs getting Robinson onto the field. Especially when Robinson essentially had to play because they had no one else.
Armon Watts turned into a gem, and he was signed in August before the season started. Still, the team signed Justin Jones, and now they may be best off releasing him to save some cap space and upgrade that position. Then, Angelo Blackson regressed to the point of being benched.
Smith did not have much to work with, but he saw players regress this season on the defensive line.
Travis Smith Grade: D+