Ryan Pace Confident Robert Quinn Will Return to Productivity

Robert Quinn was easily the biggest free-agent mistake made by Ryan Pace last year and possibly since the signing of Mike Glennon, but the Bears GM still believes this can work.
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When a pass rusher signs a $70 million deal and makes two sacks without suffering a major injury early in the season, it's safe to say there should be buyer's remorse.

Ryan Pace is holding out hope of salvaging something from Robert Quinn's lost season.

"You know, as you go back Robert is a player that has had consistent pass rush production throughout his career in our league," Pace said. "Of course we would have wanted more production this season.

"I know he's really hard on himself and he feels the same way."

The Bears played Quinn at a position where he initially expressed trepidation. The right outside linebacker occasionally flipped with Khalil Mack to the opposite side in this scheme in the past when Leonard Floyd played in Chicago.

"The only thing that was challenging about the 3-4, if you look at my career, I've never really played the left side," Quinn said right after being signed. "So I mean, I think we've got a comfortable understanding that hopefully I get to stay on the right side. If we've got to flip-flop, I guess I've got to get more comfortable playing on the left.

"As I get older, I realize that you've got to be a little multi-talented, or be able to change. I don't want to say I felt uncomfortable, it was just really the first time I've really played the left a lot. I think I had 8.5 sacks that year, not to talk about myself."

So they crippled their own scheme by bringing in a player who wasn't comfortable playing the other side. For $70 million, including $33 million guaranteed, something more than being a picky player is expected.

Pace did obviously expect more.

"I think there are a variety of reasons why maybe that didn't happen," Pace said. "He sets really high standards for himself. We expect him to rebound."

Quinn has really only had one huge drop in production during a full season once before, and he did rebound.

In 2018 with a new team for the first time he had just 6 1/2 sacks for the Miami Dolphins at defensive end in a 4-3. He went to Dallas and played the same position, producing 11 1/2 sacks in 2019.

"I think having an offseason being with us, I think that will bode well for him," Pace said. "Together, with him and with us and our plan, we have to find a way to help him get more production and I believe that he will."

They have been trying all season. It's been 15 games for Quinn.

Quinn had three quarterback hits and one sack in his first 12 games with the Bears. However, he did make a sack and four quarterback hits in his final four games, including the playoffs.

"I think especially in the later part of the season, you felt his presence, you felt his quarterback pressures, that percentage rate went way up, just affecting the quarterback," Pace said. "But at the end of the day he expects more production and it's our job to help facilitate that."

Considering Quinn's discomfort with flipping sides, the Bears' new defensive coordinator may need some sort of scheme flip to fully use his skill set.

At age 31, though, Quinn is hardly someone they could expect to be finished as a player.

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